Anonymous asked: HI! I just started reading your webcomic and actually read all thats posted in a day. i think its so great and i cant wait for the rest. can you tell me about how you got started? all the planning and stuff? im really interested and am thinking about maybe trying to make one myself (although im positive it would fall way short of yours- it might be fun) but yeah. i really love it.
Hello! I’m so glad you like the comic enough to read it all in one day, thanks so much for your kind words!
Let me tell you, I had little to no idea what I was doing when I started. I’d never drawn a comic that was more than 6 pages, and I…well, I still don’t know any HTML or other programming languages. I also did very little planning, because at the time my strategy for both art and writing was to just go with the flow, discovering what I was doing as I went.
I still do this for regular art and writing, but I’ve discovered I need better planning for the webcomic. When I started, I simply drew the thumbnail sketches for each page (a little sketch setting up what shapes the panels would be and where the figures and speech bubbles were, very quick) in a notebook before drawing the actual pages. I did them bunches at a time whenever I felt the need. All I had planned story-wise was a few large events, and everything else just kind of came out.
These days I write a story outline and then scripts (dialogue, descriptions of what each panel will have in it) on the computer before doing thumbnails. It’s up to you to experiment and figure out what works best for you as a planning process!
I didn’t really work ahead, either, I just made 2 pages a week and posted them (well, until I had to take a long break for school) at the last minute. I made a site on ComicFury which is a free comics-hosting website—it’s still there! I picked ComicFury because out of all the free comic sites, it was the only one that let you use your own domain name for free (I still pay for my domain name itself). I picked a design template and messed with the CSS until it looked right, just kind of guessing and copy-pasting from styles I liked. I haven’t had any huge issues with CF in the 3 years I’ve been using it.
Doing your first long comic or webcomic is a learning experience, and you can read all the books and ask all the questions, but in my experience, most things you will only really learn through making comics!
Here is my advice: start making your comic! Plan as much or as little as you like, but don’t let the planning keep you back! I know too many people who never break out of the planning stage because they don’t want to draw the comic until it’s nearly perfect. They think they or their outlines/world/etc isn’t “good enough” yet.
THIS IS A TRAP. DO NOT FALL INTO IT. You will never be “good enough” for yourself in this way. The only way you will improve and reach your goals is to just MAKE THE ART. Remember to view your work with your experience level in mind and not to compare it constantly to other artists! Criticism and improvement are important, but if you constantly hate what you’re producing with a passion simply because it’s not “good”…why do it?
Anyway, make a bunch of pages to start out. Maybe 15-20 or so, depending on how often you want to post and how long it takes you to make a page. One of the reasons IgZ doesn’t update, say, 3x a week is one page takes me 6-8 hours to complete. But if it only takes you 2 hours, go for more!
Then, google free comics sites and pick the one you think will work best for you. If you don’t know anything about coding/html/whatever, pick a nice template and customize it as much as you’re able to. Maybe ask a more knowledgeable friend to help!
Start posting! Keep to a regular schedule, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or get behind. You’re just starting out. Keep in mind, though, that keeping a regular schedule is one of THE most important ways you will keep an audience. I have stopped reading comics that posted all over the place, but I’ve been reading Questionable Content for like…6 years largely because it rarely fails to update reliably.
That said, pay attention to your own limitations. For example, I am currently again capable of making 2 pages per week most of the time. However, it’s still not a stable rate and I’m still busy elsewhere, so I only post 1 page per week that DEFINITELY goes up, rather than promising 2 pages and then not having it half the time!
Lastly, have fun with it, obviously :). Make art and comics because you enjoy doing it and remember that whenever you feel down or frustrated (because you will). Take breaks. Read other comics. Pay attention to what they’re doing and do it yourself!
Good luck with your project! If you do end up making something and getting it up online, drop me a link :)