Comic Talk and General Discussion *

The costs of making comics.
Genejoke at 5:03PM, Jan. 8, 2016
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What does it cost you to make your comics and do you make anything from it? To be honest I'm more curious about the former.
Costs could be materials, computer and equipment and so on. Maybe costs of printing and going to conventions.
For me there is no profit, although at one point I made a small amount with project wonderful ads and I do mean small. Less than $5 a month so I just used it to pay for my own advertising. 
For the few traditional pages I do the cost is low, most as a buy cheap paper then scan it in to colour digitally. The main cost is pens and pencils. I have various bits around that I rarely use.
The 3d rendered comics on the other hand…  well it can be done with zero cost. The software I use (daz studio) is free and comes with a male and female Base figure. But that's nothe enough for comic making… well unless you use them as virtual mannequins. That was the original reason I downloaded the software, to use for getting character poses and angles correct. Anyway I digress. Doing it for free.  Those Base characters are flexible but need morphs to change shape and facial features, then you need clothes. That's where daz make their money, by selling props and morphs and textures.  Sure you can get free ones or make them yourself but it's harder and the results aren't always as good.  I do all three. I buy assets,  I download free ones and I make them too.  What does it cost?  Well i spend perhaps £5-10 a month. Often less but occasionally more.  I could spend a lot more but I've always been keen to make my own as it not only adds more of my own identity but it saves money. That is something of a luxury for me these days as I have been off sick from work for most of the year. The other cost is the computer.  The software is free but is regularly updated and becomes more demanding so I need a relatively powerful pc.
Other software can cost though.  I currently use photoshop cs2 as it is free, but the dated program suffers as my OS changes.  The only real issue I've had since upgrading to Windows 10. Maybe it's time to go back to gimp, I'm sure I can find plug ins to get the features I use in photoshop that the Base version of gimp doesn't have. It's either that or pay for photoshop (gulp) 
I have manga studio but I haven't found it up to scratch for my uses.
Daz 3d isn't a 3d modeller so to make assets I need one. I tried a few free ones but most were lacking, except blender but that's hard to learn. Learn it I did but some functions I find awkward as the program is so diverse. I bought hexagon on the cheap (£5) and it's a great modeller but hasn't been updated in years and isn't very stable.  I've also bought carrara on the cheap which is an all function 3d program but I haven't gotten to grips with that. Although I know el cid uses it to great effect.  There are other programs I've purchased that haven't paid off. If someone was to go the poser route then that will set them back a but, but has an asset library included unlike daz. 
Then there are memberships. Daz has a premier membership which costs but has benefits, I've paid for that in the past but not sure I will continue to do so as it's  $70 a year… a decision for next month.
Other potential costs?  Not many for me. But still it's a few hundred a year I spend on it… but in the scheme of things it isn't a lot. A heavy night out drinking can cost a couple of hundred and that's one night. Perspective.  
last edited on Jan. 8, 2016 5:05PM
KimLuster at 6:24PM, Jan. 8, 2016
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I've never made a penny from my comic… I've never tried!  Maybe someday…*sighs wistfully*  As for cost!   I've got all the paints and brushes I'll need for a couple more years and I only have to get new paper every few months, so cost is minimal!!  The only real cost is time!!  And that's something we all just have to personally decide the worth of spending…  Cuz we never get it back!    OOoooooo did I say something deep?!! :D
usedbooks at 6:42PM, Jan. 8, 2016
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Monthly costs are minimal. Just paper, mechanical pencil leads, and erasers. I need a new binder every two or three years. My lap desk was $20. It's ten years old, so I might need a new one eventually. My webspace is around $100 a year, my domain name is $10 a year. My hybrid tablet laptop had to be replaced once. The first was $1500, but the new (better) one was $750 because I got a good deal. My latest copy of PaintShopPro was $45 I think. Microsoft Office was around $100. I use it for scripting and other things. My scanner was $100.

I make no money but I do print and buy copies of my own work and/or give them to friends and families. I've spent a few hundred dollars. I have made maybe $5 from sales.

