Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

What have you learned from making a webcomic?
JillyFoo at 4:41PM, April 10, 2007
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What have you learned from making a webcomic? Tips? Tricks? Dos and don'ts. Advice for beginners and experts.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:08PM
mechanical_lullaby at 4:46PM, April 10, 2007
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Keeping an update schedule is hard. Resisting the urge to update is hard as well. Unfortunately, these two elements almost never cause any impact in my book. So my advice that I try yet never accomplish are to keep an updating schedule that you can live by. In the words of Douglas Adams: “I like deadlines. I like the whistling noise they make as they fly past.”

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:57PM
Red Slayer at 5:20PM, April 10, 2007
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Absolutely nothing.

Shouldn't this be in tips 'n tricks?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
Jimeth at 5:35PM, April 10, 2007
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I've learnt that it's incredibly difficult to get people to pay attention to your comic when there's so many out there. Also, starting's generally the hardest part because the characters aren't established.

Deadlines have never been a huge problem for me, I just say that there'll never be less than one a week, and then I update as much as I can.

Also, don't try and draw a comic whilst you're bored of it. Your mood reflects on the page and your comic will be flat.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:08PM
Zac at 5:46PM, April 10, 2007
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I've learned that if you put a lot of work into something, you'll get a lot of results back.

I've also learned that it's great to do if you're into killing your grades!

w00t.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:53PM
rainingbells at 5:56PM, April 10, 2007
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Your readers can be crazier than you could ever imagine (I've had stalkers, like, in-person stalkers; death threats; people asking for nude photos of me…).

Your readers can become some of your closest friends (my best friend started out as a fan of my first online comic, 10 years ago).

Work faster. Your art quality may suffer in the short-term, but it will catch up, and you'll be faster in addition.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't devalue the work of doing a “webcomic”, try to maintain some consistency, but consider every page or strip a test bed in which to continue the evolution of your style.

Take a break every now and then. Weeks, even a couple of months. Completely. Drop the pencil and pen or tablet. When you come back you can find your art jumps because you've had time to “forget” bad habits, or re-learn things using a better approach. I find my art jumps usually after I've had some sort of break.

Whore yourself out. I don't. My friends, fans, and Other have gotten on me about it for years, but it's not my nature. I've been doing comics online for, as said before, 10 years…almost no one has heard of my stuff. Comics like MegaTokyo, even people who don't read it have heard of it. Granted, it could just be because your work is designed more for a “cult” fanbase, and word-of-mouth shows your readers really love what you give them, but if your work can carry a larger audience, there's no reason why it shouldn't.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
usedbooks at 5:58PM, April 10, 2007
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I've learned patience. There are hundreds of pages I have the urge to share, but I must resist. (Sort of the reverse of the “deadline dilemma.” ) Also, the patience to hold back major plot developments to be released in due time and in subtle glipses. Learning the subtle art of suspenseful story telling…

Oh, and since I do pencil drawing, I have learned that I need about 10 times more replacement erasers than I do replacement lead.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:36PM
Alexis at 6:05PM, April 10, 2007
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Zac
I've learned that if you put a lot of work into something, you'll get a lot of results back.



I agree. This isn't foolproof, I've put tons of work into things that have failed miserably, but mostly it's true.
I would add that if you take yourself and your work seriously and present yourself professionally other people will, too. This includes sticking to your update schedule, promoting your work, and trying to be consistant in quality. And don't start or get involved in petty squabbles, on the internet or in person with other comic creators or fans. This is super, double true when it comes to attending conventions. Gossip travels at the speed of sound, expecially gossip involving female creators in the male-dominated world of comic books. Promising careers have been ended by gossip.
I also realized that there are specific challenges to making a true, real life comic like Life on the Fringe. Everything that happens in my comic is true, but there are things I won't make a comic about and people I won't draw into the comic because I don't want the comic to turn into a gossip-fest or a source of conflict. I know one “real life” comic creator who goes so far as to get release forms signed by the people who appear in her comic after having some legal trouble with an old friend when her comic went to print.

Also the more you draw your comic the better it will look. :-)
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Phantom Penguin at 6:46PM, April 10, 2007
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our comic can effect a lot more then you ever thought it would.

I got a cease a desist letter from FOXnews huh!?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
legendkiller13 at 7:01PM, April 10, 2007
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Phantom Penguin
our comic can effect a lot more then you ever thought it would.

