Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Mishi's Mini Guide to making webcomics
mishi_hime at 10:25AM, Aug. 2, 2008
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posts: 1,769
joined: 7-17-2006

Register accounts at comic communities, comic forums, and art discussion sites.
Make friends with more experienced artists, get feedback on your work and find inspiration. Build yourself a support network. Run ideas and concepts by others.

PLACES TO VISIT
http://www.drunkduck.com
http://www.smackjeeves.com/
http://www.comicgenesis.com/ (Keenspace)
http://www.onlinecomics.net/
http://www.comicdish.com/
http://www.comicspace.com/
http://www.deviantart.com/

Work within your genre. Find other communities that would be interested in your style of art (action, realism, anime, anthro.)

RESEARCH
Look at your favorite webcomics. What do they do that you like?
Why are the bad comics bad? I’m not telling you to copy, just telling you to get insipired.
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Now you really are anxious to get started. But don’t just start posting pages yet.
Webcomics involve writing, art, editing, coloring/toneing, digital editing, scanning, etc.
That’s a lot of different jobs for just one person. 

Chances are you are only interested in one aspect. For example, if you’re a good artist, but aren’t the best writer you will have to spend extra time working on your literary skills. All aspects of the work are important, don’t get lazy.

Spend a lot of time planning.

LITERARY

Characters – Write a few biographies on your characters. What’s their backstory? How do they act and explain their behavior.

Scripts – Type a rough draft of your story. Play with organization and ideas you may have. Scripts should explain the scene of the story visually and include the dialogue of the characters. Explain everything, so that even a stranger can visually see what’s going on. Think of yourself as a director and your comic is a movie. How does each scene look, and what angle is being presented? How many panels will you have?

Script Examples & help
http://comicbookscripts.googlepages.com/
http://members.shaw.ca/creatingcomics/writers.html
http://www.joeedkin.com/
http://www.expertvillage.com/video/19668_comics-novels-script.htm

VISUALLY

Layout – Work out how each page will look with panels. Are you going with sequential boxes or something a little more creative…? Use different shapes, lines, arrangements, and overlap. How do you want the reader’s eye to travel through the page? What’s the most important scene of the page? How will you emphasize it?

Visit this page for a more in-depth look
http://lilrivkah.livejournal.com/169915.html

Characters –Draw different views many angles. Draw their facial expressions and any items they might have. How tall are they? What color?

Locations – A lot of comics online leave out backgrounds all together. But they can give a lot of visual clues and set the tone of a story. Draw the scenary and interior scenes.
Look for references online of castles, buildings etc. Don’t go with the typical house that you think of. Make every scene unique with it’s own feel.

Other – Make rough sketches of vehicles, relics, weapons, and important items.

FEEDBACK
Show your rough ideas to people you trust. Post them on forums or the communities you joined in the beginning. If there’s a more experience artist you admire, ask them to take a look at your work. Be open to criticism. You want to fix everything wrong now before you start drawing. Listen to what people say, you can’t please everyone but if you hear something over and over again it’s a good indication on what you should change.
Then make the necessary revisions.
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You have fully planned out what your going to do, so now’s the time to do it.
However, there’s a few things left to consider.

1.Hosting
Your very own website. Again, use the comic related communities that offer free hosting. (drunkduck, smackjeeves etc.) You can post your comic on several sites to get the most exposure.

2. A website design
There are a lot of great tutorials to make your webpage pretty. 
Give it the same style as your comic. Each host’s comic system is a little different, but they usually have templates to work off on. Just make it visually interesting and fast loading. Avoid graphics or music that would be a distraction.

3. Supplies
Time to go to your local craft store. If your planning on working traditionally, you’ll need pencils to sketch, the right paper, inking materials, and coloring supplies. Buy good brands like Prismacolor, Sakura, Microns, Rapidograph, and Staedtler. Make sure you have access to a scanner with a high dpi range. Many public and school libraries have equipment for free of little charge.

If you are more a digital artist, the adobe products are the industry standard. Use Photoshop, illustrator for drawing. If these are out of your price range, look for freeware like Inkscape and GIMP. If you have some money, try trial versions of Corell Draw, Open canvas, and paintshop pro. You’ll want a tablet with high sensitivity, I highly recommend the Wacom brand. Do not use Microsoft paint, or a mouse if you plan to draw.

4. Promotional graphics.
You want to entice people’s interest and excitement for your comic. Think of advertisements for movies or Ads that have caught your attention in the past. Emulate them. Draw something for your comic you can post on a forum that will make people take the time to click and visit your website.

