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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    fireinthedust's Avatar

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    Default web comics creation?

    Anyone with experience in making them, have any tips?

    What are things that have worked for you, and what are some issues that you run up against?
    Grrr. Arrrgh.
    Spoiler: DON'T LOOK! IT'S A TRAP!
    Show
    Spoiler: DON'T DO IT!
    Show
    Spoiler: LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY!!!
    Show

    Awwwwww, that's just... Well, I did warn you.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I dabbled in making one over a decade ago (it was lost after geocities threw out its old unused sites), but I'll bite.

    The number one problem (like with every writing exercise) is to keep producing. Hundreds of budding webcomic authors have stranded on simply not getting past their initial idea. I know I did. My update schedule faltered, and it all came crashing down.

    If you're serious, you shouldn't let that stop you! Just keep on churning out pages, doesn't matter if it's only one page a month.

    Also, don't expect money or gratitude. The writer's life is about creating stories, not about money. Great if you can earn a living off of writing, better yet if you get rich, but like all arts, 99% of it is done by enthousiastic hobbyists.

    Frecus
    The glade wanderer
    Madwarrior
    Temporary ponytar is temporary

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    fireinthedust's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Fair enough.

    What about plotting? Scripting? Are there preferred formats?

    I'm finding that I'm paralyzed by potential: Focus on what to write, the format I want to do (ie: single comic or arching story? A few panels, or a whole page each update?), the genre (Supers, Sci-fi, Fantasy...), that sort of thing.

    Part of me is thinking of teaming up with someone, but I'd have to really know that I like the person's craft, especially if it's a long-haul for potentially no money kind of thing; and we'd have to be compatible personality types.

    Tough calls all around!
    Grrr. Arrrgh.
    Spoiler: DON'T LOOK! IT'S A TRAP!
    Show
    Spoiler: DON'T DO IT!
    Show
    Spoiler: LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY!!!
    Show

    Awwwwww, that's just... Well, I did warn you.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    hajo's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by fireinthedust View Post
    What about plotting? Scripting? Are there preferred formats?
    Who cares ? Do your own thing !
    The key is "DO IT", no matter how.
    Also, pick a schedule you can maintain longterm.

    I'm finding that I'm paralyzed by potential: Focus on what to write, the format I want to do (ie: single comic or arching story? A few panels, or a whole page each update?), the genre (Supers, Sci-fi, Fantasy...), that sort of thing.
    That also doesn't matter much.
    Look at xkcd, the art is even more minimal than OotS, and it has a broad mix of single-panel jokes, short funny strips, and also serious as well as whacky stuff.
    Also the occational long story (TIME :) as well as other specials

    Part of me is thinking of teaming up with someone
    That might be nice-to-have, but it will also add another bottleneck and dependency.
    Last edited by hajo; 2014-07-04 at 12:49 AM. Reason: xkcd links
    -HaJo

    FLW: Oh, no. We're being rescued. How embarrassing!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    fireinthedust's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Fair point. OotS developed into what we have now, and included pages in Dragon that weren't part of the website storyline (iirc, I think).
    Grrr. Arrrgh.
    Spoiler: DON'T LOOK! IT'S A TRAP!
    Show
    Spoiler: DON'T DO IT!
    Show
    Spoiler: LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY!!!
    Show

    Awwwwww, that's just... Well, I did warn you.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    A few personal notes:

    1. Doing one or two one-shot comics as practice can help you avoid making a webcomic with a rough start.
    Often you'll discover your "problems/issues" as an artist/writer best by actively producing content.

    An unrelated story or a small side story suited for the world/setting of your webcomic gives a good practice opportunity.

    2. Before updating a site/uploading in public it can be nice to give yourself a buffer. It is nice to be able a consistent update pace,
    and using a buffer *can* help with that. (I have a fairly irregular schedule myself, so a buffer helps me compensate for weeks where I outright have no time.)


    3. The type of script you should/could use depends a lot on the type of comic you have, I've personally found that more action oriented pages/stories require
    far more thumbnail work compared to outright scripting.

    My 100% original pixelart fantasy webcomic, Hero oh Hero.

