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Lobst
02-28-2011, 11:24 AM
I've been thinking a lot about webcomics recently! Not only am I (still) in the process of creating one of my own, I'm also signed up to write something about the webcomic-creation process for a college project. To kick this thread off, here are a few basic concepts that relate to the online-comics medium in particular:

RULES OF THUMB FOR WEBCOMICS
A SOMEWHAT HARSH BEGINNER'S MANUAL

1) WEBCOMICS ARE TOUGH TO MAKE

Any good webcomic is driven by writing, which has to be pored over more generously than prose if you want to communicate your concepts effectively. Unless you've worked out a ridiculous art generation scheme ("I can just make my characters stickfigures, clipart, or crude doodles and nobody will care") you're looking at having to make several finished drawings with every strip or page you put out. Unless you have an especially lax update schedule and a low per-update panel-count, this means hundreds of drawings every year. This is a big commitment, even if you draw like crazy all the time.

2) EVERYONE AND ALL THEIR IMMEDIATE AND EXTENDED RELATIVES HAS ONE

The market has been oversaturated ever since Sluggy Freelance hit it big, and it's only gotten moreso with the passage of time. Drunk Duck, Comic Genesis, and Webcomics Nation each boast thousands of entries, and this is just what can be found on free comics-focused services (let alone standalone sites and nonstandard delivery systems, such as Blogger and DeviantArt). Keep your audience in mind: why would they want to read your comic over anyone else's? Is your comic the exploits of a group of roommates throughout their daily lives? Are observations about videogames standard in their repertoire?

3) YOU WANT TO BE AN E-SUPERSTAR? GUESS WHAT: YOU'RE ALREADY A JERK

Only the most inherently marketable strips are capable of even turning a profit -- and they do so by maintaining personal integrity, or at least the appearance thereof. (Yes, even Ctrl+Alt+Del does this.) People are generally capable of sniffing out fake integrity on this level, so for your sanity and everyone else's, you're better off creating your comic with the aim of producing it as a hobby and letting the concept of getting anything tangible from it rest on the backburner until the opportunity to do so just arises by happenstance. This may not happen, Ever. But there are still plenty of other reasons to make a comic, such as:

Seeing your story and character ideas reach fruition in a public format
Getting the practice your drawing and writing skills need so you can create bigger and better things
Developing a portfolio of work that can be shown around
Developing the ability to work creatively under a rigorous schedule

So, settle down. Andrew Hussie didn't aim to be a Project Wonderful luminary when he started out, and neither should you.

4) THE INTERNET: A CYNIC'S PARADISE

No matter how flooded the Internet may be with works in various media, one thing is certain: Creating something and putting it out for public display is an inherently personal act. Even if your work takes ten hours to make and ten seconds to consume, there are thousands of people on the Internet who will relish in tearing you apart for wasting those ten seconds with your hubristic assumption that anything you're capable of creating was worth any amount of their time.

Here's a guideline: Don't take e-criticism seriously unless you think it'll help you get better at doing what you want to do. Otherwise, block it and move on. Your energy is better spent following your own dreams than attempting to satiate someone else's skewed expectations.


And that's it, for now! Not like you need me to tell you or anything, but this thread can be used to discuss anything related to the endless pursuit of your dream comic concept. Don't let my advice get you down, and keep reaching for the stars!

http://i1105.photobucket.com/albums/h352/boreyoutodeath/comicjump.png

waterpot
02-28-2011, 12:35 PM
my only rule just do it, everything else will come in time.

EDITED BECAUSE I say so...
this means hundreds of drawings every year. This is a big commitment, even if you draw like crazy all the time.
its gets easier each time , but eventually you have to make sacrifices instead of going to the movies, play the new pokemon game or watch your favorite tv show you make the comic.

keep your audience in mind: why would they want to read your comic over anyone else's? Is your comic the exploits of a group of roommates throughout their daily lives? Are observations about videogames standard in their repertoire?
agreed, you must search a niche, like shortpacked is about toys, gutters for comics, multiplex for movies etc,
then you will get that market for yourself.
but.......play your strengths if you dont like sports why in hell are you going to make a baseball comic.