During this time make banners and buttons you can post or exchange.
Use standard sizes. Here are examples and common sizes
http://www.simplygraphix.com/banners_sizes.html
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It’s time to work on the actual comic. You have all the tools to complete the job.
Create an update schedule, don’t plan on doing too much or you will break your promise.
Consider making a buffer (a few pages done before you initially launch the comic) that way if you miss an update day you still have something to post. Post one comic at a time, so each page gets its attention. You might be eager to post a lot at once, but you will get considerably less comments.Ask for critiques and feedback. Pay attention to how your work is received.
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If you want to get readers you’ll need to promote. Once again, use your contacts from the very first step to help you.

FORUMS
Most art /comic forums have a designated area for Plugging. Link your comic, tell people a little bit about it and post one of the wonderful teaser images you made. If you are an active use of the forum, put a banner with a link in your signature. Just make sure you don’t spam, or needlessly BUMP your comic, other users will get annoyed with you.

If the forums have a Critique area for art, post one of your pages there for more exposure and feedback.

TOP LISTS
There are ranked lists of comics online. Register for an account. Upload an banner, and write a brief description of your comic. You will then be given a generated HTML code.
It is a button that asks people to vote for your comic. The more votes you get, the more you rise on the list. This generates traffic and new readers.

Ranked lists
http://www.buzzcomix.net/
http://topwebcomics.com/
http://www.thewebcomiclist.com/

Other Lists
http://www.onlinecomics.net/
http://www.webcomicz.com/
http://www.comic-nation.com/

SEARCH ENGINES
Go to all your favorite search engines. AOL, Yahoo, Google, Altavista etc.
Find their submit a site page. It will ask for a url and a description. Add meta tags to the url of your site as well. This will tell robots of the web exactly who you are, and what the page is.

This site will generate META for you
http://www.submitcorner.com/Tools/Meta/

UPDATING & ACTIVITY
If you want visitors update your comic frequently.***
People would rather have many little updates over one big one in long time span.
Keep to your update schedule. If your comic gets large enough, you might want to include a forum of it’s own.

FRIENDS
Ask your friends about other communities, collaborations, fanart, link exchanges, and guest strips. Involve others in your project and make the comic as interactive as possible. Hold contests, special days, giveaways. Many of your contacts will go to conventions and events, go with them. Selling sketches, books etc. for cash and getting to know more people is always beneficial.

PRINTING
If your comic has a strong reader base you might consider printing.

PUBLISHERS
There are a lot of small publishers and big business. Sometimes the host of your comic might be interested in buying it, or perhaps you’ve submitted to Tokyopop, Marvel, DC etc. There’s a lot of money to be made, but contracts are very dangerous. Be sure to have a lawyer read everything before signing or you could lose your rights! Many artists start off with short stories in anthologies.

http://destroyerzooey.livejournal.com/180842.html

INDY
There are a lot of cheap print on demand services, becoming an independent publisher is a good idea. You control all the rights of your characters and story. It is pretty common for webcomics to go this route. However, you will need a little money to start and a little prepress knowledge to set up your files right.

Printers
http://www.lulu.com/
http://www.ka-blam.com/
http://www.cafepress.com/

Self publishing
http://spljamal.blogspot.com/2008/07/print-on-demand-what-i-look-for.html
http://www.fonerbooks.com/2005/08/graphic-novels-and-self-publishing.html
http://www.mangatutorials.com/tut/selfpublish.php

For promotion tips go to
http://www.webcomicpromotion.com/
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
JustNoPoint at 5:37PM, Aug. 3, 2008
(online)
posts: 1,325
joined: 3-16-2007
I really liked this post. I have yet to do even half of this stuff =p
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
skoolmunkee at 4:52AM, Aug. 4, 2008
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I strongly reccommend editing this to get rid of the curly quotes (you can do a search/replace in Word, I hate their stupid curly quotes) because it's good info but the invalid markup is gonna turn people off from reading it :[
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
Aghammer at 8:50AM, Aug. 12, 2008
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posts: 1,391
joined: 6-11-2008
Good stuff Mishi… thanks :) invalid markups? I just thought it was cussing!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:46AM
OrchardHeroes at 8:01PM, Aug. 20, 2008
(online)
posts: 43
joined: 10-26-2007
Great tips, will be trying them out!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
Brogan at 9:35PM, Sept. 6, 2008
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posts: 121
joined: 2-21-2007
Great tips here. Thanks…
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
mishi_hime at 11:56AM, Sept. 23, 2008
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posts: 1,769
joined: 7-17-2006
Sorry about all the garbled symbols, that's what i get for writing something in MS word. XD
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM

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