    Webcomic discussion thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...r-good-reboot)

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I have experience in attempting and failing

    I think that getting used to making a script can really help. It's how serious people do it and it allows you to plan and make changes to the story before you start drawing it.

    A secondary factor is choosing your host or website format. A blog may not always be the easiest thing to navigate. This is, however, a problem about how to show a comic, instead of how to write it.

    The reason I failed was that I did not put enough time into it and it simply faded away. Time organization matters (as with everything else, I guess).

    Knowing how to draw probably helps, but learning in the process is more important. You are no professional, ergo you can do any attempt you want.

    Also, read a lot and keep your ears open. You'll never know when you'll see something worth elaborating and talking about.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    fireinthedust's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Experience in failing is okay.

    Hero oh Hero: sweet! How did you do the art for that? Create a model and then adjust, and copy/paste?


    I'm an ink and line art kind of guy, and tablets confuse me; but I just took a course in my publishing intensive on photoshop and indesign, so I may try again with a tablet. Scanning and getting it right... something I have to work on. Funny thing, I grabbed those DC Comics books a while back, and got the lettering and colouring for completeness. Now I know how to use photoshop, I'm like "Oh, CMYKkkkkkkkkk".

    I've started putting things up on Deviantart.com, but it's been a while because the scanner I have access to is 8x14 instead of a useful size that any paper comes in (grumble grumble grumble). So yeah, I've got some better stuff.

    And good news: I got a response from a publisher, so I'll be able to license their RPG and self-publish an adventure module! Illustrated by me, of course. The plan: improve my art, especially via Webcomic as practice, and make some actually not-crap products!
    Grrr. Arrrgh.
    Spoiler: DON'T LOOK! IT'S A TRAP!
    Show
    Spoiler: DON'T DO IT!
    Show
    Spoiler: LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY!!!
    Show

    Awwwwww, that's just... Well, I did warn you.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I'll agree with everyone who said that the biggest difficulty you'll meet is to keep producing. Many comics have died to procrastination or writer's block.

    As for hosting, I use Comic Fury, which has the upsides of being fully customisable and free (with opt-in ads if you want to contribute), and the downside of being small and therefore providing more limited exposure if you're not advertising outside of it.

    One thing to mind when picking your format is the image size. Not everybody has a huge screen, and lateral scrollbars really make for a bad reading experience, especially if the art style is simple and such magnification doesn't provide any more detail. 800 pixels is generally accepted as a safe width.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by fireinthedust View Post
    Experience in failing is okay.

    Hero oh Hero: sweet! How did you do the art for that? Create a model and then adjust, and copy/paste?
    Pretty much!

    Here's a folder showing how I create some of the base pixelart: http://neoriceisgood.deviantart.com/...ess-Animations

    Usually most time goes into making the base models, adjusting arms/legs/expressions tends to take only a minute or two tops. (only combat poses might take a lot longer)

    My 100% original pixelart fantasy webcomic, Hero oh Hero.

    Webcomic discussion thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...r-good-reboot)

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dodom View Post
    One thing to mind when picking your format is the image size. Not everybody has a huge screen, and lateral scrollbars really make for a bad reading experience, especially if the art style is simple and such magnification doesn't provide any more detail. 800 pixels is generally accepted as a safe width.
    800 is fine for viewing on the web, but if you think you might publish it in a book someday down the line, you should keep a higher-resolution version backed up somewhere. Trying to print small web images doesn't turn out so well, with terrible-looking compression and pixelation issues. Basically, start big and shrink down for the online version.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I have two pieces of advice.

    One: build up an archive before you start showing the comic to strangers. People will generally need to read 10-20 pages that establish the characters and setting in order to decide whether they're interested. If you have less, they might forget to ever come back.

    Two: make sure you provide a way for readers to communicate with you and each other. This isn't as important early on when you might not have very many readers but it helps keep people around. Remember though that only 1% of readers will become involved with any fandom that develops, while the rest will just enjoy the work quietly.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I've been working on Sidekick Girl for the past seven years. I'm half of a team. My partner does the lineart and some writing notes, I do the colors and final dialogue, and we work out the plot and character stuff together. The archive is up to about 350 pages. We have a small, but very consistent reader base, and a fair amount of really cool merch that no one ever buys.