(It's my stress relief and hobby. I figure I could have more expensive hobbies – and I do, such as my DVD collection, video game addiction, and my pets. Got myself a several hundred dollar vet bill this week and about $50 in pet food and litter every month.)
last edited on Jan. 8, 2016 6:55PM
maskdt at 6:46PM, Jan. 8, 2016
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I don't really calculate my comic's cost just because I use the same materials for everything else I do. I'd say I spend maybe $5-10 a month on art pens and markers, about the same every couple of months on pencils and erasers (I still have no idea how the heck my pencils keep going missing; I put them in the pencil case, and they gradually vanish). The artboard pad I just bought for my comic was about $17, I think.
.
I pay $40/month for all the software involved in making my comic, but I use them for everything else as well, including school and more conventional design work.
bravo1102 at 9:32AM, Jan. 9, 2016
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Making comics like I do required a large outlay but then at first it was only collection as a hobby. The whole comic thing came later. There is about $5000 invested in the figures, costumes,  settings and props built up over the past 10 years. 

Tales of SIG cost an additional  $500 for additional models and specialty figures. I already had the model kits of the ships just had to sit and build them.  But there was a need for Star Trek uniforms and character figures. For example Shatner Kirk cost $30. My Nimoy Spock ran over $60 because I had to assemble him from various custom parts. His resin cast head cost $20 alone. But at least when it's all done I still have the stuff… crowding me out of house and home and the stacks of boxes pissing off the wife.

But I could probably get over  $100 for that Nimoy figure if I wanted to sell him. But thats not happening any time soon.
Genejoke at 10:27AM, Jan. 9, 2016
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@Bravo, I figured your outlay would be high, the figures and sets are bound to add up. 
bravo1102 at 11:00AM, Jan. 9, 2016
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I could be spending a lot more on stuff but I play it cheap like a low budget movie producer. Also there are a lot of tricks in Photoshop to make up for what I can't buy.  Like I use older figures. The current generation go for $100 a pop and have all kinds of real looking features like glass eyes and seamless joints. But I use Photoshop instead and my own modest painting skills. Now if I could only find someone willing to make costumes so I  wouldn't have to search sites for inexpensive clothing. 

Anybody out there like sewing doll clothes? ;-)
El Cid at 10:29PM, Jan. 9, 2016
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I don't really think much about the cost of making my comics, in part because the stuff I use for my comic is mostly stuff I'd be buying anyway. 3d art is a hobby for me, and my comics are an outgrowth of that; a way for me to channel my meanderings into something productive.
 
The software I use for my comics:
 
o Poser 5 - $50 when I bought it… a looooooooong time ago
o Poser 7 - $70 when I bought it… also a long time ago
o Carrara 5 Pro - $250 when I bought it… yup. That was also a very long time ago
o Photoshop 6.0 - $300 with student discount. Long time ago too.
0 Hexagon 2.0 - $100 (I think it's like $20 now)
 
But in addition to that, I've bought lots of other 3d software which never really factored into comicking in any way, shape, or form. Some of it I purchased and never took the time to even download or install it. But I have it.
 
o Poser 9 - $120
o Poser Pro 2014 - $350
o Bryce 5 - $100 (this was back before it was free, which I believe it is now)
o Vue 6 - $400
o Lightwave something point oh - $400 with student discount
o lots of other freeware programs I use barely or not at all, like GIMP and Blender, etc.
 
For 3d content, it's a combination of stuff I make, stuff I download for free from the 3d community, and stuff I buy. Usually with stuff I don't make myself, I still end up retexturing it at the very least for consistency's sake.
 
The biggest cost is time. At a minimum, I'd say I spend about eight hours for each page of my comic. Sometimes it can be more, if it's a complicated scene, but it's rarely less than that. I don't even want to try and calculate how many hours I've spent working on comics in my lifetime. It would have to be thousands.
 
