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Overworking in webcomics

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Feb. 4, 2023

With the ever expanding influence of Webtoons, more and more people are flocking to webcomic sites to read comics. I say read, but really it is “consume”. In this day and age where content is being inhaled at an unprecedented rate, creators are being pushed further to create more. Longer episodes/pages, better quality, frequently. This expectation to push oneself to overwork is now ever pressing. If you’re not working on creating more content why not? What are you doing with your life?

Recently, creators who are on the payroll of Webtoon have begun speaking out against the massive workload vs pay discrepancy. While their IP is being milked for all it’s worth, they’re mental, emotional and psychical health is being severely impacted. Added to this is the stress of being in financial hardship as a result of the low pay creators often receive. They are not paid a good enough wage to hire help, let alone take time off to rest.

Injuries affecting the hands, arms and shoulders are becoming commonplace, the threat of burnout ever lingering, not far behind. Suffice it to, with dodgy contracts and the impact of poor working conditions, creatives are feeling exploited.

It’s tough being a creative when we live in a world where it is poorly paid and the cost of living is so high. However, if someone comes along and offers you a deal that seems too good to be true, well, you know the drill. Be aware of how your IP will be treated and, in the event you walk away from an agreement, ensure you can keep your characters and story.

Support artists directly through cons, Patreon or KoFi. Look at their websites. Lobby local/state/federal governments to investigate potentially shady workplace practices/contractor laws. But most of all, look after you. You are the creator. You deserve to enjoy your work .

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PaulEberhardt at 2:13AM, Feb. 5, 2023

You know the downfall of a creator is in full swing when they start reposting old content just to post something once a week and in the hope that it's old enough for nobody to remember it any more. Please note I don't usually blame them! Any publishing system that makes creative people do this is deeply flawed (i.e. practically every publishing system that ever was, mind). As a "consumer" I'm never quite sure if the ethical thing to do is to click it in order to support that creator who is clearly in a fix or not click it because I don't want to appear to condone this kind of thing. It's a major reason why I like those creators best who tell these algorithms to be fruitful and multiply (in a different, shorter wording) and just post when they feel their new project is ready to be posted.

J_Scarbrough at 10:12PM, Feb. 4, 2023

@DylanTale Comics EXACTLY! It's easy for these so-called "experts" on YouTube to say, "Just make more content more regularly and you'll earn more subs," but if you'll notice there's only one type of content that creators put out regularly: talking heads. When all you do is just film yourself reacting to viral videos, or reviewing movies you saw, or whining about why you and your spouse can't get pregnant, of course it's easy to put on content such as that on a regular basis - even daily; but as you and I both know, when you actually CREATE content that takes time and effort, it's not like people like us can just crank this stuff out like an assembly line. When I was younger and my content was much simpler, I could, but as my content has gotten more complex and requires more work, I can only upload when I'm able to.

InkyMoondrop at 9:00PM, Feb. 4, 2023

I don't know how to expand a reader base outside of reading other ppls work and commenting, I never made it beyond three followers on twitter and such and I never had ambitions to financially depend upon my creative work, so the only real stress I impose on myself comes from my own deadlines and just wanting to be able to be productive and have a handful of ppl continuously appreciating it while still kicking. Anything other than that is just a cherry on the top. Of course if my job wouldn't allow me to have a few hours to write at least, it'd be a different story and I already don't have a social life. I'm happy to take your money and all if offered, but you know, my goal is to spend my time doing something I like and at the end of the day to be able to share it, not to overwhealm myself with additional expectations.

DylanTale Comics at 7:46PM, Feb. 4, 2023

@J_Scarbrough, 400+ subs is a LOT better than my 66 subscriber count lol. I definitely get what you mean though about not rushing art. That's exactly how I treat my live action Faceless series on my channel. I never rush anything and I always plan out what I want to do before filming.

J_Scarbrough at 5:25PM, Feb. 4, 2023

But also, Walt Disney himself was the one who said it: NEVER SELL WHAT YOU CREATE. Fight for your properties and your name on your creations.

