Dec 23, 2018
Merry Christmas one and all! And all that stuff. This year our release date falls exactly on the 25th! It was a busy year for us, lots happened. But in this Quackcast what we chat about is something rather different: the difference between pros and amateurs, specifically when it comes to comics. There's this common misconception that an amateur is a novice that will produce work of a lower quality, while a professional is an experienced person who knows what they're doing and will always produce things of the highest quality… The REAL story is more complex than that.
Topics and Show Notes
Professionals produce work for a living. It has to support them. Because of this they need to develop a high level of skill and proficiency. They need to learn how to produce work reasonably fast and to a consistent level of good quality on a regular basis. Time, cost and quality are the main factors, the pressure is on them to make things relatively cheaply, relatively fast, and at a good quality. This is very hard to do so they learn to make compromises and take shortcuts to achieve that. “Quality” becomes “good enough”, or basically with enough tricks and shortcuts to convince you that it IS high quality. In terms of art that involves tracing, pre-rendered images, photo backgrounds with filters, gradient fill colouring, cut and pasting, use of 3D assets, reliance on standard models. For writing that means sticking to formulas and story outlines someone else has come up with; tasks are split and delegated to teams: pencilers, inkers, colourists, background artists, creative directors, writers story editors and so on.
Amateurs come in many flavours. On one end of the scale you have the beginners who are learning, then you have casual people with just enough skill to do the job, and finally you have people with an extremely high level of skill, higher than any professional. Amateurs lack the pressure to make a living out of their work which means they have far more time to produce it in and experiment. They have the freedom to learn, advance and perfect, far beyond what is available to people stuck in the professional world.
But of course it's not a case of either/or. Both worlds can learn from each other and frequently do. There are many helpful tricks that amateurs can pick up from the pro world and pros have a LOT to learn from doing projects at a more amateur level. I hope this Quackcast helps to dispel the old myth that Pro = great, while amateur = bad. Reality is frequently a lot more interesting and complicated! ;)
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Lost Honey. Something epic is about to begin! Chords full of portent rise and flood your ears, creating a gorgeous blue backdrop upon which play the golden notes of the piano, full of stinging melancholy, joyful exuberance and wistful reminiscence.
Topics and shownotes
Only for Patrons who donate $5 or more, here:
Urban Legend - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/18/featured-comic-urban-legend/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/19/merry-quackmas/
Emma Clare - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/20/winding-down-and-looking-back/
Tantz - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/21/a-most-awesome-dd-year/
Pitface riding in a TIGER TANK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au8cImGEjhA&feature=youtu.be&t=948
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Lost Honey - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Lost_Honey/, by Fleebites, rated E.
Dec 16, 2018
On the 18th of December people who post things with nudity on Tumblr will be kicked off the site. That means all the adult bloggers, comicers and things that made that journalling site stand out above the rest of the vast sea of blog sites and image hosts are being screwed out of what they helped build up! The reason of course is to make the site more attractive to advertisers and so it can more easily fit the standards of puritanical companies like Apple and Google who have taken it upon themselves to scrub the world clean of anything that defines us as adult human beings.
Nov 4, 2018
How many characters is too many? Ensemble casts can be fun and the interaction between characters can be more interesting than the actual plot of a story! But keeping track of characters from the audience point of view or even from the creator's perspective can be hard when you have a lot. Characters can copy each other and just become bad clones or you can forget what some are meant to be doing and create plot holes, audiences can stop caring about some of them or just become really confused. So how do you keep track? I think breaking them into small groups can be one good way to do it… What are some others?
Jun 25, 2018
Retro is GOOoooooooooood! Damn good. Don't underestimate the power of retro. Old material and the past is where pure gold hides. Mine that stuff for all it's worth! But it can be overdone and when it is it's like warmed over fish and chips, it becomes tired and stale… Lets not talk about that though. What we chatted about here was the idea of mining your old work for good stuff. What was great, showed cool promise, or was some awesome but forgotten thing from your old comic work? You are perfectly free to revisit it, shine it up and impress the world. Many of the great artists and musicians of the world made their mark with that. Sometimes the world is not ready for your good stuff at the time you publish it, so many you're later you can go back and re-release it to one that is! Bands you to do that ALL the time. The past is a great place to look for inspiration. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Redneck: Bluegrass dubstep! Fast tasty beats, lyrical guitar and a bass that drops right onto your head! Disturbing, unsettling and yet strangely compelling.