    First, see if you can find Jennie Breeden's spiel on how to do a webcomic. Her comic is the Devil's Panties, and her advice is golden.

    Also, forgive me if I repeat what others have said, because I'm kind of brain-dumping here. And I might switch back and forth between We and I a lot because I do work with a partner, and really, who needs consistent grammar?

    1) Technical stuffs: whatever you want, dude. Go for it. Strips, pages, the size, colors, schedule, whatevs. You're going to have to find what works for you, what you can reliably produce, and most importantly, what medium suits your story. The tone of your story is what will dictate its overall look and format. Though I do agree with what someone said about not making it too wide, cuz scrolling sideways is a pain.

    2) On working with a partner: My partner is my best friend, and we do the comic for funsies. Neither of us would have stuck with this for so long without each other. Trying to team up with a stranger to do a project turns it into basically a business deal. I don't have any experience with it, so I can't offer insight, but imagine how you feel about having a coworker for a job that you don't get paid for.

    3) On production: Definitely echoing the people that said to build a buffer before launching. New readers are more likely to stick around if you can pique their interest with the first page they were linked to, and then get your claws into them with a nice archive crawl. Also, NEVER neglect your schedule. Whether you do once a week (like I do) or five days a week, you've got to post, and post on time as much as possible. If you CAN'T get the comic up, do some filler. You have to stay consistent. Your readers will forgive you for missing stuff when there are emergencies, but to get that goodwill you can't be flaky the rest of the time.

    4) On your website: Make it nice. It has to be visually attractive and easy to navigate. Simple is usually better. My brother is our webmaster, cuz neither of us can code. My comic runs on wordpress, and that has a nice easy interface for updating stuff that doesn't require programming knowledge. You may be able to do that work yourself, you might have a friend who can help you, or maybe you have to hire someone. Whatever you do, make your site look sharp and reflect the kind of comic you're making. Presentation is important. It won't matter if your comic is cool if the site is sloppy and junky. Also, a lot of people like the free comic hosting sites. I don't. Not to invalidate their opinions or anything, but my experience has not been good.

    We started SG with comic genesis back in 2007. We figured it was a good place to start, and for awhile it was. The updating system could be kind of clunky, but we got what we paid for. The big problems started in 2012ish when people started getting virus warnings from the site. Eventually we figured out that the rotating ad system that CG used was allowing some janky ads that led to bad sites, or would insert malicious code. For awhile we tried to fix it, and we tried to contact CG for help, but nothing worked, and we couldn't get a hold of anyone, and we jumped ship. Our new domain is MUCH better in every way. I'm not saying that you would have problems with every host, of course. Just be aware.

    There is one definite benefit to having your own domain is your address. yourcomic.com is a LOT better than freehostingsite/yourcomic.com. Remember, you're building a brand. You want to look like a pro (even if you're just pretending to be.) Think about how your address will look on links, on fliers, and said out loud. Hosting and domains can be really cheap.

    5) On professionalism: You never want to be the guy that's known as a giant D-bag. So be careful in how you present yourself to vendors, other artists, and above all your readers. Having fans is one of the most amazingly awesome things there is. However, some of your readers will make you nuts. Resist arguing with them. It will be hard. Your nerd rage will well up inside you in a way that only someone being wrong on the internet can incite. But drama is bad for business. My favorite artists are those who I've had the chance to meet at cons and found that they were really nice people. If they had been dismissive jerks it would have broken my little fangirl heart.

    6) On conventions: Do them if you can. Artist tables can be expensive, merch is super expensive (and you have to store it) and printing costs for fliers and such can ad up. and that's for a local con without much travel cost. So if you can't afford it, don't fret about it, but if you CAN, it can be a lot of fun. You get to sit behind a table pretending to be a real grown up artist, and you get to go into the snack room like all the other people who get PAID TO DO ART. Wow. I've never gotten a huge bump in traffic after a con to show that all my hard work has paid off, but I always enjoy it, and can usually get a few people to actually go visit the site and become regular readers as a result of cons. And then someday someone will come up to your table and say they read your comic and love it, and they aren't even related to you, and it's the BEST. Just don't go thinking you're going to make a lot of money, because you won't, at least not until you're well-established.

