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When your art style changes

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, July 19, 2019

Often webcomics are a long term endeavor spanning over multiple years. In that time it is inevitable that your art style and character designs will change. As an avid webcomic reader I saw my fair share of project restarted in an attempt to standardise the art direction and character designs.

This was done for the sake of streamlining the characters as well as standardising the artwork to make it look more consistent. However, given the nature and length of webcomic projects, particularly comics that aren’t one-shots, you’re bound to see changes in the art style yet again as one can only reboot a project so many times before it begins to feel like groundhog day. For me, I love going back and seeing the old art and plots of stories I love as you can see how far the artist has come, and in turn, take heart that you too may experience a similar elevation of skills.

When it comes to the writing of comics, long form comics face a much more difficult challenge compared to short form or one shot comics. As one writes and begins to explore the story, even if the outline has been worked out, the story is bound to change. Unlike a novel however, editing and amending the story can be difficult as the webcomic is essentially a work in progress rather than a finished product.

Of course, you could always complete the comic from start to finish and then release it. That is always an option. However, there is something about the organic nature of webcomics and real time audience participation/feedback that may be missed if done this way.

In the end, it is best to accept that the evolving nature of webcomics may result in your art style and character designs changing and that there may come a point where you have to let your previous style stand.

Have you ever fixed the beginning of your comic to match the current art style? How has your comic evolved over time? 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 1:10PM, Aug. 31, 2019

That's the BEST part of reading online comics. Seeing a peer's evolution is gratifying and, being emotional, it makes the world a better place. It's so freaking hard to keep going in a creative production that when we see people getting better because they stayed in the game long enough, there's no way to get inspired.

NmEwra1th at 7:08AM, July 22, 2019

Iv only just started this comic lark and reading this kind of stuff is what I'm after..I think I agree with not changing your original pages but I can see how your style would evolve with consecutive pages to look different from its start ,,,but coming from an ametur just starting we want to see you guys progress artistically and technically to give us a hint at how we should and should not proceed.

Banes at 12:45PM, July 19, 2019

And agreed on having readers and commenters engaging with the comic as it comes out! I don’t think I would have kept going without that.

Banes at 12:43PM, July 19, 2019

I originally did animated typical strange episodes before restarting as a webcomic. But even then I didn’t redo those original stories. My comic beginning was its own beginning that allowed the original cartoons to still be canon (not that anyone was watching anyway. But still...!). So if I ever rebooted online or in print I think I’d just do the same...a”new beginning” that still allows the original stories and art to exist as they are. I don’t think I’d redraw the old stories. I mean, one ever knows but I doubt I’d do that.

ShaRose49 at 9:47AM, July 19, 2019

Yeah it would be an endless process if I redrew it all. I’ll try to limit redrawing as mush as I can. Also I agree, having a real time audience is so fun!

Avart at 9:42AM, July 19, 2019

My style evolved rather than changed. I try to keep it consistent but sometimes is a bit hard. Sometimes I take a look to old pages and I was like "OMG! What was I thinking?" but I won't waste time redoing those pages, because as @usedbooks says, it would be an endless process.

IronHorseComics at 9:07AM, July 19, 2019

My art style and technical methods have greatly metamorphosized over time and I imagine they will continue to do so as I go on.

ShaRose49 at 7:19AM, July 19, 2019

My art style stays static for no one, and at the end of the day I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I love the freedom to experiment. I’m planning on redrawing my first chapter and touching up parts of the second chapter once the 3rd chapter and bonus features are finished, but that’s not so much to make the style consistent as it is to make it more readable because I knew so little about basic art principles back then. However, I will keep the original beginning somewhere for people to read if they want to see how it origially started.

usedbooks at 3:47AM, July 19, 2019

If I restarted, it would be an endless process! But on a whim, for my 12th anniversary, I redrew page one in my then current style:

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