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Organizing For Comic Making

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Oct. 20, 2018

Procrastinating is an art. I know it well for the past 7 years or so of making Without Moonlight, I have updated extremely sporadically. Some updates had months spanning between them. But this last year I've been producing steadily two pages a month. I know, I know, it's not a great feat or anything, considering how many artists produce pages weekly- but for a procrastinator like me it's nothing short of a miracle.

So I thought I'd talk today about how I managed it so far- goodness knows my life isn't any less hectic than it was before. If anything, it's progressively getting MORE hectic. And yet still, so far, I have managed to keep my regular updates coming at the date they're announced they'll be up.

So how do I go about it?

I organize. Anyone who knows me will probably attest that I'm a control freak and I like organization. There's a reason for that (I grew up being the messiest, most disorganized kid you could ever meet. My closet was a black hole where everything went in and nothing came out in the same form it was before): it made me produce what I wanted at a better pace and it gave me a sense of control over the things I do.

So for my art I follow these principles:

1. Be realistic

There's nothing more I'd like than update biweekly- two pages a week, every week.

But that ain't happening. The numbers just don't work- I don't have the time to invest 7-10 hours that I need per page twice every week and I am in no position to build any sort of buffer.

So I won't ever put this goal for myself before I can reasonably (i.e. logistically) expect that I will be practically able to meet it.

2. Set a schedule

I do have a 1-page buffer that I created when I prepped my patreon, so my patrons (THANK YOU!) will get the next page from what is updated at the regular sites. Considering I update biweekly, for me every second weekend is WM day. This is either Friday or Saturday depending on other htings on my scheduly, BUT IT IS ALWAYS ONE OF THOSE DAYS. During those days I do nothing else except art in terms of desk-bound work, and I make myself finish the page in those 48 hours.

Setting a schedule helps you build a routine, and nothing is stronger than habit- if you make creating pages a regular habit of a specific day (or days), then you will be updating regularly 90% of the time.

3. If possible, do it at the same place, the same time

Having a specific work desk, a specific room, a specific place where you do your work adds and builds your routine, your habit even more and just the surroundings when you sit to create prime you to making your webcomic. If you can, try to keep your work environment constant.

4. Learn shortcuts

This was hard for me. I used to cram all the panels of the world in my pages, trying to tell as much story as possible per page, knowing my update schedule was scarce. Now I pace the story and try to keep it parced in 6-8 panels per page. It gives me more leeway with my art and I've found people seem to engage and like it more.

I also learn tips and tricks for speeding comic making from professionals (another reason to be on twitter, that's where I got most of my advice!) which, I've found, in the end are not actually shortcuts- they're more fluent ways to convey the story, with more ideas and more variety that adds to the artistic whole while often (certainly not always) helping you speed up your output.

5. Sit down and begin whether you're up for it or not- and shut off social media

It's hard to produce art when the muse just isn't coming. But a good way to summon her is to just sit and start drawing your next page regardless of whether you feel the ‘mojo’ or whatever (less embarrassing) way you have of describing that feeling of riding the wave of creativity.

You will find that often it will come as you work more than if you don't do anything and sit around waiting for it to just hit you.

And those are the things I do, that I've found help with regular updates for my webcomic.

How about you? Do you do any of these? Do you have anything else that works?

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rmccool at 12:01PM, Oct. 20, 2018

I just take my pen bag and clip board everywhere with me and work on pages when ever I have wait time..5 min of waiting can turn into a ruff sketch..then a lunch a bigger chunk of time is used for more thing being on the street has thought me is to stop worrying if it's good enough..stop apologizing .there will never be a perfect time to do a take what you have and let your paper speak...say this is what I did and it is pages will never be beautiful never quite finished but they will be mine .do you best and leave the rest..and figure it will all come right some day or night.. hugs..

JaymonRising at 11:32AM, Oct. 20, 2018

I precrastinate or penulticrastinate: I do things at the first or penultimate minute :D...

Niccea at 7:58AM, Oct. 20, 2018

I'm just kidding just as much planning and a whole lot of cat herding goes into community projects. Not only do I have deadlines, I have to enforce them. And since I also volunteer as a judge and presenter in the awards, it takes a lot of time. My husband hates me this time of year because I'm assembling the Awards comic every other evening and all day on the weekends. The only advantage I get is that I can reorder the presentations so that mine are at the end and that gives me more time to work. (But I do the same for everyone that asks for more time. )

Niccea at 7:53AM, Oct. 20, 2018

Or you can be like me. Head up a community project and let everyone else fo the work for you. Then you post up all the pages in a two week span and take the credit.

Albino Ginger at 6:25AM, Oct. 20, 2018

I don’t start updating until I have a complete chapter finished… that’s about 23 pages or so… that makes it extremely easy to keep consistently updating during the chapter, but then I have an undetermined hiatus between chapters…

usedbooks at 6:21AM, Oct. 20, 2018

I dream of someday having a regular job on a consistent schedule without severe curveballs at least once a month and actually having to pack up and move twice a year. :P Until that day comes, updates will have to happen as they happen and when, where, and how don't really have the option for consistency.

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