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Speed Vs Detail

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, June 22, 2018

Balancing detail and speed is one hell of a trick for a webcomic creator. It is common pitfall for many of us starting our webcomic. Unfortunately one cannot always have both of these qualities in the work. We go ham on all the intricacies early on and then wonder why we keep missing deadlines or worse, burn out completely.

Last week I talked about tricks to help you develop your style. Part of this process is also learning when to go all out on the details and when to cut a few corners as you try to balance quality vs speed so here are a few things to think about when you begin working on your current/next comic project.

What is the length of your story?
Is it an epic historical drama with a chessboard of moving pieces? Or is your story a light hearted gag strip that you want to release every week? Determine what length you think would be appropriate for your story and from there, plan it out a few chapters in advance. Ideally, for an epic tale, you’ll have a broad outline in mind, but if you’re still trying to work it out, then knowing what the workload you intend to take on might be can help keep it in perspective.

How much detail do you want to put in?
If you want your work to look super duper blinged to the nines, then be prepared to do A LOT of work. Detail takes a lot of time and energy. To help you, look up some tricks on speeding up the drawing process on YouTube or Deviantart. Learn some keyboard shortcuts to help speed up your workload, or even search for nifty Photoshop brushes and patterns to help you achieve your desired result.

Consider how long you want your work to take
When you sit down to do your next shiny project set yourself the task of deciding how long you want this project to take. If it is a short, one-shot comic, is it one you want to finish in a matter of weeks or do you want to take a bit longer? Not only will setting yourself this timeframe help you determine how much time you want to take to tell your story, it will also help you keep focused. If it is a one-shot over a series of months then you can take your time with the detail. If not? Then you need to consider the shortcuts you might have to take.

Build up a buffer and take breaks!
These tend to go hand in hand. You might want to complete a chapter or two before you begin releasing your work to the world so that you give yourself time to maintain your pace/desired level of detail. If you find yourself becoming exhausted, take some time for yourself. Believe it or not, your audience is generally very nice and they prefer you to be healthy and happy rather than exhausted!

Come to terms with the fact that detail vs speed is a compromise
As you develop your style and practice more, you’ll find that you’ll eventually speed up. However, even the pros cut corners to get more work out. Till then, try and be realistic when it comes to your expectations about your work and don’t be afraid to sacrifice a little bit of detail for speed and visa versa.

Is your comic incredibly detailed or do you try to keep it super simple? Comment below and let us know! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST). We’ll be following up on this topic so be sure to tune in and give other creators your tips on how you found your style!

Till next time lovelies!



Unka John at 11:54PM, June 22, 2018

I hesitate to agree with Ironscarf only because I fear it will swell his head, causing Mrs. Ironscarf distress and frightening the children. But he's right. How long do I have, to do how many projects, during the time allotted me on this planet? How necessary are which details to either effectively serve the story or get the gag across?

KimLuster at 10:51AM, June 22, 2018

God this battle never ends for me! I try give as much attention as I can to both speed and detail without the other suffering too much... And I never have enough detail, and I never do it fast enough LOL! Seriously, lots of great answers here, and I think I adhere to them mostly!

Avart at 10:38AM, June 22, 2018

I tend to add subtle details, a background very detailed each 10-15 pages but not at every panel, in fact many panels doesn't have BG at all. I Focus in characters expressions or poses and view points. Sometimes I try to put aside the details but simply I can't. It's like if it weren't my draws.

mks_monsters at 8:43AM, June 22, 2018

Good article. As for me, I try to make artistic progress in my work by adding more detail, but I still keep the comics simple while putting more detail into the covers or stand alone art.

Ironscarf at 8:33AM, June 22, 2018

Yes - the master animators and filmmakers are all plying the same mysterious trade! One comic that springs to mind is Hellboy. An early review I read went something like , "Mignola's art is lacking in detail, but it works reasonably well for this comic". What he should have said was "Mike Mignola creates a unique and stylishly atmospheric universe with not one single wasted stroke of the pen".

bravo1102 at 7:19AM, June 22, 2018

Detail and focus are all about focusing the reader's eyes where you want them. Mise en scene. Look at Citizen Kane. Ray Kellog was a master as was Orson Welles and William Cameron Menzies and Hitchcock among others.

usedbooks at 6:56AM, June 22, 2018

I agree with Ironscarf -- looking at it as a reader, not a creator. Level of detail has a great effect on mood and perception and can be used effectively as a story-telling method. If you ever watch anime, particularly the higher quality movies/series, you will notice that main protagonists have the least detail while objects and antagonists have greater detail. Less detail in a character allows the viewer/reader to project himself onto the character. And, as Ironscarf mentioned, reduced background detail can keep focus where the creator wants it.

Ironscarf at 4:11AM, June 22, 2018

I've gradually come to the conclusion that this is not really a compromise. Super detailed work and highly painted/rendered finishes provide the wow factor to pull in new subscribers, but they also tend to interrupt the flow and leave less room for readers to fill in the blanks. You end up with something that looks pretty, but is just not as engaging a reading experience. Great comic art is a lot to do with knowing what to leave out in order to direct the eye and avoid confusion. My aim is to purge the unnecessary detail from my art, not for the sake of speed, but to do it better. This doesn't mean leaving out backgrounds and anything that's hard to draw, it means drawing them in a more effective way.

bravo1102 at 2:50AM, June 22, 2018

An artist's work is never finished, only abandoned. Know when call "enough is enough" and move on or you'll end up frustrated with nothing to show for it.

bravo1102 at 2:46AM, June 22, 2018

And the KISS principle is a valuable ally. Keep It Simple and Short. Or if you like denigrating yourself ( something I just love to do) Keep It Simple Stupid. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

bravo1102 at 2:41AM, June 22, 2018

Creating a rhythm and work routine can help immensely. Break down how a panel or page is done and do it assembly line fashion. If you bog down on one you can go work on another. Once I set up production of the whole comic ahead of time and did all the scenes for each setting together (even if it was out of order) and then edited it together like a film. My comics are scheduled and put together like motion pictures so there's always another som6I can work on if I get stuck. I have a series of steps for everything so I can jump in and out as the mood hits me. And yes, the script is hammered out before any images are created outside of character sketches. Work habits that took me years to put together and that have gotten me through a pretty big corpus of completed work as opposed to numerous spotters and starts and nothing done.

cdmalcolm1 at 2:23AM, June 22, 2018

Boy am I ever the victim of this. If I do speed, I would hate it. If I do details, I don’t make deadlines. I think for me, only do the details were it counts. ..... I think. Still kind of hard to do.

Ozoneocean at 2:01AM, June 22, 2018

Good post. I say put ALLLL the detail in and make each page take 6 months. :)

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