I got a cease a desist letter from FOXnews huh!?

i just had to pq you on this, i am blown away!!!
so much for free speech and freedom of expression….maybe you could just pick on wolf news instead??? ;>
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:34PM
Phantom Penguin at 7:08PM, April 10, 2007
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FIGHT THE POWER MAN!


heh if they only knew it makes people more popular….
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
suzi at 7:10PM, April 10, 2007
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Think about exactly what you're putting out there; once, at 4:30am during an all-nighter, I made the very silly mistake of adding the word “buh!” to my comic as an expletive of sorts.

IT MADE ME REALIZE HOW OBNOXIOUS FANS CAN BE WHEN THEY LOVE SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT WAS RETARDED.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Terminal at 7:26PM, April 10, 2007
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Never expect anything.

There are always surprises.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:11PM
ozoneocean at 7:30PM, April 10, 2007
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rainingbells
people asking for nude photos of me.
Hey, if people ask me really nicely… :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
Eirikr at 8:37PM, April 10, 2007
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I learned I have trouble setting personal goals. This makes a incredible load of sense if you look through my archives.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:19PM
fern at 8:59PM, April 10, 2007
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That it doesn't get you any chicks…
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
Alexis at 9:31PM, April 10, 2007
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fern
That it doesn't get you any chicks…
If it makes you feel any better it doesn't help the lady creators much, either.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Neilsama at 9:32PM, April 10, 2007
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I learned that my appreciation for my own work is very short lived. It seems that anything older than six months is automatically crap.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:10PM
Eunice P at 3:56AM, April 11, 2007
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I make readers smile when I update. I make readers feel frustrated when I don't.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
StaceyMontgomery at 4:20AM, April 11, 2007
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I think I've learned that I have no visual memory. Like, If Im drawing a strip in a drugstore, i have to go to a drugstroe and look around, or look up lots of photo reference, or draw floorplans of the drugstore, and make a 3d model of it, or all of that, in order to actually draw a drugstore and have it look like something.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
rainingbells at 8:14AM, April 11, 2007
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ozoneocean
rainingbells
people asking for nude photos of me.
Hey, if people ask me really nicely… :)

I am just not inclined to be handing out pictures of my nakedness. Maybe if I knew the guy for a while, but jeez…first IM he's all making passes at me and asking for photos and whatnot.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
aquacow at 8:23AM, April 11, 2007
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I learned the webcomics are a medium that give me everything I want, namely power, money, and your first born child.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
silentkitty at 9:29AM, April 11, 2007
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I've learned that it actually is possible for me to retain interest in something for more than 24 hours.

I've also gained a lot of respect for people who are capable of updating a comic every single day. Good lord!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:37PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 10:22PM, April 11, 2007
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I've learned invaluable lessons in pacing, and quite a few don'ts.
1.) DON'T start your comic with a million character introductions, like I did.
2.) DON'T hand-write the dialogue, like I did.
3.) DON'T have your very first comic ever be a dystopian epic. woops.
etc.

I've learned how to use photoshop, and a few other programs too, like Corel Painter (vaguely kind of) and open canvas (yay!)
I've gotten better at dialogue, I think, and I've picked up a few tricks on characterization, like, BEFORE YOU START YOUR COMIC, be sure you know your characters and their motives intimately!!
I've learned that line width variation can be your best friend.
Also I've learned that pencilling pages during class really makes time fly!
And that making sure things look right early on, in the pencilling or inking stages, saves a LOT of time later on.

There's no shame in using references, despite what mean old snobs may tell you.
I don't usually finish writing stories because I just get bored, but I've been doing my comic since last June and I'm still totally into it!!! So I've learned that I have the willpower and ambition to make a 164 page comic and still be ready for more!!!
and finally…

GETTING NICE COMMENTS IS THE AWESOMEST FEELING EVER! having readers who actually CARE about what you're doing— it makes it so worthwhile!!! I can never miss an update!!! not that I think my readers would really care, but I'd like to think they would, so..! hehehehehe!!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
rainingbells at 7:42AM, April 12, 2007
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Kristen Gudsnuk
There's no shame in using references, despite what mean old snobs may tell you.

Reference is good.

