Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

How much stuff do you put into a page?
Neil_Whitehorn at 12:20AM, Oct. 28, 2011
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I could put in bucket loads of time and energy into these things, these webcomics.  addressing things like lights and shadows and high lights etc, etc, etc.  making sure my backgrounds are all good etc;
and I also get impatient sometimes and I just wanna post the thing and finish, and move on.  I could spend hours on a page trying to make it just right.  but sometimes it feels like it's not really worth doing.
a friend once told me, you never actually finish a piece of work, you just sort of run out of time.  how much stuff do you put into a page?  how much time and energy and details and such?  I'm sure its up to the artist but I just wondering how can the artist determine what's worth while putting in to a page and what isn't
Allyndn at 1:20AM, Nov. 2, 2011
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Neil_Whitehorn wrote:I could put in bucket loads of time and energy into these things, these webcomics.  addressing things like lights and shadows and high lights etc, etc, etc.  making sure my backgrounds are all good etc; and I also get impatient sometimes and I just wanna post the thing and finish, and move on.  I could spend hours on a page trying to make it just right.  but sometimes it feels like it's not really worth doing.a friend once told me, you never actually finish a piece of work, you just sort of run out of time.  how much stuff do you put into a page?  how much time and energy and details and such?  I'm sure its up to the artist but I just wondering how can the artist determine what's worth while putting in to a page and what isn't

I probably over think it too much myself. I decided that I would do one chapter/issue each month. Originally, I would upload the whole thing at once, but then I realized the duck would never feature my story unless I was updating at least once a week. So, while I plan each chapter as a unit and don't post any of it until the chapter is done, I have a page going live every 2-3 days.

Now, each chapter/issue is 15-17 pages. A self imposed limit, granted. But it means that my 2-3 days for each page keeps the 1 chapter/month rate approximately. And each chapter has to have some amount of coherent story-telling in its own right, as well as contributing to long term plot arcs. And each page has to make someone want to read the rest of the chapter.

So, how much stuff do I put into a page? Too much, much of the time. I basically divide up the content I want to cover in a chapter into the pages. And then I draw the necessary panels to fit that part of the story into the pages I have allotted for it. Then I try to figure out how to fit all of those panels onto the page in question. This has often gotten out of hand (check out http://www.drunkduck.com/Found_Art/5302056/ for example, where I fit nine panels of action onto the page).

On the other hand, one of the advantages of releasing a free webcomic is that it never has to be finished. You don't actually have to run out of time. You can upload a comic, and decide next week you could have done it better. So, you do it better and upload it again right over the previous one.
El Cid at 5:56AM, Nov. 2, 2011
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Generally speaking, putting the maximum amount of stuff into your comic is not a good thing. You don't want so much detail that the reader's eyes become tired reading it, or so many panels crammed onto a page that it all turns into a messy blur of text and shapes.
 
As a webcomics artist, you have to economize and keep in mind diminishing returns. There comes a certain point at which more details require more effort than is justified by how much they contribute to the finished product. It takes some trial and error to figure out where that point is for your style and your comic, but always keep that in mind as you work. Also, keep in mind that too much detail in backgrounds can detract from foregrounds, and too many panels or too much text make for a crowded, unappealing page.
Allyndn at 3:18AM, Nov. 6, 2011
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posts: 34
joined: 11-25-2007
Well said, El Cid.  
The goal is to give your readers a satisfying page that makes them feel it was worth the load time, but not so much that they don't want to read another page. 
Air Raid Robertson at 6:03AM, Nov. 30, 2011
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joined: 5-7-2009
I think it boils down to the story one is trying to tell. I believe that all comic book artists should place storytelling at the forefront of their aims whenever they put a page together.
 
And, as el Cid put it, sometimes piling on the detail is detrimental to telling the story. If one spends too much time properly illuminating every crack in a brick wall it can keep them from making sure each panel transitions into the next with the proper flow.
 
I can't tell you how many comics I've run into that have an excessive amount of cool looking splash pages that add absolutely nothing to the story. It is good for an artist to have a “guitar solo” every once in a while, put far too many people take it to a point where it becomes masturbatory.
 
Joe Kubert once said that a comic book reader should be able to look at a comic page without reading any of the words and still be able to easily parse out what the story is like. If the artist can't pull that off then their work has failed.

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