SLAC Method for Comics Creation

–A Relentless Forward Progress Method
process art

RJ Cody Markelz


October 1, 2022

I have been listening to the Making Comics podcast for the last few years. The creators are diehard indie comic book creators that are inspiring in how they meet deadlines for their art projects while also holding down full time jobs, going to comic conventions, and spending an absurd amount of time discussing basketball stats. Fortunately, they moved the non-comics stuff to the end of the show so it is easily skipped.

One of the co-creators of the show Scott Lost developed a method for comics creation he calls the SLAC method. It stands for the Scott Lost Advanced Cartooning Method. It works really well as a digital comics creation workflow. The idea is to take a comic script and thumbnail out the entire issue in one go including panels on an 8 page thumbnail sheet. I made a template example below. You can download a free .psd file version from my Gumroad Page. If you want to set up your own sheet the dimensions are 300 dpi, 5100 pixels long by 3300 pixels wide. This is a standard comic art page size (11 x 17 inches) turned on its side. I added in the blue line page guides for all 8 pages including the bleed and trim areas. After the thumbnails are completed you can finish the panel layouts and start working on the rough pencils stage on another layer. The pencils layer can then be copied over and appropriately scaled into a final inks/line work file. The final step is finishing the comic coloring and lettering.

8 page comic template

The magic of the method though is that by doing all of the layouts ahead of time, you can work on whatever you feel motivated to work on each day knowing that the main story elements are already taken care of. This helps break out of the funks of only making sequential art… well… sequentially. Do not feel like working on backgrounds? No problem work on characters. Really digging working on your character’s expression? Only work on that today. It allows you to hop around the entire issue and work on like category drawings always keeping the stoke high and potentially staying more consistent in the art across the issue.

An example of the method in action from my upcoming Cartographer exploration and adventure book (stay tuned!).

8 page comic template