    Another thing you can do that's way cheaper is to have a bunch of your fliers or business cards with you when you just GO to a con. There's usually a swag table somewhere where you can put stacks of them, and you'll want to give one to anyone you strike up a conversation with. Just don't be a creeper.

    7) On Community: I think that one of the best things you can do for your comic is to foster a community for your readers. Forums are great, obviously. Having comments directly on the comics themselves has really increased our reader interaction. Fans like to connect with you, and hopefully with each other. We have a Facebook page, a twitter account for our main character, another twitter account for the news channel in the comic, and a Deviantart page. They don't all get updated as frequently as we'd like, but they're a place for people to interact and to interact with us and get some extra tidbits.

    Our newest venture is that we opened up a college on our site. See, SG is a superhero comic, and it contains a hero college, so we started one up. The idea is that it will get readers interacting on our forum more, and hopefully tell others about it. It just started, so it's too soon to tell how it will go, but I'm excited. MCCC Superhero Correspondence Program.

    8) On advertising: Do it. All the time. As much as you can. Quarter page fliers printed on obnoxiously bright paper make good easy handouts for cons and bulletin boards. Also a nice thing is to make a minicomic. It's one page, printed front and back, that can be cut, folded and stapled into a little book with a front and back cover and six interior pages. It's more cost, and more work, but we've found that we get more interest with the minis than we do with fliers, since it has some teaser material in it. If you have the money, you can buy ads on sites that have similar content to yours. I like project wonderful, cuz it's nice and easy, and can be cheap. I'd suggest trying to grow your audience more organically to start, though, cuz it is costly. Talk about your comic. Link to it wherever appropriate. Put it in your sig. Beg everyone you know to go look at it.

    I'm advertising RIGHT NOW. I'm talking about my product, including as many links as possible, and hoping against hope that a whole bunch of people will see this thread, have their interest piqued, and go see what my comic is all about. And thus the circle is complete.


    I hope that some of this has been a little helpful. If you (or anyone) has any more questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them. I don't claim to be an expert. I haven't managed to make my comic my business, and I can't even hope to compare to the really successful comics. But I'll happily talk about my experiences.

    Erika

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I had a question about retaining users. Podcasters have iTunes where they can post their podcast and subscribers can see when a new version is posted and play it if they want. Very convenient.

    Is there anything like it for webcomics?

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Only thing I can think of is setting up an RSS feed, but I've never used one so I have no idea they work.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fingz View Post
    I had a question about retaining users. Podcasters have iTunes where they can post their podcast and subscribers can see when a new version is posted and play it if they want. Very convenient.

    Is there anything like it for webcomics?
    RSS feed? If I understand what you mean, that's a solution. With some interconnected pages on social networks (facebook, twitter, g+, the Chinese one should cover a broad part of the Net) for those who don't use RSS. A suggestion to whoever uses a RSS feed: if you also have a blog you update often, make it separate from the comic RSS. Interest for the comic doesn't mean interest for anything you write. And avoid clutter if you have a channel through which you give important info about the comic.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    The thing about iTunes is a lot of people subscribe to iTunes for music, TV, movies, etc. If they subscribed for a podcast, the podcast would show up too.

    RSS in comparison is out there by itself. If people used RSS to get their music TV etc, it would be much better.

    I wish iTunes had a webcomic section.

    I wonder if iTunes has a suggestion box? lol
    Last edited by Fingz; 2014-08-22 at 11:35 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    this is all really good advice, but back to the question of programs and art, any suggestions on free programs that are good? im currently using inkscape and have a character from another comic up that im camparing to trying to make something that looks better than terrible, but i feel kind of like im stealing the persons art style, any suggestions?

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by vlad753 View Post
    this is all really good advice, but back to the question of programs and art, any suggestions on free programs that are good? im currently using inkscape and have a character from another comic up that im camparing to trying to make something that looks better than terrible, but i feel kind of like im stealing the persons art style, any suggestions?
    As long as you aren't copying the exact same character design, there's no such thing as stealing someone's art style. Imagine how many stick figure comics would cease to exist if someone claimed stick figures were their property and no one else's. Or how many anime/manga things would disappear if someone owned that style. Sure, you can claim to be inspired by something else, but as long as the story and characters and everything else is original, the art style is the least of your worries.

