Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Comic Writing & Illustrating FAUX PAS
blntmaker at 1:16PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 340
joined: 6-2-2007
Still new to the webcomic game but hungry to just draw my butt off and get my ideas in vivid color. Would anyone care to post up there personal NO-NOs in regards to the WEBCOMIC craft?


Kind regards,
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:26AM
Hijuda at 3:01PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 460
joined: 4-12-2007

It's a comic!

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
ozoneocean at 4:05PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 26,049
joined: 1-2-2004
To be fair, those topics may be more about the tradgic "Hahahahaahhahaha FAIL! >:)" moments in the illustrious process of comic viewing, showing, presentation, and display…

This topic would seems to me more about the nuts and bots of raw creation. You know; don't make the scene too detailed or you might lose your characters in it. -that sort of thing. ;)
Although those threads are helpful as well.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:27PM
Hijuda at 4:53PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 460
joined: 4-12-2007
You expect me to actually contribute useful information to a thread?

You, sir, expect too much of me.
It's a comic!

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Kohdok at 4:55PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 776
joined: 5-18-2007
*Sprouts Demonic Horns*

Never, ever let any portion of dialogue collide with the outline of a speech bubble except in cases of extreme exclamation!! And if it is a case of Extreme Exclamation, make the words a different color!!

That's my biggest bother, right there. Otherwise I consider myself rather tolerant.

Some of my smaller peeves include making the comic look like it was done with MS Paint. I mean, it can be done, and Paint is most definitely one of the best sprite editing programs out there, but excessively thick and bad-looking lines are a huge turn-off.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:19PM
skoolmunkee at 5:01PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I've been quite turned off by comics that have trouble with timelining, or ‘joining up’ what is going on from one panel to the next. Coversations that don't flow, actions that don't follow or are missing or unclear. Some of it is storyboarding and making sure you are showing actions and changes as they happen, but occasionally they're also drawing problems. The panel is zoomed in too close to whatever is happening and you've lost context, or not enough is shown for you to figure out what even happened or who did it.

Or even worse, a comic where you don't see an action happening, but instead is talked about in the dialogue. Say two people are talking in a few talking-head panels. Suddenly one person asks “why are you picking up that X?” I just wonder why they don't at least stick a panel in there showing the person picking up X. This happens a lot more than you'd expect- I guess because people starting out find it easier or more comfortable just to draw faces and talking.

Of course the rule everyone will tell you is tell, don't show - if you can describe a person, action, setting, etc with pictures or characterization somehow rather than having to talk about it in words, the better. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
Alexis at 10:38PM, June 7, 2007
posts: 314
joined: 1-15-2007
Never wear your own merch.
No, never mind.
Seriously, I say there are no strict “no-nos.” Try things, see what works. There is a lot of great art in the world that people would have first said broke some art rule. Just try to think about good storytelling.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Darth Mongoose at 1:43AM, June 8, 2007
posts: 488
joined: 1-7-2006
Go and buy a copy of ‘Making Comics’ by Scott McCloud (oh yes, I WILL keep on plugging that book till either everybody owns it or the day I die.) it will tell you a LOT of useful stuff!

Okay, faux pas eh?

-Making a tight update schedule and never keeping it.
If you think you'll only be making pages sporadically, then just don't give a schedule. If you say ‘I’ll update every monday and thursday' or whatever, people expect you to keep to the schedule, and will be annoyed if there are no pages, or just fillers. on that note:

-Posting too many filler images.
Often called ‘Dead Piro Day syndrome’. Posting too many fillers will disrupt the flow of the comic and make you seem flakey, inconsistant and not too dependable. Avoid posting fillers within the first ten pages especially, because people willoften take your early pages as an indication of how you mean to continue.