So, settle down. Andrew Hussie didn't aim to be a success when he started out, and neither should you. why not???,
everything takes effort even if your webcomics sucks, if you work hard and become an excellent comic artist maybe be you could get a job as a cartoonist or something related(publicity, story boards etc) not limit yourself,

Maybe Im not the best guy to give advise but I really thing that if you have talent, luck and effort you could sucess.

Chu
02-28-2011, 08:43 PM
just do it
Yup yup yup

The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more readers you'll get.

What are you guys' opinions on going back to recreate old comics and/or restarting? I've always made it my personal policy to never, ever go back to redraw any of my comic's pages. I keep saying to myself and to people who ask that I'd rather spend the time and effort doing something new. But man, whenever I look back at art that's like, 2 or more years old I seriously wanna hurl.

Another reason I've been strict with myself about redos is because I want to stick to the story that I've established without nuking or revising the past constantly. I've seen a bunch of webcomic artists wipe out their archives, saying they want to start anew. Unless the comic is a serious mess, I see that as shooting themselves in the foot. I do think it is possible to evolve from what's been established if you're creative and flexible without alienating people and starting from square one. Every situation is different, though.

I still don't think I'll ever go back to redraw stuff unless I was explicitly paid to do it, but I'm still interested in hearing what other people have to say about it.

Lobst
02-28-2011, 10:02 PM
why not???,
everything takes effort even if your webcomics sucks, if you work hard and become an excellent comic artist maybe be you could get a job as a cartoonist or something related(publicity, story boards etc) not limit yourself,

I should edit that sentence to clarify -- I'm specifically referring to the practice of starting a comic with the aim of making crazy amounts of cash off your readers. 99% of your readers are there for one reason: the comic you're creating, not the merchandise or ad spaces you intend to sell. Logically speaking, you're better off focusing on the quality of the comic itself and letting the other stuff come later; that way if it doesn't work out you'll at least have a sweet comic that you can show around, and not a bunch of substandard filler strips meant to puff up site impressions for advertising purposes.

I absolutely agree with "just do it", though. I did exactly this a few weeks ago and it's been awesome so far~

What are you guys' opinions on going back to recreate old comics and/or restarting?

I'd only do it if you think the art is such a barrier that it prevents new readers from getting into your comic. Bear in mind, unless they've been linked directly to your first update page they'll also be approaching it with the impression that your art will get better as it progresses up to today.

In your specific case, I wouldn't worry about it. Your beginning art is better than most, and it expresses the core concepts of your storyline very well. If you're really concerned, a beginner's guide is a considerable alternative: just a few pages of text and art that runs across the story beats of your comic's first few years, and deposits new readers into a spot where you don't find your art so loathesome.

Chu
02-28-2011, 10:29 PM
I have considered putting a disclaimer right at the beginning explaining my "no redo" policy and reassuring them that things do get better eventually, but I dunno. Something doesn't quite sit well with me about that, but I can't put my finger on it. I want to say because it feels like I'm confessing I did something wrong, although I know I've always done the best I could with my abilities at the time.

A "Story So Far" part of the site wouldn't be a bad idea, though. Whenever I see synopsis of my comic on wikis or whatever, the summary is always badly written and incomplete. Not to mention they're all just copying each other.

Kishi
02-28-2011, 10:31 PM
What are you guys' opinions on going back to recreate old comics and/or restarting? I've always made it my personal policy to never, ever go back to redraw any of my comic's pages. I keep saying to myself and to people who ask that I'd rather spend the time and effort doing something new. But man, whenever I look back at art that's like, 2 or more years old I seriously wanna hurl.

I really like your early comics the way they are.

Guy
02-28-2011, 10:43 PM
I've actually been developing a comic that I may or may not be publishing on the web someday. I have the characters more or less finalized and a rough outline of the first chapter (book? issue?), and I want to start drawing some pages during spring break, if only to add to my portfolio. I'll talk more about it soon, when I can show some visual aid.

Chu
03-01-2011, 01:18 AM
I look forward to seeing it, Guy! Incidentally, that reminds me of something I should have done with my own comic. Everyone, if you're thinking of doing a story-based comic, it's a good idea to arrange things into chapters. It's easier for you and the readers that way. If I ever do any other story-heavy comic projects, that's that I'm gonna do.

