The webcomics blog about webcomics

Makin’ Comics

For all those of you wanting to know how to make a webcomic, there’s a discussion on this very topic going on now; two of them, in fact. Sparked by the very sexy R Stevens at Diesel Sweeties yesterday, the dialogue has now been crossposted to his LiveJournal and discussion board. From Stevens, the rules are (quoting here):

  1. Set a schedule. Give yourself a month to figure out your characters in your head, then start to PRODUCE on a set schedule. It will build your muscles. If you don’t like the first comics you make, throw them away and keep going.
  2. Know your characters. There’s nothing worse than a strip that starts out as “Hey! We are characters! Are we in a comic strip? Where is my script? Wow it is the last panel. LOL! GOTTA GO!”

I like these two rules because they make no judgements on content, art style or quality.

Good points all around, especially since they echo something Frank said once about the nature of artistic creation; going from memory here:

You want to be an artist? Okay, first announce your intention to create something. It doesn’t matter what. It helps if you put a frame around it, so people know where the art ends and the real world begins, and then fill that frame with your art. It helps if you finish it at some point (or just declare it a work in progress). Congratulations, you are now a bona-fide artist.

I’m pretty sure I mangled that quote pretty badly, but you get the idea. Other cartoonists (by my calculation, the discussion group creates thousands of webcomics panels per month) have added such helpful hints as Mind the fourth wall, Don’t introduce yourself (the creator) as a godlike figure in the comic, and No sprite comics. Naturally, people have come up with counter-examples for just about every rule, but it’s been a pair of remarkably informative discussions, and given the sometimes prickly nature of creative types, entirely collegial and respectful times two. There have even been respectful digressions on do we need another webcomics that isn’t very good?, with the consensus being love of creation is reason enough (but don’t expect the world to read it).

In other news, the NewsCorp/Rowland Death Watch continues apace, with others chiming in on the Myspace TOS. Could Jeff Rowland have sparked another revolution on the internet? He does seem to average one about every six or seven months. There ought to be a Nobel Prize for things like that.

I think those are very good rules. I don’t like rules specific to art and story because there are always exceptions. Let webcomic creators be webcomic creators. If they can’t hack it in some way, they’ll know it themselves pretty quick.

Sommer, you’d be surprised how many people just don’t know when to just give up.

I’m looking at you, Straub.

Myspace have changed their TOS, they removed the part about having a permanent license to backup files!

I have been saying all those things for years. The thing about those gimmicks is that they are only gimmicks, and usually are deployed to excuse the cartoonist from doing difficult writing and making a cohesive world for the characters to live in. If you can always back the strip out to “hey, it’s a comic! *camera look*” then it’s going to be bad.

The SCHEDULE rule!



Hey, my comment got linked! I’m relevant!

Not true!

Internet fame is relative. Like, ugly annoying in-law relatives.

Why no sprite comics? I mean, I don’t personally read any sprite comics, and never have, but if the writing is good it doesn’t matter how the art is made. You might as well say “No clip art comics”, because there are plenty of horrible ones. But what about David Rees? Or Greg Peters? It’s silly to discredit an entire style of comic making, at least without explaining why.

And breakage of the fourth wall is over-used and abused, sure, but it can still be done with great effect. See Order of the Stick and Scribs.

Odd coincidence, but I wrote in my latest entry last night, “My Advice for the Entrepreneurly Minded Cartoonist” – it’s under the comic at :

[…] Uncategorized The first rule of creating a webcomic, Gary reported, is to create a schedule and stick to it. In the original posting, this spawned much discussion and additional rules – but let’s consider this first rule. […]

I was wondering about this, thanks for the information.

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