-Insulting your readers.
They're not reading because they have to, but because they choose to. Even if you think your comic is great, don't patronise them by lording it over them ‘Here’s another great page, I'm sure you were desperate for! Feel free to send fanart, so long as it's good.“ On the other hand, if you're being humble, or think your comic is awful, don't insult your readers' taste in comics, saying things like ”This is a **** comic, and only idiots would ever want to read it," it won't exactly flatter your public.
On a related note, never do things like threatening to stop drawing the comic, or killing a character if you don't get enough comments. That's LAME.

-Ripping off
Sometimes this can happen accidentally in dialogue, I discovered a few weeks back, I have a joke in common with a comic I'd never read, or art, where people often imitate artists they like. Since it can happen by accident already, it's even more important to avoid knowingly stealing ideas and art. Not just because it can throw you into a sticky situation if you ever publish, but because people don't want to read something they've already seen somwhere else. People often rip jokes from popular webcomics, like ‘VG Cats’ and ‘8-bit theatre’, or off TV and film, ‘The Simpsons’ being particularly victim, or rip off the art style of ‘Penny Arcade’ or ‘Dragon Ball Z’. Being original will really help you stand out.

-Excessive plugging and no pages
If you'e going to advertise, that's fine, a good idea, in fact (Read FanDanGo, it's great!) But make sure to put your money where your mouse is (okay, that was a horrible pun) and get those pages up! Plugging just an idea, or a comic with about three pages is…kind of futile unless you quickly start getting pages up. When posting plugs, always adhere to the forum rules, or rules of the site you're using. Not following the rules is irritating and makes you look like a bit of a n00b to your potential readers.

-Not drawing a comic
Okay. Most obvious thing ever. Far worse than any of the above, the worst mistake you can make…not drawing a comic. You'd be amazed how many people get lazy or chicken out. Don't give up, you may not be super popular at first, but you'll get noticed if you put your heart into it. Just draw it, have fun, and interact with the community!

Good luck!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
StaceyMontgomery at 6:07AM, June 8, 2007
posts: 520
joined: 4-7-2007
For me it's skipping too much - and then, not enough.

I do a daily strip. So every day, I get to move the storyline ahead by one plot point. But sheesh, the reader's don't want to see *everything.* It's like when you're watching a movie and you have to watch the hero park the car in real time. You dont need to see that, they can just skip ahead!

So if one day, my heros are in the car driving to the police HQ, and the next strip they are at the police HQ talking, that works.

But skip too much, and the strip becomes confusing. (Where are they? Who is she talking to again?)

Skip too little, and the strip draaaaagggs. (Yes, they are parking at the Police HQ parking lot - boooring!)

There is no rule for getting this right, I just have to make it up everyday. I will happily brag about many of my webcomic skillz - but not this one. This one has me scratching my head every single day!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
joeychips at 7:02PM, June 8, 2007
posts: 145
joined: 5-22-2007
For years I wouldn't bother having anyone proof read my comics in search of spelling errors. In retrospect, that was a big no-no. A decade later, when a New York publisher wanted to put out a definitive collection of all my Silly Daddy comics up to that point (2004), it took me four months (with help) to find, white out and re-letter all the spelling errors on 254 pages.
Joe Chiappetta
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
CharleyHorse at 10:43PM, June 9, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
This is how my mind processes information, mind you, and so your mileage may vary. A no-no of mine is going with the first series of storyline pages that flow from my pencil to my sketch pad. If I do then I fall into the unnecessary dialog or scenes scenario. What I've found useful is to put rapid rough sketches on a yellow legal pad up to a complete chapter, then go back with a fresh perspective and a cynical eye. Usually the major flaws leap from the pages at that point and give me a middle finger. At that point I simply cross out unnecessary scenes or dialog and almost always find that the surviving stuff is much tighter and to the point.

Ahem! I should mention that occasionally I cut a necessary scene or piece of dialog. Oh well, live and learn.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
D0m at 7:25AM, June 11, 2007
posts: 661
joined: 5-26-2007
Let me tell you, I've been making my fair share of mistakes with Nadya.

I'm giving you this from (little) experience…


-Draw any characters without designing them first.

-Cut corners. Readers can tell if you do. I still have trouble with this.