Merus
03-01-2011, 02:32 AM
A "Story So Far" part of the site wouldn't be a bad idea, though. Whenever I see synopsis of my comic on wikis or whatever, the summary is always badly written and incomplete. Not to mention they're all just copying each other.

A Story So Far, coupled with a starting point around the middle, is something I've always wanted to see out of a webcomic. Although, I've also always wanted to see a webcomic structured in a way that they can do a Story So Far and have it be concise and accurate.

Chu
03-04-2011, 05:53 PM
Suggested Reading: Making Comics by Scott McCloud (http://www.scottmccloud.com/2-print/3-mc/index.html)

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to make a comic, or just really likes them. Read it at your local library, or better yet, invest in a copy and keep it around as a guide and inspiration.

waterpot
03-04-2011, 10:28 PM
Suggested Reading: Making Comics by Scott McCloud (http://www.scottmccloud.com/2-print/3-mc/index.html)

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to make a comic, or just really likes them. Read it at your local library, or better yet, invest in a copy and keep it around as a guide and inspiration.

Agreed I bought it around 2007 summer and read everyday for a year,
best book about making comics ever,

Lobst
04-18-2011, 05:36 PM
I did some research on paywalls for a school project, and here's a critical webcomic protip I've discovered in the process:

A $30 webcomics.com subscription would be better put toward copies of Making Comics and How To Make Webcomics. Failing that, get pieces of media that you suspect will inspire you to make your content better.

...okay, basically what I'm saying is unless you want extremely common-sensical advice by people who until recently considered newspaper syndication the unattainable ideal, or critiques by people who think paying a $30 subscription will propel their burgeoning webcomic business to financial solvency, your money is better spent on a subscription to Slipshine instead. (it'll help you with sexy human proportions, at least -- a critical tool for making banner ads, or so I've been told.)

MCBanjoMike
04-18-2011, 08:39 PM
What are you guys' opinions on going back to recreate old comics and/or restarting?

Don't do it. First off, I've never seen a webcomic artist actually do this without getting bored after 10 strips and stopping. That means that you have 10 modern-looking strips at the top of your archive, at which point there's a huge, jarring transition back to your old style where you stop redrawing them. And if you actually do go through with it and redraw a year or two's worth of strips? Well, that's time that would be better spent making new content for your site, which will keep your current readership happy and draw new folks in to boot. Finally, there's the fact that 99.9999% of all webcomic index pages show the most recent comic (or link to it). So anyone who shows up at your website is going to see the good stuff first, they'll only go back to the "uglier" comics if they care enough to dive into the archives. And anyone who reads webcomics knows that it's very common for art styles to evolve over time, so they'll understand.

Even if you were dead set on doing it, even if you were willing to put in dozens and dozens of hours retreading old ground, it would still be very difficult to pull it off, mostly because most artists change their styles gradually. Where should you stop redrawing? I'd love to see a remastered version of Gunnerkrigg Court where Antimony's cheekbones aren't threatening to break out of her head during the first strips, but at what point could the author look at a strip and say "OK, that one's close enough, this is where I stop"? No matter when you choose to quit, it's going to feel artificial. Let your old work stand on its own merits, and let it be a testament to your progress as an artist. It just goes to show how far you've come!

gahitsu
04-18-2011, 08:57 PM
You know, I was formulating in my head exactly what McBanjo said, except he said it better than I would have, really.

So uh ... I second the opinion.

Also, I'm looking into hosting options. This seems like a good deal, but is it overkill? I mean, I want to be hopeful, I'm just not sure if I'll need 750 gigs of storage space and 7 terabytes of transfer traffic a month, you know?

http://www.servage.net/

tl;dr I know nothing about web hosting and I feel overwhelmed.

Googleshng
04-18-2011, 09:06 PM
I am 100% always against redoing old comics. Honestly, one of the first things I personally do when evaluating a new webcomic thrown in my face is compare the first and last strip. If I don't see any obvious improvement, I'm pretty much out right there. It means either they're constantly revising, suggesting they have no confidence in what they're doing (and probably don't have a lot of forward momentum, or appreciation for their own stuff), or they aren't willing to take any risks/make efforts to improve artistically.