If you're doing a comic set in modern times, or using elements of modern life, get a camera and take photos. I have envelopes and boxes and scrap books FILLED with photos of ordinary crap. A lot of street reference. Phone poles and lines, power transformers, work trucks, streets, railroad crossings, signs, offices, houses, shops, malls, trees, landscaping, accidents, boats, waterways, parks, fountains…. And not just one or two shots, but ten or twenty from different angles.

When you're sitting in your house and you can't afford to break your groove to go out, or you can't get out because you don't have a car, or it's raining…you just turn to your reference photos. You don't trace them, or draw an exact copy of, say, a shop in your area (unless you're using your area as the setting), but you use it for inspiration, for light and shadow, and for all the little details that make things more realistic, more “lived in”, that you don't often remember seeing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
junoblairb at 9:05AM, April 12, 2007
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I've learned-

That doing a webcomic can get you laid. Not from experience.

Readers, yes, can be insane and that at cons I must expand my personal bubble at least two more feet for glomping purposes, ie bring the xanax.

That the coolest people in the world may read your comic and thus become your friends.

That no matter what, you have to do this for yourself. Doing it for someone else spoils it.

And no matter what - an email from someone or comment can always better a bad day. :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
wyldflowa at 7:24AM, April 13, 2007
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I second a lot of what people have already said. Meeting new people and getting support and praise for your work is wonderful~ (this might sound egocentric but) when I'm on a downer I read back some of the nice comments people have given me and it really spurns me on to draw more. It's one thing to love what you're doing - it's another thing completely to know that other people like it too. :)

Plan plan plan. Comics are just like any story you write - they need a definate beginning, middle and end. If you start off with a vague idea you'll tire of it quickly and you may write yourself into a hole and be unable to continue because of bad foundations set up at the beginning of the story. Make sure you've got the whole story in your head before starting~ for random strips I guess you can just make the story up as you go… but story comics need lots and lots and lots of planning… e_e;

NEVER redraw anything. If you get into the cycle of redrawing everything you're unhappy with you'll never get anywhere. Instead look back at your old work as being “the best you could do at the time”, learn from your mistakes and move on. The only way to improve is to draw more and draw new things - not re-drawing the same stuff over and over. Also don't be too fussy, draw it and move on. If you're planning to do this professionally you can't afford to be worrying that such and such a thing isn't absolutely perfect and spend eight hours getting it right - just do it, learn from it and try and do it better next time.

Doing a webcomic has also taught me to draw faster - when I began I could barely draw a full page in a day. Now I can get up to five out without much problem… which leads me to another point, drawing too obsessively can make you malnourished, sleep deprived and virtually reclusive… ;_;
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
SomaX at 11:02AM, April 13, 2007
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THE 10 THINGS I'VE LEARNED FROM MAKING COMICS/WEBCOMICS:

1) That it's harder than a lot of people think.

2) That it takes longer than most people think.

3) That readers can become your best friends, or your worst enemies.

4) That there are, in fact, 24 hours in a day.

5) That my mom can be a real bitch. lol

6) That ink and paper cost a lot of money over time.

7) That I can't spell to save my life.

8) That sleep = good.

9) That one comment is worth about $10. (5 for $100)

10) Tests and homework suck monkey balls!
~*~
#253 in Comic Book/Story #344 Overall ~*~ #383 in Comic Book/Story #517 Overall
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
literacysuks1 at 2:19PM, April 13, 2007
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On the art end I've learned that it's really easy to cheat on backgrounds, either by having the character obscure them or by just hinting at things with a few lines. I also learned that talking heads are my freind because I don't have to draw much…oh and that I still can't draw vehicles to save my life.

As for writing I've discovered that juggling multiple sub plots hurts my brain and that I should pace my stories more quickly. I don't like having to draw so much to tell so little.
Go read my superhero comic…because I told you to
http://www.drunkduck.com/Acrobat/

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:35PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 4:43PM, April 13, 2007
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wyldflowa
Doing a webcomic has also taught me to draw faster - when I began I could barely draw a full page in a day. Now I can get up to five out without much problem…

wh..??? 5 pages in one day?!?! pencilled, inked, scanned, toned????
I usually manage about 3-4 a week (depending on my course load…) and, urgh, even if I only did one page a week it could never look like effing Rainbow Carousel!!!!
how, how HOW could you do 5 pages of awesome genius in one day???
*jealous!*
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM

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