    As for free programs, I think Inkscape, and maybe GIMP come to mind. Can't really say if they're any good, since I haven't actually used them, but I've seen their names thrown around a lot.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fingz View Post
    The thing about iTunes is a lot of people subscribe to iTunes for music, TV, movies, etc. If they subscribed for a podcast, the podcast would show up too.

    RSS in comparison is out there by itself. If people used RSS to get their music TV etc, it would be much better.

    I wish iTunes had a webcomic section.

    I wonder if iTunes has a suggestion box? lol
    Unfortunately no, but there are a lot of dedicated blog and webcomic readers who use RSS readers like Feedly and (formerly) Google Reader (requiescat in pacem).
    Ludicrus Gaming: on games and story | My Steam Account
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Caley Tibbittz's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    I use ComicFury for hosting. If you know (or can Google) a little HTML, you can do wonders with their templates. It's a small pond, exposure-wise, but it's free. And you can buy and use your own unique URL.

    As far as creating, writing ahead is a must, IMO. I'm working on the first story, but I've written ahead to the start of year 5(!).

    For the art, balancing high quality and simplicity is a laudable goal. I'm nowhere near simplicity, but it's on my mind. Shortcuts are helpful in the high-pressure production environment of webcomics. Anything you can re-use is helpful. I've copy-pasted where I thought it would work (a little too much, probably), and also retraced my own work -- backgrounds, especially -- anything reasonable and even semi-reasonable to save a little time.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Lots of good thoughts and advice here already! I thought I'd throw a few other pointers into the mix:

    1. To reiterate the above, burnout is a the primary reason web comics die. You miss a week, then two, and so forth. I've found that the best way to keep myself on track and turning out content regularly is to get plugged into a community/group that's going to keep me a) accountable to my deadlines and b) keep me excited about comic creating. I find that community through Facebook, Twitter, forums like these and outside friends. Just talking with people about it regularly is usually enough to keep me excited about it. The rest of the time, sheer stubbornness kicks in.

    2. Getting your comic in front of new readers can be hard, especially when you have no budget to work with (like me and most comic makers). I've found three strategies work pretty well and all of them are FREE:

    • Social media (Facebook and especially Twitter) is a great way to help circulate your comic and spread the word.
    • Also, we do a lot of mirror posting (ie. posting on multiple sites). We host the comic on our own website and then mirror it on ComicFury, SmackJeeves, etc. It's free, so why not? There's a different community at every site. We tend to get more traffic and consistent readers on our own site, but get more people commenting and cheering us on at ComicFury.
    • Finally, I've had some success using ProjectWonderful to spread the word about my comic through ads. Set yourself up as both an advertiser and a host. Then, start bidding for $0 on sites that don't have any bids on them. Over time, people will start to bid on your site as well. Use the money you get from that (we're talking pennies, realistically) to place more valuable ads on higher-profile sites. Ideally this will drive more traffic to your site, which increases the bids on your website and so on. It's a self-sustaining circle.


    3. Finally you should really develop a one sentence "pitch" for your comic you can use when someone casually asks you what it's about. For instance, my comic is called "House on Writer's Block." It's the story of an amateur author who becomes trapped in her own book and then tries to stop what she already wrote from happening. (You can start reading here if you're interested: http://storyforgeproductions.com/project/page-001/) I was asked to speak about storytelling on a panel at WonderCon and San Diego ComicCon this past year and I can't overstate the value of having a one sentence summary handy when you run into industry professionals. Even outside of conventions, you never know who you might run into.

    So those are a few thoughts. Sorry about how long this post ran; I'm working off about 3.5 hours of sleep right now and my brain is a bit fuzzy. :p

    Let me know if you have any questions about the above or anything else!
    I wrote a cyberpunk book you can read for free right here: http://www.glitchlogs.com/
    Enjoy! :)

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Thy Dungeonman's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    My dude does 99.99% of the work on a webcomic I had some hand in the original story of, so take what I say as total back seat driving. He's had the most problems in drawing updates with: lots of different characters, action scenes, high panel counts, and getting locked into an arduous technique.