That's why I can't really think of webcomicking in business terms. No realistically attainable payday is going to fully reimburse you for the time you spend working on a comic. If you get $500 a month in Patreon contributions, but you're spending 80 hours a month working on the comic, that breaks down to $6.25 per hour. That's less than minimum wage in the United States. Those are sweatshop wages! It has to be something you love doing, and seeing the end result – and maybe getting some feedback from others who enjoy your work – should be the most reward you expect. If you can earn a little bit of money back from it, that's gravy.
Banes at 3:37PM, Jan. 11, 2016
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Brilliant idea for a thread, and these are fascinating posts, especially from bravo's photocomic world, and from the creators of the 3D stuff, since I have a great interest in 3D (which at the rate I generally move, may turn into something after another decade or so. I have too many interests!).

Like others, my main outlay of cash goes to paper and mechanical pencils, so its minimal. The computer and software I've purchased were for purposes other than making comics, so I don't consider them part of the cost. I bought Manga Studio as well, for about 50 bucks, but haven't gotten a great handle on it yet.

I drew my comics in Toon Boom Studio for awhile, a year or two back, and that's the animation program where I first designed/worked with my Typical Strange characters. But then I switched to pencil and paper, and still use Paint.NET (a free program) to edit/colour and do dialogue and panels.

I've probably spent more on art books…gotta be a couple hundred bucks or so…
Gunwallace at 5:27PM, Jan. 11, 2016
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Okay, I'll add to this. Obviously, for me, the Playmobil comics have a cost in buying new toys to use for specific scenes and stories.
Utterly Rucked needed a Police car and an airplane, and the plane wasn't cheap. Also a bus, if memory serves. Probably a few hundred dollars all up. But at the end of the day I'm left with toys the kids can play with (and I can play with; wheeee!).
There were a few episodes of Character Development set underwater and I went a little nuts for those buying seahorses and mermen, but most of that series was done with exisiting toys I'd already purchased.
The new Playmobil comic I'm doing now, High Explosives, has required me to get some cars and specific figures; again another few hundred.
I do ‘buy ahead’ for Playmobil. Currently I'm picking up Victorian-era Playmobil for something I hope to do in the future, and I've been buying other brand toys that are a similar size to indulge some odd hybrid ideas where heads are transplanted, and bodies modified for another possible future project.
For the drawn stuff I ended up buying an iPad (several hundred), since my wife got annoyed at me always using hers. I use SketchBook Pro, which cost a small amount (I'm not good at remembering costs). That has also allowed me to digitally edit Playmobil photos for High Explosives, adding in smoke and changing the odd facial expression when ther standard Playmobil smile just doesn't cut it.
For all my comcis I use Comic Life on the Mac, which is a fairly cheap program, but suits my simple needs. I even got to help with a bug fix for the latest version.
I have purchased a few fonts on occassion to get one I liked for lettering.
For The Corporate Climber's Cookbook that was recently completed we had to purchase a lot of food and cook it. Some of it was not our usual faire, such as quail's eggs, but none of it has been wasted so it was a minor cost. 
Time. I spend way too much time on comics and music for comics.
All up I've spend at least a couple of thousand on making comics, and hundreds more on music. It's not the cheapest hobby, but then again, what is? I've got a lot of D&D 5e books at $70+ a pop (for which we use the Playmobil as figures), so in many ways comic-making is value for money.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
Genejoke at 3:28AM, Jan. 25, 2016
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Inded, none of us are going to get rich or rfamous from this but it's better value than a night out drinking and far more rewarding. 
Jeremy Ray at 6:46PM, Feb. 2, 2016
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I use GIMP and sometimes Blender, which are both free. My computer rig was paid for with freelance art jobs. I haven't tried to make money with my second XTIN book, but I did make some with the first. Nowhere near enough to live off of, but enough to be worth having for sure. With the second book I'm hoping to reach the point where I can live off the comic. Maybe a pipe dream but this one is far more promotable than the first.
Kota at 8:22AM, Feb. 3, 2016
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Originally I was using comic boards and Sakura Microns but I'm working completely digitally now using gifted programs so my cost is purely time.
Kota Otan
http://www.drunkduck.com/Mailbox_Rocketship/
and
http://www.drunkduck.com/The_Errant_Apprentice/
-
“If Jeff Bridges is stupid enough to do this, I'M stupid enough to do this!”
charmysarmy at 9:24PM, Feb. 6, 2016
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Last year I spent more money than ever…

I did 7 Comic Cons and spent over $1000 on tables and made back about $300 selling original art. My readership went through the roof… but it was not worth losing a tone of money. Gonna cut the shows down.