-Ignore comments and suggestions for improvement.

-Be mean!


-Write scripts- elaborate ones and short ones.

-Make sketches and thumbnail images.

-Know EXACTLY where your story is going!

-Make sure plot holes are covered!

Anyone wanna add?

Nadya- a tale about what happens to SOME of us when we die.

Currently: Nadya is awake and asking more relevant questions.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:02PM
CharleyHorse at 2:48PM, June 11, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Don't rush into production unless you are deliberately creating a throw away cartoon strip or comic book vehicle. In other words, DOm and others on this page are entirely correct. As much as possible have a well scripted, tightly plotted story line ready to go and thoroughly debugged before hitting that submit button.

To some degree, the same should be done with a gag-a-day comic strip submission. Know your main characters inside and out and not just how they look but how they react and what - if any - limitations in regards to a range of actions they possess.

I've read the laments of many a cartoonist admitting well after the fact that enough time had not been spent on the planning stages. It's not at all impossible to make - as an engineering friend of mine used to say - unplanned design modifications during production, but you don't want to have to start over from scratch again once you ARE in production.

This is not to say that you won't make some errors no matter how much planning you do in advance. My own strip Port Infinity begins in a fairly puerile manner despite - and I do mean this - months of pre-planning and tons of sketch work. Sometimes you've just got to get off the stick and put something into play even if it's not what you really wanted to go with. That's the other side of the pre-planning coin there; you can fall into the trap that I fell into, fall into doing nothing but planning and sketching and in endlessly changing your mind for some other approach that just might be a shade better . . . or might not be after the fact.

So, when all's said and done you might reach the point where you feel that you should just finally go with something even if it's not what you might have wanted under ideal circumstances.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
blntmaker at 8:56PM, June 11, 2007
posts: 340
joined: 6-2-2007
Great advice from some talented people with TONS of readers! Thanks so much! Now if I can just get my stinkin' web banner to work…

Seriously, keep the sage coming!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:26AM
PandaChaosProduction at 8:19PM, June 14, 2007
posts: 20
joined: 5-31-2007
Plan like you've never planned before. This is doubly so if your doing your comic with a partner. Make sure theres a consensus and you know just what to do, and that you both gave as much ideas to each other as possible. always make sure your ready. writing entire chapters scripts is a good way of doing this for me, it's easier to plan if i don't write it page by page and rather as a whole.

Never compare your self to any other comic, or bash another comic for that matter, especially not one extremely popular here,or on any other site.

Never work more on one of the aspects of your comic more then the other. Work on the writing and art equally, and alot make sure it's the absolute best you can.

Never, and i mean never, abuse any of your readers. Praise those motherfuckers like they where your last meal ever. But don't be …to Praisey, that gets kinda creepy.

If your going to make a sprite comic, try and make your characters far different from any other one. Meaning, for the love of good, if your gonna make a a mega man comic, don't make mega man an idiot, have anything ice cream related, and please make your “author” sprite from something other then mega man or protoman. Also, read some spriteing tutorials before you even make a page. Alot of spriteing may be copy and paste work, but there is pixel art involved to.also, never bash sprite comics just because their sprite comics, give them a chance, and see if they can make a good story.

Always attempt to make more then just one page when sitting down to produce your comic. It's always better to have a page or two in reserve then to try and kill yourself putting out 1 page a night. Work on two or three pages for a couple of days, then you can make a good update schedule and have some high quality pages come out, and you have free time. Also, never promise more then you can do.

that, and of course, practice practice practice. If your the writer of your comic, write alot, read lots, and try new things when you write, if your the artist, draw tons, try new styles, or hone your style to a fine tuned edge, and then try improving off it.

also, try and read some comics around here to. People work hard on there comic :3. And try to read more then just the top 5, or whatever is featured.

(…now just please take my advice, even though me and cerah , my artist, are still in the development stages of our comic and haven't posted a page or anything yet because they're still being worked on. D:, i swear we have experience and I'm just just babbling on.)


last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM

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