Making The Art In Your Webcomic Look More Detailed Than It Actually Is – A Ramble

2016 Artwork Sneaky webcomic tricks article sketch

I know that I’ve probably talked about this subject at least a couple of times before, but since I was busy making a webcomic mini series (which is a follow on from this one) at the time of writing, I thought that I’d briefly talk about it again .

Although you should obviously try to make the art in your webcomic as good as possible, if you’re making a webcomic update every day, then you’re probably not going to have the time to produce elaborate artwork for most or all of your comic updates.

As such, you need to focus on simplicity as much as possible – I mean, there’s a good reason why daily newspaper comics either don’t have backgrounds, or they have very undetailed backgrounds.

If you’re making a comic every day, then the focus needs to be on the writing more than on the art.

If the writing is good, then people are a lot more likely to ignore simplistic artwork. To use an example that I’ve used countless times before, just check out a very popular webcomic called XKCD. The artwork in this comic mostly consists of relatively simple stick figures and yet, thanks to great writing, it still has a very large readership.

Of course, the real trick with making a webcomic is to make the artwork look more detailed than it actually is. There are lots of sneaky tricks (mostly involving the backgrounds) that you can use for this and I’ll give you an example from one of the more art- intensive comics from my mini-series.

"Damania Resurgence - Like A TV Show" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resurgence – Like A TV Show” By C. A. Brown

If you look at the left-hand side of this comic, you’ll see that one of the panels is in greyscale (since whenever Harvey is alone, he sees the world in greyscale – like an old movie) and you’ll also see that one panel has no background whatsoever. Because the emphasis is on the characters and the writing in this panel, I could get away with not making any background art.

For another example, just look at this comic:

"Damania Resurgence - Film Night" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resurgence – Film Night” By C. A. Brown

As you can see, the backgrounds in the six panels of this comic are incredibly simple. Three of them are nothing but a solid red wall, two of them contain limited details and one if them is just a dark background with a simple silhouette.

If you’re making a webcomic in colour, then filling your backgrounds with a solid colour is a remarkably simple way to make your comic look very slightly more detailed than it actually is. If you’re making a webcomic in black and white, then adding the occasional solid black background can also have this effect.

In fact, I actually did this for most of the background in the second panel of this comic:

"Damania Resurgence - Raven" By C. A. Brown (And Edgar Allen Poe)

“Damania Resurgence – Raven” By C. A. Brown (And Edgar Allen Poe)

These are just a few of the many sneaky tricks that you can use to speed up making the art in your webcomic, whilst also making it look more detailed than it actually is. But, the important thing to remember here is that good writing (or even just ok writing) distracts from low-quality art.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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