// you’re reading...


Shawn Hoke on mini-comics – Page 3

Shawn Hoke gives some tips on making mini-comics...

READERSVOICE.COM: What sort of stores would stock mini-comics if people were interested in making them, and what sort of cut from the cover price would you have to give them?
SHAWN HOKE: I imagine stores that have a real interest in the medium of comics and are surrounded by a burgeoning local art scene would stock mini-comics.
Even my local shop has a few mini-comics on the shelves. Quimby’s and Chicago Comics in Chicago, IL stock mini-comics and they even have an online submission form for submitting your mini-comic.
I know at Chicago Comics they take your minis and then give you a cut of the ones that sell a few months later.
Jim Hanley’s in Manhattan has a nice mini-selection, and I’m sure that James Sime’s Isotope store in San Francisco has a good selection as well.
Sime even has an annual award given for excellence in mini-comics.
RV: How do people make mini-comics?
SH: It varies greatly. You can look at several tutorials on the SIZE MATTERS blog to get an idea, but it’s basically just penciling, lettering, and inking.
You have to make decisions about the size of your art, like if you want to draw larger and then reduce it, or just draw it and copy.
An important thing is knowing what pages go where. Making a “dummy book” that shows the relation of each page to the others is very helpful here.
You have to figure out which pages go on the back and front of each page before you take it to the copy shop.

RV: What other ways of cheaply printing them are there, apart from photocopying, if you want to get better quality printing?
SH: You could send them to a local printer and get them printed fairly cheap.
Usually you’re not making a mini-comic to clear a profit though, so this makes less sense.
You can lay them out in Photoshop and print them on your home printer even if you want to.
Again, all the decisions are in your hands, so you have to think about what your goals are when you are making your mini-comic.
RV: What are the main things people should remember if they are interested in creating mini-comics, and what mistakes do people usually make?
SH: The main thing is to have fun and communicate an idea or story that is important to you.
You have a freedom in making mini-comics that a lot of comic professionals don’t have – the freedom to do whatever the hell you want on the page.
No one is looking over your shoulder or editing you.
As the writer, artist, letterer, designer, and editor, you are fully in charge of your final project.
This can also work against you.
Remember you have no editor, so make sure you don’t misspell words or totally blow punctuation.
One little slip up is easy to overlook, but repeated grammar mistakes can really bring a reader out of your mini-comic.
Make your mini-comic stand out somehow.

You’re already taking the time to collect your thoughts and draw them onto paper.
Make it the best it can be so people will remember your story or art.
One mistake that I see a lot that sticks out is in the lettering.
Too many people pencil in the text and then ink over it, without fully erasing the pencil.
This shows up when you copy it and it’s kind of this distracting ghosting of the letters.
They make non-reproducible blue pencils that can help here, but I’m not sure how many people think of using them.
RV: What do you like about mini-comics the most?

SH: I like that mini-comics are essentially making comics without a net.
Anything goes in the way you draw, tell a story, or craft your mini-comic.
Sometimes you’ll pick up a mini-comic and the way it’s drawn is just exhilarating.
Other times it’s the choices they make in packaging or the materials used to make their mini.
I like to be surprised by people’s ingenuity or creativity, and it happens frequently with the mini-comics I see.
I think mini-comics are currently the most raw and exciting form of comics out there.

-See Shawn Hoke’s mini-comics blog Size Matters at