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Behind the Scenes: Honest History's Herbert and Wells Comic

The Adventures of Herbert and Wells


You may have noticed a comic in your newest issue of Honest HistoryThe Adventures of Herbert and Wells follows an adventurous capybara and penguin who travel to the past in their makeshift time machine. 


Today, we’re taking a behind the scenes look at the comic with artist Heidi Coburn. Let's dive into the latest episode from Issue 21 | Across the Steppes using a step-by-step guide. And, at the end, you'll have the tools to craft your very own comic.  



Step 1: Brainstorm


Now, if you've seen a Herbert and Wells comic, you know that it's a single page comic. To make this, you need a short story that fits onto one page, or 10-14 panels. I typically try to find a fun fact or person from the magazine to highlight. Then, I do a lot of thinking. Sometimes, I start by writing out dialogue or making very quick sketches.


Herbert and Wells discussing ideas

Step 2: Make Thumbnails


Once you've got an idea you like, it’s time to sketch it out. This stage is called creating thumbnails. Thumbnails are very small sketches of each panel so you can see how the story looks and flows. Some artists have very detailed thumbnails. Mine are quite messy, but that’s okay! You just need to find a method that works for you.


Thumbnails or sketches for The Adventures of Herbert and Wells

Rough sketch of "Episode 13: Yam" in Issue 21 | Across the Steppes

Step 3: Draw the Comic


Now for the real thing. Once you've established the dialogue and the panel layout, it’s time to get drawing. I use the Procreate app on an iPad to make my comics, but you can use something as simple as a pencil and a piece of paper. I start with a template I made with the boxes already drawn out. From there, I start creating the line work. Then, I slowly color in the characters and background. 


Line work for Issue 21 of Herbert and Wells Comic

Line work from "Episode 13: Yam" in Issue 21 | Across the Steppes

Step 4: Add Dialogue


The last step is adding the dialogue to your comic. This is my favorite part because I get to see how everything comes together. I add the text on Photoshop and clean up the image or remove mistakes I spot.  


Section of Issue 21, The Adventures of Herbert and WellsA finished panel from "Episode 13: Yam" in Issue 21 | Across the Steppes 


Step 5: Make Your Own Comic


Now, it’s your turn! Use this template to complete a Herbert and Wells adventure. You can also design your own characters and use our blank template to make something entirely new. We’d love to see what you create, so please send us a picture of your comics!


Honest History comic templates

Hi future comic-artists! Don't forget to check out our kids magazine for more comics and illustration inspiration.