J_Scarbrough at 5:24PM, Feb. 4, 2023

This is one of the reasons why I never opted to monetize on YouTube, even though I actually am eligble for such: from what I understand based on those who do monetize, YouTube takes far too large of a percentage than they deserve: 45%, that's nearly half! And the way YouTube has been screwing over content creators, especially the little guys like me, that is WAY too much of the pie than they deserve. On top of that, it's better to monetize if you have a larger following and can put out content on a regular basis . . . neither of which I'm capable of; I not only have a puny number of subs at 400+, but because mine is artistic content, and as the saying goes, "You can't rush art," I'm not able to upload content on a regular basis - sometimes, a single video of mine can take MONTHS to complete.

DylanTale Comics at 11:15AM, Feb. 4, 2023

I remember seeing some Webtoon creators having to take a hiatus time to time due to bodily aches (neck, shoulders, arms, wrists) they've experienced from how hard they pushed themselves with their webcomic. Like Paul said, platforms like YouTube, DeviantArt, and Webtoon only care about likes and views. They don't share the same creative vision that most (if not all) artists have. Personally, I make stuff because a.) I love being creative and being able to make content, and b.) I love being able to positively impact someone with my work. I also agree with Dragonsong, I'm so glad that my hobbies aren't my job but at the same time, I do try to think of my work as something similar to projects such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars. I always ask myself, "what story/stories do I want to tell?" or "What cool/unique characters could I introduce?" Overall, I like focusing on what is enjoyable and what I think/know others will enjoy rather than "Do cheap page, get more monie".

dragonsong12 at 9:13AM, Feb. 4, 2023

In a way it sometimes makes me feel a little better about the fact that my comics aren’t of professional quality and likely never will be, because it means I’ll never have to compromise myself to try to make a living off of it. …but I kinda do this already on my own anyway, haha. I treat my comics like a job and don’t allow myself to miss updates, even if it means staying up late to get a page done. I work a full time job so all of my free time gets devoted to comics. It really annoys my friends because I never want to do anything, but I can’t imagine living any other way. Creating things is the only thing that brings be joy. …but on the OTHER other hand, that’s my choice. I have a strong feeling I’d feel very differently if it were mandated to me rather than something I decided to do. It’s pretty gross the way most companies treat creatives and I think it really is preying on people having that desire to create.

TheJagged at 7:40AM, Feb. 4, 2023

"Welcome to the world of professional art! Ready to die from crunch?"

marcorossi at 5:52AM, Feb. 4, 2023

I'm an hobbist, but my dream was always to be a comic author. Honestly though I'm not all that sure that I would really like to do that as a job: as an hobbist I can do whaterver I want, I don't have a schedule etc., so "creating" is fun. On the other hand I have 40h of boring dayjob to do. Ambiguous.

PaulEberhardt at 4:41AM, Feb. 4, 2023

In a nutshell: always have a plan B, even if it hurts to pull the ripcord. After all, doing so doesn't mean quitting your dream for good - that's the main lie the big THEY want you to swallow, whoever THEY may be (in fact I doubt that THEY really exist at all, but it's easier to motivate yourself if you pretend they do).

PaulEberhardt at 4:31AM, Feb. 4, 2023

Since I only ever do comics for fun and have a day job to support me I'm not really an authority, but I know nevertheless that making a living from a webcomic takes discipline and a long breath, and I imagine it to be as stressful as every independent job. It's more noticable with those who built a career as an influencer and after a few years start struggling to come up with new content that still gets them enough clicks. Since they seem to feel kind of forced by the algorithms always to do more of the same over and over again, this practically dooms their channel to go back into the shadows after a few years, and mantras like "you only lose clicks because you don't work hard enough" (the new corporate gospel 7:31) rot their psyches on top. Also, it leads to actual hobbyists like me not standing a cat's chance in hell to be visible. This Webtoon thing sounds to me as if it's fast going down the same path of bleeding creators dry to satisfy the almighty algorithm, just like Youtube.

davidxolukoga at 3:10AM, Feb. 4, 2023

Sad. Going indie is the only solution, but that too is a topic for another day.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 12:52AM, Feb. 4, 2023

This is the way the comic industry has operated since the very beginning. You can trace back instances as far as the dawning days of superman how companies have pulled that sneaky little fine-print-jedi mind-trick on its employed creators. Instances of artists being pushed to work in things in the last minute because higher ups wants to promote this character or this other thing now all of a sudden, all while having to produce the same high-quality work for every panel within an ever tightening schedule. Nothing will change as long as we all still live in a consumer society where the words "more" and "faster" and "cheaper" reign supreme, and the word "enough" simply do not exist on the map

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