The other thing I wish more people starting up webcomics would keep in mind: If I'm going to read your webcomic, I'm going to read the whole thing.

If it's a bunch of disjoint pages scattered around your deviantart site in disorganized fashion, I can't do that.

If you have no archives (or really really broken ones), I can't do that.

And (and this is the point basically NOBODY ever thinks of), unless you have some kind of gag a day deal with no continuity, I'm probably going to want to start at the beginning if I'm new to the comic, so why the heck does your url not take me there?

Homestuck is seriously like, the only thing I've ever seen that comprehends this. I get that not everyone wants to set up that kind of cookie bookmark deal, but seriously, it's just as easy on your end to make a "latest" page with the most recent comic as an "index" and it's just as easy for me to bookmark it if I'm a regular. You should really do at least that much, and reserve your actual index as the starting point for new people. Heck, even if you do a zero continuity gag a day format, you want people coming in on a really good strip, not partway through the terrible guest week, or on the crappy filler sketch you're tossing up because you happened to be burnt out the day I happened upon your comic.

Having properly fleshed out real archives (instead of just a list of dates), character lists, your update schedule, and a legitimate practical summary of the whole thing in clear view also make it much easier to draw in new audiences.

Kirin
04-19-2011, 01:42 PM
Yeah, I'm constantly amazed at the number of webcomics that don't have even a rudimentary cast page or about/plot summary page. I don't necessarily expect them to be perfectly up to date (since that could obviously be very time consuming), but something to bring potential new readers up to speed is a must.

Plus I always thought throwing that sort of page together would be a good procrastination device anyway, but then, I've never actually tried to run a webcomic, so maybe I'm full of it. (I did actually run a stupidly detailed cast appeanaces page for someone else's webcomic for a while, because I was dumb and evidently had too much free time. (http://kirin.nalimara.net/advstat/))

waterpot
04-19-2011, 03:02 PM
I did actually run a stupidly detailed cast appeanaces page for someone else's webcomic for a while, because I was dumb and evidently had too much free time
most webcomickers just link to his wikipedia page.

Sheana
04-19-2011, 04:00 PM
There's even a few comics that used to have character pages and decent archives and the like, but they've gone to hell. It really is important to have that sort of thing handy! Or at least your own personal comic wiki for the obsessive fans to update for you.

I'll second gahitsu's request. I'm looking into gradually moving my stuff off of GoDaddy, so any suggestions on good but affordable domain and hosting stuff would be great. Though that Servage link there looks pretty good!

Sheana
04-19-2011, 06:52 PM
Wellp, that's a definite no (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=982941&highlight=servage). I asked a knowledgable friend and they were very NO NO NO about servage and linked me this.

Then they linked me these to check out:

Geek Storage (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1020274)
Hawk Host (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=972982)
Namecheap (http://www.namecheap.com/)
Host Peek (http://hostpeek.com/)
Coupons Nexus (http://couponsnexus.com/)

So, a wealth of info to check out!

gahitsu
04-19-2011, 08:37 PM
Thanks, Sheana, I really appreciate it.

It's hard sometimes, because googling "such-and-such reviews" almost only comes up with bad reviews - people don't really talk when they're happy, or just satisfied, but they'll bitch up a storm when they're unhappy - but I'm not seeing anyone defend servage, like at all.

I'll take a look at the other sites, though. May I ask why you want to move away from GoDaddy, though?

Sheana
04-19-2011, 11:39 PM
Couple reasons. They can take back your domain name and stuff if they think you've done something wrong because as long as you're with them you don't really own it (among other brow-furrowing things I've only just recently noticed in their legalese), I'm looking for something a little cheaper, and I'm getting super-tired of the chauvinistic tits-and-ass sexy babes advertising everywhere.

I mean, I've had a pretty good run with them so far admittedly with minimal issues, but cost, a few worrying rules and sexist crap are pushing me to take my move elsewhere.

Kirin
04-20-2011, 10:05 AM
If you're just looking at general hosting and don't need any specific webcomic backend stuff pre-installed, I've had an account with DreamHost for ages that I'm pretty happy with. They've had occasional downtime, but they're run by friendly and knowledgable geeks. (They'll also give you a lot of low-level access, so they're good for webheads, but if you're not you can just install some software packages and be good to go.)

