Gimmicks. You either love them or you despise them. But, like a groan-inducing pun or a badly-translated fortune cookie message, you can’t deny that they have a certain “so bad that it’s good” charm to them. And, well, gimmicks can be incredibly fun to use if you’re an artist.
As regular readers of this site probably know, I’m working on a new art series at the moment. It’s a bit like my B&W sci-fi drawing series from last December but with one crucial difference. See if you can spot it.
Here’s one of my sci-fi pictures from December:
And here’s one of my more recent sci-fi pictures:
I think that you can probably guess what was suspiciously missing from December’s pictures. But, if you didn’t, then don’t worry – it’s the first gimmick on my list of cool gimmicks that you can use to spice up your comic, webcomic and/or art series.
I should probably point out that the gimmicks on this list are fairly basic and mostly quite well-known ones. So, this list is meant more to spark your imagination than to really give you any new ideas.
1) The Un-Dead!!!: They’re slow, they groan a lot and they have terrible table manners, but don’t overlook the humble zombie when it comes to thinking of a gimmick to add to your artwork. It’s a little-known fact, but literally anything can be improved by adding zombies to it for at least a couple of reasons.
Firstly, zombies can be either funny or scary. If you want to make your audience laugh, then you can make your zombies relatively bloodless and laughably melodramatic. But, if you want your zombies to be creepier, then make them as ferocious and/or decomposed as possible. Zombies are one of the most versatile types of monsters out there.
Secondly, the presence of zombies adds instant drama and intrigue to otherwise “ordinary” locations or settings and it can make even highly imaginative settings even more intriguing.
At the very least, it will make your audience think something like: “how the hell did zombies end up in medieval France/ in the future/ on the bridge of the USS Enterprise etc…?”.
2) In Glorious Colour!: if you normally make your webcomic in black and white, then a good idea for a gimmick is to produce one entry for it that’s in colour. Likewise, if you normally work in colour – then try working in black and white for a while.
But, since proper black and white art is, ironically, more difficult to create than colour artwork is – a good way to do this quickly, if you’re posting your art on the internet, is to just make something in colour and then to use an image editing program to convert it to a greyscale image ( a good editing program to start with, if you don’t have one, is a free open source program called “GIMP” ).
3) In 3D!!! : As long as you’ve got a copy of MS Paint (or a similar program) and are willing to put some time and effort into your work, then you can convert literally any still image into a stereoscopic 3D image.
This is the kind of gimmick that only really works once, since it’s a lot cooler when it’s unexpected and because you’ll probably have to explain to your audience how to view stereoscopic images. But, nonetheless, it’s certainly worth trying.
4) Alternate endings!: If you’re making a comic or a webcomic, then one gimmick that is worth trying is to publish an alternate ending to your comic online.
It doesn’t have to be very long (in fact, it can just be a single page) and it’s obviously up to you whether you take it seriously or not, but creating an alternate ending can be a great way of making your fans more interested in your comic for the simple reason that it gives them a glimpse into “what could have been”.
5) Silly Costumes!: This one is fairly self-explanatory, but producing an alternate version of your webcomic entry and/or painting where everyone is wearing silly hats, themed costumes or anything like that can be a fairly good idea for a fun gimmick.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