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How long is too long to work on a comic

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, July 5, 2019

A few days ago, I stumbled across a fellow creator who was asking how should you work on a webcomic? They weren’t referring to how long should one spend on an individual episode or chapter or even page, rather, how long should a comic project take you and how long is too long to be working on one single story?

At the time of writing, my comic partner and I have been working on comics for nearly two years now. We have two different projects with vastly different expectations for how much effort/time they will ultimately take.

Our sci-fi series is very involved. There are a lot of moving parts and it will take time for those events to unfold. So the time it is expected to take to tell this story will be any number of years, in comparison to our other series which is more light hearted and, in turn, lighter in subject matter.

When it comes to determining how long a story should take to complete, and how long is too long, you have to look at how much is really involved in telling the story you want to tell, and in turn, is that the sort of time you want to spend? Creating an outline of events will go a long way in helping you figure this question out.

There is no right or wrong answer. It is up to you to determine how long is too long to be working on a story.

How long have you been working on your comic? How long is too long for you? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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AmeliaP at 6:16PM, July 10, 2019

Hey great article. It's something every author asks themselves at least one time. "How long is too long for you?" I'm putting the finishing touches on my graphic novel. After 272 pages, +10 covers and a lot of promo material, I can tell you: 4 months or 96 pages. That's my limit from now on. A longer story turns into something unbearable to rewrite/edit or improve, for me. Shorter stories, or self-contained arcs, are easier to keep under control.

jerrie at 3:05PM, July 6, 2019

also in copying what Dpat says...they go on...UNTIL IT ENDS.

jerrie at 3:04PM, July 6, 2019

My series are meant to go one indefinitely. Story arcs comics series NEVER end. Like Banes said...I dont want to say goodbye to my characters.

justinlapoint at 7:47AM, July 6, 2019

Animal Town Confidential involves a series of stories which are essentially separate comics. The characters remain the same, but the stories vary. As long as there is interest in ATC, we intend to keep publishing.

PaulEberhardt at 10:39AM, July 5, 2019

The point to stop is exactly when it stops being fun. It never has for me, even if I've been forced by Real Life to take an extended break from comicking (real life being a female dog and all that). That way it'll probably take decades until I'll have drawn even half of the ideas that lurk in my desk drawer and want out. My comic is technically 10 years old, but parts of it have been around for way longer. I can picture my future self drawing comics on that same old desk, ignoring the pitying looks my great-grandchildren give me when "that old fool's doing it again, can't he ever act his age?" - and it frightens me a good deal less than it probably should... After all, somebody will have to show them young whippersnappers the meaning of dedication, right?

Banes at 9:47AM, July 5, 2019

I agree with used books that episodic adventures are more suited to long runners. That's what my series is - so there's no grand payoff to work towards. I do have plenty of other adventures for these people to go through, and at the slow rate I'm going with pages, I'll be dead before I get through all those ideas!

Banes at 9:45AM, July 5, 2019

My comic has been going since 2011, and I was doing the same series as 4 or 5 animated episodes for a few years before that. Typical Strange is mostly standalone adventures featuring these characters, and I don't think I'll ever want to say goodbye to these characters. I'm working on some other series, though, that I hope will see the light of day before I run out of time. Jason Moon is right - life's too short!

damehelsing at 8:01AM, July 5, 2019

The first version of my story (Scarred Eden) was actually originally posted when I was 16, so that was 6 almost 7 years ago. I stopped shortly after 3 years because I wasn't enjoying the turns the adventure was taking and spent the next 3 writing and re-writing it so many times. This is my baby, if it takes 20 years to complete it then so be it :p

Jason Moon at 7:45AM, July 5, 2019

A good comic can easily go an artists lifetime. Our lives are too short.

RobertRVeith at 6:54AM, July 5, 2019

I feel like I've been working on mine my whole life. The characters in my current project (Dragons in Civilized Lands) were created when I was in my early teens. It took years to develop the skills to tell the story. And I spent about a year drawing pages which haven't seen the light of day, getting the right look and feel for the project. It's been running on DD for four years and I have at least another five years to go. There *is* an end, though I haven't decided if I'll stop there…

phinmagic at 5:42AM, July 5, 2019

My comic, Phineus is 28 years old. And I have no plans of stopping.

usedbooks at 3:46AM, July 5, 2019

Stories need satisfying conclusions. If you want to work on a super long or indefinite project, just don't stretch out any single mystery or conflict for too long or readers (and you) will lose interest. Episodic series can go on longer than an ongoing saga (that's why miniseries exist). The world can change, and you can follow characters through a series of adventures in their universe. But if you are making it extra long, give the audience satisfaction, arc climaxes and conclusions. It takes me a year to finish an "episode," and I try to keep them interesting on their own. I also do recaps between them to catch readers up on the ongoing plot. (I still feel a lock of satisfaction, so I'm working on a finale -- and brainstorming a sequel series.)

bravo1102 at 2:26AM, July 5, 2019

Pope to Michelangelo as latter works on ceiling of Sistine chapel, "when will you make an end?" Michelangelo, "when I'm FINISHED!" Works for me.

dpat57 at 2:14AM, July 5, 2019

UNTIL IT ENDS. VALHALLA HAS NO ROOM FOR WEAKLINGS. My oldest comics are 10+ years and are still rolling along, 'cause I have no goddamn sense. COMPLETE THE MISSION.

MOrgan at 1:51AM, July 5, 2019

Just 2 days ago I reached my 19th anniversary for posting dirty cartoons online. If I had any sense I probably should have stopped years ago. ;-)

Coydog at 12:33AM, July 5, 2019

Hell, I'm still working on UNA Frontiers (when I can) and that sucker has been a WIP since 1992 and the foundation of it formed up long before that.

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