Sheana
04-20-2011, 07:20 PM
I've had a couple people say not to go with Dreamhost as well, so thanks but I'll probably keep lookin'! I'm mainly looking at the linked ones up there at the moment.

gahitsu
04-20-2011, 09:23 PM
Web hosting - confusing and totally frustrating.

gahitsu
04-20-2011, 09:39 PM
On that note: http://www.fatcow.com ???

Powered by 100% Wind Energy

Sqweeeeee

[edit] HostGator is also wind-powered, but I think it has lesser reviews than FatCow, from what I'm seeing. It does have a 45 day money back guarantee, though, I dunno.

Excitemike
04-21-2011, 01:17 PM
I've had a couple people say not to go with Dreamhost as well, so thanks but I'll probably keep lookin'! I'm mainly looking at the linked ones up there at the moment.

For what it's worth, I'm using DreamHost as well. It's also what this board is hosted on.

Chu
04-21-2011, 07:18 PM
Last year I moved from a host that was working on stone-aged technology to DreamHost. DreamHost has been good to me so far!

Thanks to the comments here I've been convinced that I don't need to go back to try and "fix" my archives. If I redo pages from now on, it won't be a long, ongoing process at least.

I also tried to write a "Story So Far" page for my comic and found I couldn't do it. Well, I could, but it was extremely boring and dry and I wasn't sure who I was writing it for. I tried summarizing the first 100 pages and I feel it came out way too long, even if I tried snipping out details that weren't important. Personally, I don't think my comic is the kind where you can read a summary and skip everything except the latest 100 pages. The comic still references things that I wrote about 7 years ago. Those old pages may look and read terrible, but they're still full of relevant information.

I guess I was having trouble also because I never bother reading "New Reader" guides, so I wasn't sure how to do it. I want to read everything on my own. I suppose I could also think of writing it for fans who want to refresh their memories? But there are downloadable archives, the search function, and TV Tropes for that. what do

I DID add a tiny, tiny blurb about what the comic IS on the front page because of what people said here, though. Later today I'm going to have to add an extremely brief plot summary to the top of my comic's information page as well, just to give people an idea of what it's about. I think that's a good idea.

Merus
04-22-2011, 02:48 AM
Remember that your audience for the Story So Far pages are people who want to comprehend the most recent strips. If they want the backstory, they'll go back and read all the old stuff.

Sheana
04-22-2011, 04:08 PM
Here's another technical, hosting-related question for something I've always wondered but never really seen an answer to: how much bandwith should I have available for my account?

Like, space and stuff, I can gauge that just fine, but how much bandwith do I need for a comic site with lots of images on it that might some day have a fair few readers checking it out? It doesn't have to be at the level of the bigname dudes, but preferably not something that makes my site crash all the time.

waterpot
04-22-2011, 06:54 PM
I use Maia host I pay like 80 us each year I dont want to share numbers but its enough to be linked by big guys and not to crash

Lobst
04-22-2011, 08:30 PM
What does everybody think about comments threads and messageboards for webcomics?

I'm considering adding one or the other way down the line, but I'm worried that I'd be cultivating yet another community of bickering e-pedants -- either that or a ghost town, the way it was the last time I tried this whole webcomic thing. Also, the comments threads I've read on most webcomics have been mostly terrible. Am I missing something, or are my impressions correct?

Chu
04-22-2011, 10:38 PM
To be fair, comments on 99% of anything on the internet are terrible.

I don't have comments on my pages, but I do have a forum and I also upload my comics to deviantArt, so I get comments that way. I prefer that method because I like having a sense of community. It can take quite a while for a community to grow from a comic, though. And my comic's community has had quite, uh, a history. But even then, the forum goes through dead periods where hardly anyone says anything. Are you going to make a new thread every time you post a new thread/strip? If nothing else, I think that's what keeps people coming back.

