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Enjoying the work

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Oct. 22, 2022

So this might be a little tricky. We're webcomic artists. We make webcomics that are a ridiculously composite and tough undertaking, all on our own- and we like it. We really do because it rarely pays the hours and skill that goes in them, but we still do it.

So this article isn't really about generally waxing lyrical about how we should enjoy the work we do or how we enjoy it or anything like that. This article is about enjoying the work when it gets in a rut, it becomes frustrating, it becomes demoralizing, or generally it feels like the work is killing the enjoyment.

You can have too much of a good thing. And making a webcomic isn't just all good- there are a lot of bumps along the road, some about building the skillset you need to get on the page what exists in your mind, some about real life demanding the time you need to make that page, some about not hitting the numbers, popularity, or clout you'd like for your work.

All these things can suck the enjoyment out of even the biggest passion project if they are not handled right and quickly. At its extreme, it can create burnout that will kill the project (and the webcomic) altogether.

So how DO you handle all the issues that keep you from enjoying your work?

Some can be done more easily than others. However, keeping your work on the webcomic as stress free as possible is key. If “real life” is demanding more time than there are hours in the day, trying to go above and beyond to make your webcomic might break you- overwork is a real thing. Therefore it's better to announce a temporary hiatus and leave it. Work through the rough patch without worrying about your comic, draw/create at your leisure and pace, and return afterwards, hopefully renewed or relieved, depending on what you grappled with in real life.

If you feel your art isn't quite reflecting what you need it to, reach out to other webcomic artist friends and ask for their feedback on what to tweak or why. I've asked such help countless times on layouts, lighting, composition, even sound effects for my webcomic, and it's a HUGE RELIEF. Also I end up with solutions that teach me something new and which I can keep using later on.

What about popularity or clout? That can be pretty tough, especially if you feel like the odds are stacked against you or compare yourself with massively popular webcomic artists that rake in the numbers while your stuff only gets a couple of hits- from mom.

The secret to this is not to compare yourself with others, but with your own self. Does your comic have more fans than when it started? Have you any loyal fans that always come back to check your updates? The answer to this should be yes, and as long as you keep it up, it will stay a “yes” and that is all that matters. If it is a no, then maybe consider that you haven't found your niche audience yet.

You're likely not going to get readers on a site that only caters to those consuming manga-style-romance-BL romance *coughwebtoonscough*. You might need to run a few ads on comics you feel have the same audience as what your comic for. Participate in art events, and so on, so that you start building an audience.

What won't work is trying to copy other popular webcomic artists in an effort to gain popularity or compare yourself to them or feeling like you're a lost cause or any toxic thought process like that. Such negative thoughts will only keep you from enjoying the work.

So how do you keep enjoying the work when the work gets tough? The answer is that you take a break, take help, or change methods in ways that help you out of the rut. It'll make getting out of the rut more enjoyable, and, once you are out of there, even more likely to enjoy what you make.

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J_Scarbrough at 1:48PM, Oct. 22, 2022

To continue, despite cartoons being my first love, this was how I came to experience firsthand just what taxing and tedious work animation really is, and how I eventually realized that I simply do not have the patience for it, which is why I have nothing but the utmost respect for people who are truly passionate about animation that they can stick with it, because I couldn't. Basically, even though it's only something that I've finally learned with in the last year or so, you really have to set up a pace for yourself, lest you end up becoming a slave to your work, like I have before. Even now, I've planned Season/Chapter 2 of VAMPIRE GIRL so far in advanced, that most of it is already completed, but I still have like a 6-7 month buffer ahead of me to finish what's left to be done.

J_Scarbrough at 1:44PM, Oct. 22, 2022

I find that even I have commitment issues with my own work . . . I just can't work on the same project for too long, because the longer I work on a project, and the further away the finish line seems, the less interest, drive, ambition, etc. I have to want to see the project through its completition. I took a couple of courses in Flash animation during my high school years (this was back when Flash was still mainly for web toons like HOMESTAR RUNNER, and had yet to become an industry standard): the first year was learning the basics (blinking, mouth movements, balls bouncing), while the second year was more about the actual production of an animated short, from writing the script, to drawing up the storyboard, to actually animating the short - mine was a 4-minute sci-fi comedy about a planet of super-evolved Space Bunnies, but after nearly a year of working on it (by myself, I might add), I quickly became burned out on it, and even to this day, it [i]still[/i] remains unfinished.

Unka John at 9:27AM, Oct. 22, 2022

Wise words! You have to take care of you first.

pkism at 7:42AM, Oct. 22, 2022

daydreaming about characters all day is what keeps me going in general, but when i sit down to work i find the less i think about and agonize over the details, the easier it is. so i kinda just have to put on some form of background noise and go into a fugue state and let the flesh deal with the work. i let this stuff will itself into existence and i am but a conduit

InkyMoondrop at 7:20AM, Oct. 22, 2022

Hm. I have a few friends who occasionally read my comic, I can't empzasize enough how much it helps that even one person is supportive, gives regular feedbacks in private, looks forward to the next comic or gets emotionally invested in the story / characters. When I used to work on other creative projects, I've spent a few weeks on them tops and then I fell out of the mood or felt burnt out, but this current one is something I'm doing continuously for almost 4 months now, every day, it's probably because I've put enough themes and perspectives in it to always be able to work on something, even if my mood shifts and because I aim to entertain myself with it. To be fair, if I wouldn't be creating a webcomic, I'd just watch movies, shows and anime all day, like I usually do, so this is pretty much like that, just being productive as well and it lasts longer.

bravo1102 at 7:10AM, Oct. 22, 2022

Sometimes it's as simple as giving yourself permission to enjoy what you're doing. Or just acknowledging that you have unrealistic expectations and that it's a marathon and not a sprint. Don't be too hard on yourself because you're the only you that you have.

Jason Moon at 6:41AM, Oct. 22, 2022

I get depressed if I go too long without drawing or creating. I think it's a "ZEN" thing for me.

PaulEberhardt at 3:05AM, Oct. 22, 2022

Once on a hiatus, always on a hiatus - at least for me; I really should have thought of fixing a date, because it has the additional bonus of forcing you back on track. Not that it'd have had much chance of success in my particular job situation that for the last few years has neither been secure nor, for that matter, has it left me enough breathing space to really pursue any hobby at all. Sometimes it's the real life part that has to change - I'm working on that anyway, because I'll end up ruining my health if I don't. Getting back to doing comics instead of just talking about them is an important incentive for me.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 12:24AM, Oct. 22, 2022

Taking an hiatus from updating when it all starts to drag is definitely something I've been doing now and then. And I always give my readers an exact date when I'll be back from the hiatus. As long as you keep people informed about what's happening they will be understanding and it will build trust and continued reader loyalty👍

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