May 7, 2018
Millennials are so dumb, Gen Xers are SO lazy, and those Baby-boomers are just greedy as hell aren't they? But seriously, in THIS Quackcast we chat about the different generations of webcomicers and what's changed and what we have to learn from each other. The first generation of real webcomics came in with Sluggy Freelance, 8 bit theatre and a few others. Webcomics started out in the mid 90s as the web version of “Zines”: independent creator driven personal projects. The second generation came about in the 2000s. Sites like Drunk Duck and Keen Space were a huge part of that. It made it easier for creators to make the jump online. We'd seen what those first guys did and now it was OUR turn, there were a lot of copy-cats in this generation, but a lot of experimentation and creativity too, with sound, animation, interactivity and infinite canvas being a mainstay. Later there was an explosion in hosting sites like DD and comicers moved on to other formats like Tumbler and Twitter etc. The pro comic publishers saw how things were going and tried to get in on the act with online comics too. I think the 3rd generation saw a lot of commercial focussed projects. Comicers saw it as a way to make money so we had a lot of slick, pro work flooding in. In the 4th generation I think we have people doing comics for mobile devices or ON mobile devices. A lot of the comic hosting sites have far more limitations on work than they used to in terms of content and format, a lot of stuff has a bit of a pre-packaged feel, you see almost no experimentation with format now. On the upside though quality is a lot higher and comic sites will reliably work a lot better than they used to. Styles have changed over the generations: In the old days most comics were fully drawn and scanned. Tablets were rare and very expensive and so were graphics programs. If you saw a fully digital comic back then you knew the artist was either a pro or they were at university with access to high level equipment - or it was dodgy work done with a mouse and Windows Paint. Those tools have become far more accessible now and the barriers have come right down. Most work is digital. What generation are you? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to DreamcomicbookDOTcom! Journey into a claustrophobically narrow electronic service tunnel, filled with high voltage wires humming with unimaginable power and mysterious cables running off endlessly into the dim, dark shadows in the distance. The creepy patterings and low hum of this music will take you there!
Jun 12, 2017
FLASHbacks… you have to do them right or they will screw up the flow of your story. That's the theme of the newspost by Tantz Aerine that we stole this podcast topic from. :) Flashbacks can be expository, they can explain story elements and plot to you, they can push the narrative forward in a (seemingly) non-linear way, they can do all sorts of things, but one of the very worst is when they ruin the flow of your story and irritate your audience! That's what we're chatting about today, the poorly handled flashback and how to avoid it! Now let me tell you about that time… JUST KIDDING! Our music theme by Gunwallace this week was Galactic Nebula Race. This is all about speed! Racing, acceleration, hyper-velocity!! Watch those lights fly past faster and faster until they become just a single coloured blurred line… only to see your rival speed past as if you were standing still.
Apr 10, 2017
The most important thing when doing your comic is to maintain your enthusiasm- THIS is what helps you keep working, not feedback, not praise, not fans, but your own internal passion. Feedback is great, but you can become addicted to it and when it's not there or there's not enough of it your work can die. In order to be able to keep creating your passion for your work should be internal, not external, you need to be self sustaining: A readership is nice and feedback is great, but you really have to do your comic for yourself, not for other people. But there's more to it than that. Bored by doing your webcomic? Why is that? What do you need to change to make it interesting to do once more? What is holding you back? Those are some of the things we talk about in this Quackcast! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for the previously featured comic Numb. This is the sound of a long road trip under the burning sun in the hot, dry, dusty, desert air, and on into a cold night through a desolate city lit by retreating streetlights. Progression, but where to?
Jul 4, 2016
Quackcast 278 is a strange bird! We have TWO things in it! TWO! Not one… but TWO. First we play the whisper game, inspired by Ms Pitface. So what we did was one of us said something into the camera with the sound down and then everyone else had to guess what we said. Out of all of us Banes was he best. I got ONE right, but as a general rule I was the worst at it. Pit and Tantz were ok… The fun of it was the silly guesses though. It's a great parlour game for your drawing room. The second part is where we talk about MATURITY. Banes has finally become a man and he shows it by dominating us all. The guy's a beast! Seriously though, there are some interesting lessons about being “mature”… it's not all about that quote “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things”.. no, this is more about how you deal with other people, not how you present yourself and what you do with your free time. Plenty of adults don't play with “childish things” but they're less mature than most toddlers. It's an interesting subject! Gunwallace's theme for Bruno Harm is an appropriate Rockford files style intro for a guy who thinks he’s Peter Gunn. Added comedy lines featuring Banes and me!