That and encouraging people to 'shop comic panel parodies:
http://sdamned.com/444soundsgay.png

If you're interested in the community aspect of it, I didn't really start getting to know anyone until we got a chatroom. Now I'm good friends with a bunch of people, even if we don't post on the comic's forum that often. Some of them have seeped onto Talking Time!

waterpot
05-19-2011, 03:32 PM
reviving this theme bcz
quote from fleen
draw something cool and put it on the internet
It’s been making the twitterrounds and honestly, I can’t remember who to credit for first pointing it out, so we’ll just say it’s via Kate Beaton because Kate rules. From Phil McAndrew (who has the best blog name in history — Marvelous Mustache¹ Factory), a treatise on Super Obvious Secrets That I Wish They’d Teach In Art School. How super obvious? Enough so that Mr Non-Artist here understands them all.
Super Obvious Secrets That I Wish They’d Teach In Art School
http://alexds1.tumblr.com/post/5178805833/careandhandlingsheet
some excerpts
CHALLENGE YOURSELF
You don’t grow by staying within your comfort zone. You’ll be a stinky stagnant little pool of moldy potential with little insects buzzing around and having desperate sexy times and laying eggs all over the damn place.² Force yourself to draw something that you know will be difficult.

BE NICE TO PEOPLE
Say “thanks” a lot. And mean it! Be thankful that someone is paying you to sit at home and draw pictures! If no one is paying you then be thankful that we weren’t born without arms.

GOALS AND DEADLINES ARE IMPORTANT
Stop talking about it and do it. Don’t wait until you have more free time or more drawing skills. As you get get older you will find yourself with less and less free time. And the only way to improve your skills is to draw a lot.

DON’T LIMIT YOUR INFLUENCES
You won’t find success if your only sources of inspiration are other comics that are already popular. A thousand other people are already trying to make something just like that one comic you love and chances are most of them aren’t going to find much success either.

DON’T TRASH TALK YOURSELF
If you want people to respect your work, take you seriously, or pay you to draw things then do not trash talk your own work. If you want people to get excited about your work (and to hire you to draw things³) then you need to show them that YOU are excited about your work.

DRAW AWESOME STUFF AND PUT IT ON THE INTERNET
I’ve tried many different methods of self promotion. The most effective thing I’ve done has actually been the simplest: Draw awesome stuff and put it on the internet. Do this for a while and good things will happen.
with this and new comics like cucumber quest I really want to start from zero this year with a new comic

Chu
05-19-2011, 04:36 PM
It looks like you accidentally used the wrong link (although I like the stuff written there, too). Here's the article you wanted:

http://philintheblanks.com/blog/?p=546

DemoWeasel
05-19-2011, 04:39 PM
B-but they do teach a lot of that stuff at art school!

Chu
05-19-2011, 07:24 PM
with this and new comics like cucumber quest I really want to start from zero this year with a new comic
Do you mean to end your current comic and start a new one, or are you going to continute your current comic and do a new one simultaneously?

B-but they do teach a lot of that stuff at art school!
Then I'll consider it helpful advice for those of us who didn't go to art school but have an interest in drawing anyway. :w

waterpot
05-19-2011, 07:51 PM
thanks chu, by mistake put the wrong link
Do you mean to end your current comic and start a new one, or are you going to continute your current comic and do a new one simultaneously? yes, to be exact meanwhile I do a proper ending at the same time start the new comic but nothing is set to stone yet

DemoWeasel
07-28-2011, 02:03 PM
Hey folks, if you're in the area and interested in learning a lot of good stuff in the field of visual storytelling, one of my professors is holding a crash course on the subject from Aug. 4-6 for $180. He's really damn good, so consider that a recommendation from me!

http://i.imgur.com/AQOwI.png

Zodar
07-28-2011, 02:09 PM
that's a ten-minute walk away from my house, so i'd have to be a degenerate loser not to see it

e: oh god i just remembered that my wallet is already a few hundred dollars lighter than it should be, i think i spoke too soon :{

Oscar
08-30-2011, 06:39 AM
I'm currently in the midst of planning and creating a comic, after numerous false-starts! I have a new tumblr thing (http://misterorthorpe.tumblr.com/) for in-progress sketches and other random things. It is called Mister Orthorpe and Friends, and it will be about a ghost (Mr Orthorpe) who recruits a team of young adventurers to join him on a perilous quest. He lives on the back of a large fish. If anyone is interested, please take a look!