    Re: lots of different characters, when you have several different guys that all have a certain hair and eye color and current outfit and continuity considerations, work can multiply. If you can make a story engrossing with a very small cast or just a few people together in any one page of the comic, bully.

    Re: action scenes, that gets into the crux of what artists can spend their whole lives mastering - the human form in action. Characters standing around are much easier to BS the anatomy. This is what the whole drawing book industry is based on, so at least you have a lot of resources.

    Re: high panel counts, I noticed a lot of comics have only 4 panels per page, even if they aren't in standard daily strip format. My dude's comic is a bit more like indie comics, with four to five rows of panels per page. So "5 row pages" are a curse word in this joint.

    Re: getting locked into an arduous technique, THIS is where you can save yourself a world of hurt. Play with different techniques a LOT before you start comicking, with a premium on speed and ease. If you start with a technique that is labor intensive, you may feel stuck with it, because switching up to something else might be seen as a reduction in quality by readers.

    There are so many ways to cheapen the difficulty of drawing and some of it may sound like cheating, but it's all good if it gets the damn job done. If you're good with 3d programs, posing and tracing 3d characters - or just "bipeds" that you can create character detail over the top of - can be a big help with anatomy in unusual positions (within certain limitations - won't have realistic muscle movement without a fancier rig than Hollyweird even tends to bother with). If you have helpers and environments and props available, tracing photographs could be useful in a similar way. The manga "I Am a Hero" seems to use this technique. You can also trace collaged found photographs, which you will want to alter substantially to avoid copyright issues, but that isn't hard. Some might cry foul on this, but one of the most respected horror manga artists in Japan (Suehiro Maruo) uses this technique often - especially for splash pages and covers.

    Then there's just using those kind of resources without bothering to translate it into drawn art. Make a photo comic or a 3d comic. In my admittedly limited experience, those usually look like balls, but they don't have to.

    And of course, there's clip art comics, stick figure comics, and a hundred other ways to throw the need for drawing skills out the window.

    The most important thing, I think, is to pay attention to how much time and effort your method actually takes, rather than how it feels or seems like it should take. I can see someone thinking, "I'll save time by using 3d!" then actually taking longer to set that up and knock it down than if they just toughed it out old school. And all the methods I mentioned can backfire badly, producing stiff-looking art or making a bad impression on readers if not executed well. Do what works best for you in practice rather than what seems like a good idea in theory.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkeydragon View Post
    ...
    I'm advertising RIGHT NOW. I'm talking about my product, including as many links as possible, and hoping against hope that a whole bunch of people will see this thread, have their interest piqued, and go see what my comic is all about. And thus the circle is complete....

    Erika
    Mission Accomplished.
    The Giant
    There are no mistakes, because there are no rules. NONE. No, not even that one.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    If you're an artist maybe find yourself someone who can write. Writing is a pretty big task on its own. It'd be best for the person doing the writing to have a similar depth of understanding of the mechanics of writing as you do of drawing. If you think you've got an equal grasp on both of them, go for it, just remember that they are two tasks, not to be squeezed into the time allotted for one.

    Don't be afraid of tablets, they are a webcomic artist's friend! With a tablet and photoshop you can produce artwork of any size in full resolution. Why limit yourself to paper sizes when you can create a virtual space of any dimension for yourself? If you're having trouble getting used to the disconnect, consider a straight to screen tablet, or just buck up and get yourself used to it, because it will save you a lot of time and energy in the editing.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by stsasser View Post
    Mission Accomplished.
    Hurray! I hope you liked it.