Here is my cost for this year….

1. Doing only two Comic Cons Table costs with table fee and setup = $600

2. Bristol Board - I use one sheet per strip - Three strips each week = $200

3. Pens and ink = $$250

So I plan on investing about a grand this year.

http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Charmys_Army/
Bruno Harm at 8:39AM, Feb. 9, 2016
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I used to play Magic: the gathering. So compared to that, making comics is free!
seriously though:

Photoshop………… $10./month
Non photo pencils…. $1/month
Ink pens…………. $5/month
Bristol board…….. $2/month

advertising………. $0 - $14/month (I'm not advertising now due to being poor)

hmm, at least $18 a month. and to think I could be getting Hulu plus.
Z74 at 4:46PM, Feb. 13, 2016
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since I use traditional media I would say that my costs are relatively low , I bought a lot of different watercolor sets before I settled on the one I like ( oddly enough that set cost $6 , way less than some of the others) i use cheap watercolor paper about $ 7 for 30 sheets , and free software for lettering etc.
I did however receive a high end set of colored pencils that I am learning with and plan to integrate into the comic soon .
MegaRdaniels at 5:37PM, April 4, 2016
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KimLuster wrote:
I've never made a penny from my comic… I've never tried!  Maybe someday…*sighs wistfully*  As for cost!   I've got all the paints and brushes I'll need for a couple more years and I only have to get new paper every few months, so cost is minimal!!  The only real cost is time!!  And that's something we all just have to personally decide the worth of spending…  Cuz we never get it back!    OOoooooo did I say something deep?!! :D




I agree.
last edited on April 5, 2016 8:52PM
maskdt at 6:38PM, April 4, 2016
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charmysarmy wrote:
Last year I spent more money than ever…

I did 7 Comic Cons and spent over $1000 on tables and made back about $300 selling original art. My readership went through the roof… but it was not worth losing a tone of money. Gonna cut the shows down.

Here is my cost for this year….

1. Doing only two Comic Cons Table costs with table fee and setup = $600

2. Bristol Board - I use one sheet per strip - Three strips each week = $200

3. Pens and ink = $$250

So I plan on investing about a grand this year.

http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Charmys_Army/


That's a sound plan. Readers who actually come back and stick with your comic are absolutely invaluable, so I'd argue that made your expenses worthwhile. If you're not making a whole lot from original art yet, I'd say focus on building your network at conventions – without going completely broke. People spread the word about things they like, and they just might spread the word to someone who might be able to offer you paid work.
last edited on April 5, 2016 8:52PM
binaryfaye at 11:43AM, April 5, 2016
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I don't even want to think about it. This is a darned expensive and time consuming hobby. My tablet for sketching and chapter planning is a Samsung Note 10.1 so that was what? $400? My new computer is a beast and cost about $1500. I have the Wacom Intuos in medium, so that was about $300. Photoshop CC is $120 a year now…

Why did I do this?! I should have skipped this thread! This is just depressing!

ozoneocean at 9:02PM, April 5, 2016
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Over the years I've spent a few thousand dollars all up on my comic making gear, website stuff, and of course maintaining DD.

I've been about to use most of the stuff I've bought on other projects to make a bit of the money back- because of my graphi8c design work it all works out.
Really it was working on comics more and more that honed my skills and got me more jobs in that area anyway.

Most of the money I've spent on DD gets returned to me eventually so that works out too. I earned a fair bit of money back in the Wowio and Platinum days too- but then I DID work for it, and then there's the hundreds of hours of unpaid work I've been doing for the site since, hahaha… But I love you guys and the site so it's ok.

The thing is, when something is a labour of love it's ok to be in the red for it.
 

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