    If anyone is interested and from Michigan, Penguicon (penguicon.org) will be in Southfield at the end of April. My partner and I, along with another artist or two, will be hosting a couple of panels, one of which is starting and maintaining a webcomic. It'd be a pretty big coincidence if anyone here is going, but wouldn't it be a grand coincidence if they were?
    Sidekick Girl a comic about a professional sidekick, her dim but well-meaning hero, her friends, her henchman lover, and a mysterious vigilante.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Beholder

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    This is good stuff. I have a really cool premise for a webcomic already, and have had it for years, but I just haven't been able to figure out how to get past square one.
    "...Look, it's a simple job. Just go down to the docks, book passage on the good ship Harm's Way, set sail for the Isles of Immaculate Doom, pick up the Orb of Despair which is already waiting for you, and bring it back to deliver to that crazy old coot who lives in that creepy old tower in the Swamp of a Thousand Screams. What could possibly go wrong?"

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Hello. I make Socks and Puppets - which probably appeals a little to this audience given the number of DnD jokes it has in it. I've been going around six years, and I have a massive pile of advice, but a tendency to be way way way too verbose and wordy when talking about it. If you're just starting out, a lot of the stuff I might witter on about wouldn't be too helpful, as a big part of why people make webcomics is that it's a chance to Do Your Own Thing.

    ---

    If you're thinking about making a comic as a hobby, but you haven't really put any planning in yet, then there are a few pieces of advice that are really good for someone starting out.

    1) Make stuff.
    Sounds dumb as advice, but the best single piece of advice anyone can give you right now is to start making comics, and putting them somewhere that people can see them. It doesn't hugely matter where they are, and it certainly doesn't matter if you (or anyone else) thinks they're crappy or not, what matters is to get going. The process of making a comic itself and doing so regularly will teach you far far more about the medium than an entire book will, and once you have a thing, it's a much smaller step to keep expanding it than it is to get started. The first hurdle is easily the biggest.

    2) Be regular.
    If you're going, then the only thing that can stop you is running out of steam. I've had periods when I was doing fairly well making a regular comic, then I missed an update, then I'd miss two, then it would suddenly feel like I'd stopped altogether. Find an update schedule that works for you, and stick to it. Be conservative - you should be producing ideas faster than comics, and you should be building a buffer of comics to upload if at all possible. Living on the edge where you have to make a comic to go up in a few hours is quite stressful.

    You can try to just update irregularly whenever you have a new idea... but I've never found anyone who managed to keep going like that for more than ten or so strips, and it certainly didn't work for me.

    3) Keep the comic ticking over in the back of your head.
    Buy a small journal or notebook that you like, attach a pen to it, and make sure that you always have it with you. Whenever you have an idea that might be useful in your comic, write it in the journal. This isn't a script-book, it's just a place to throw all the random ideas you have when they come up. This book will both save frustration when you're trying to remember an idea you had in the pub five hours ago, and also serve as a little treasure trove of inspiration whenever you get writer's block.

    4) Steal.
    I don't mean that you should be taking people's jokes, or stealing their art, but once you've made a few comics, make a point of going back and looking critically at all the comics you really love, and wish you could be like. What are they doing right that you're missing? you can learn all sorts of little tips by taking care to notice how people lay out panels and speech bubbles and the way they position stuff and so on. Learn from the masters and adapt your style to incorporate the things you like.

    5) Get feedback.
    Get a couple of people you trust to serve as your "editors" If you have a good friend you talk to all the time, show them your stuff in the pencils/storyboard stage, and get them to tell you what they think sucks. Encourage your friends to tell you where you can improve, and what stuff is unclear. If you don't they'll just be polite and tell you how great you are, and you'll never learn anything.

    6) Do it because you love it
    Trust me. Nobody is going to read your comic. Not for a while. Not until you have an archive. If you're fantastic and do everything perfectly off the bat, and your art is phenomenal, then you might start seeing some readers after around twenty or so strips, but it's quite rare for a new comic to suddenly burst onto the scene unless they're linked to by someone big. (Usually, this'll happen when someone who was already successful in the scene kicks off a new project - they'll have the contacts to put the word out for them.) - People like Brad Guigur and Scott Kurtz, who have written a bunch of stuff about webcomics estimate that most "new artists" take at least 5 years to get established, and the first year or so of that is really just mucking around to see what works.

    If you're thinking that a webcomic might be a good way to get famous, or meet new people, or make some money on the side then you're going to find frustration. Do it because you want to do it, and do it with the aim of learning and improving. Once you get the ropes all working and everything updating regularly, you might find that you start retaining readers, and this is the time to move on to stage 2, which is promotion and merchandise. Ultimately though, if you're not doing it because you find it fun, nobody else will find it fun either.

    ----

    That's the entirety of advice I'd give to someone who wanted to start in webcomics, but who hadn't done anything yet... unless someone was really struggling to find a way to host their comic and wanted technical advice.

    I'm terrible at that, but if you just need to get going, make a tumblr account and start by putting updates in that. It's not the most ideal comic system, but it's super easy to make something that people can at least read. I host my own stuff, so I can say that I've also tried BtPhP (it's a pain to use unless you're a pro with PhP) and comicpress (which I use right now, and is a gargantuan monstrosity that's no fun to interact with, but which is used by a huge number of people.) - I've heard really good things about comicfury though and seen some lovely designs on that system. If you want specific advice on hosting and site design, I'd recommend talking about that in a dedicated thread, it's a really different skillset to the "make a comic" skillset, and I think you're more looking for the stuff I've rabbited on about here?

    -----

    If you're more interested in studying theory and construction before starting, then I'd still recommend saying "screw it" and diving in by making some stuff - it really does teach faster than any other method, but once you've been going for a couple of months, you might start wanting different advice. If so, then there's a couple of books I would recommend that say everything better than I can.

    For advice in meta-webcomics (how to find hosting, what to do if you want to promote your comic, what to consider if you want to make merch and all that jazz) I'd recommend the webcomics handbook by brad guigur et al. It's grey and weighty, but it's not terrible advice.

    For a crash course that will vastly improve the quality of your work, and build a better understanding of how to actually make a comic, then I'd recommend two books by Scott McCloud "Understanding Comics" and "Making Comics" - these two books are phenominal, and contain a huge number of little tricks explained in detail, with examples, that completely change the way you look at comics, and really help improve your writing, art, storyboarding and comic construction.


    Okay, I'll stop wittering now.
    Last edited by ahdok; 2015-03-11 at 10:25 PM.
    S&P is a comic I draw that's not as popular as this one.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by StuartHughe View Post
    Why limit yourself to paper sizes when you can create a virtual space of any dimension for yourself?
    My digital style and my analogue style are just completely different.

    I can draw comics digitally, and if I do, the quality of the art is vastly inferior to a huge number of random webcomics out there on the net that nobody reads because they're just kind of tedious. It'd take me several years with a tablet to really compete visually. On the other hand, my analogue style, while not hugely complicated, is recognisable and fairly unique these days, as well as being clear enough to convey my jokes. Of the two, I currently prefer the analogue method. It's a bit more work than digital would ultimately be, but there's a physicality to it that I couldn't ever replicate with a tablet - and I have a big box file of originals that I can give to people as presents (or sell, very occasionally.)

    So, that's why I limit myself to paper sizes. It's not even really limiting, given that you can basically draw one tiny panel on a huge piece of paper, then digitally arrange all the panels later - although that is a lot of effort. :)
    S&P is a comic I draw that's not as popular as this one.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    ahdok's Avatar

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    Default Re: web comics creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fingz View Post
    I had a question about retaining users. Podcasters have iTunes where they can post their podcast and subscribers can see when a new version is posted and play it if they want. Very convenient.

    Is there anything like it for webcomics?
    I have, like, one regular reader who uses a thing called piperka which appears to be some kind of service where you load in all your webcomics, and then it just tells you which ones have updates you've not read.

    Other than that, most webcomics provide regular feeds to other social media services, and you can just subscribe to one to get regular updates (I personally post every comic to an RSS, Tumblr and Facebook feed using a comicpress extension called jetpack. It would be trivial for me to add G+ or Twitter or all sorts of other things if anyone reading my stuff told me they really wanted it... hell you can even make it regularly update LinkedIn... which feels incredibly silly to me.)

    Personally, as a reader, I put all my webcomics in a folder in chrome, and just middle-click that folder out of my toolbar each morning to read through my comics. Sure that means I give an extra hit every day to comics like OotS that don't update hugely often, but when many of the comics I read are small fish in a big pond, the figure padding can really help them with advertising rates.
    S&P is a comic I draw that's not as popular as this one.

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