Today’s Art (28th February 2017)

First of all, if you want to see a step-by-step “making of” article about this comic, then it can be read here 🙂

This is the second comic in “Damania Repressed” and, although I’m hoping that this mini series will be fairly self-contained – it follows on from the events of this mini series (which, in turn, follows on from this one). Links to more mini series can also be found on this page.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Repressed - Goth" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Repressed – Goth” By C. A. Brown

Top Ten Articles – February 2017

2017 Artwork Top Ten Articles February

Well, it’s the end of the month, so that means that it’s time for my usual list of links to what I consider to be the ten best articles about making webcomics, making art and/or writing that I’ve posted here over the past month (and possibly a couple of honourable mentions too).

Unfortunately, due to being busy with a couple of upcoming webcomic mini series and due to the hot weather at the time of writing some of this month’s articles (I write them quite a few months in advance), the best articles posted here this month mostly seem to come from the beginning of the month. Still, here’s hoping that March’s articles will be better.

Anyway, here are the lists:

Top Ten Articles – February 2017:

– “Four Awesome Ways To Fail Properly At A Creative Project
– “Three Inspiring Things To Remember When You’re Having A Totally Uninspired Day
– “Four Very Basic Tips For Making Heavy Metal Art
– “Four Reasons Why Tenebrism Is One Of The Coolest Types Of Art ( Both To Make And To Look At)
– “Three Ways To Use The Backgrounds Of Your Webcomic To Stay Motivated
– “Three Tips For Fine Tuning A Comic Idea
– “Three Possible Reasons For Emotional Tone Shifts In Comics (Plus, A Comic Preview)
– “The Five Stages of Making A Webcomic Update (Plus, A Comic Preview)
– “Four Reasons Why The Noir Genre Is So Interesting For Artists
– “Three Tips For Dealing With Moments Of Low Enthusiasm When Making Webcomics

Honourable mentions:

– “Three Very Basic Tips For Compact Storytelling In Comics
– “Three Reasons Why Webcomics, TV shows etc.. Can Go From Self-Contained “Episodes” To Longer Stories

Today’s Art (27th February 2017)

Well, so much for “taking a break from comics for a couple of days”! Due to feeling especially inspired, I decided to start my next webcomic mini series (called “Damania Repressed”) early 🙂

This is the first comic in “Damania Repressed” and, although I’m hoping that this mini series will be fairly self-contained – it follows on from the events of this mini series (which, in turn, follows on from this one). Links to more mini series can also be found on this page.

But, yeah, Harvey tends to have something of a habit of not really thinking of highly-advanced technology as being “unusual” (however much he might dislike modern technology).

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Repressed - Revelation" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Repressed – Revelation” By C. A. Brown

Three Quick Tips For Including Obscure In-Jokes And References In Your Webcomic (With A Comic Preview)

2017 Artwork Obscure In jokes

If you’re making a webcomic, it can be very tempting to include all sorts of obscure/nerdy references and in-jokes in your comic. After all, it’s a really fun thing to do. However, if you aren’t careful, you can end up confusing and bewildering a large portion of your audience.

So, how can you avoid this? Here are three quick tips:

1) Mention it: This won’t work in every context, but sometimes a good way to avoid confusing people with an obscure reference is to mention what the reference is.

This works best during dialogue, where another character can comment about the reference. Like in this scene from yet another upcoming webcomic mini series of mine that I was busy making at the time of writing:

The full comic update will appear here on the 7th April

The full comic update will appear here on the 7th April

The dialogue is a parody of “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg (or the one part of it that I can remember at least). But, since many people haven’t heard of “Howl”, I thought that I’d briefly mention Allen Ginsberg in the dialogue (in case anyone wanted to look him up on Wikipedia or whatever).

You can also do something similar to this in your dialogue by having your characters say something like “This is just like that one time in ‘Star Trek’ when…” or something like that before making a reference and/or in-joke.

Obviously, it isn’t practical to do this kind of thing for all of your in-jokes and references, but try to do it for at least a few of them.

2) Independence: Ideally, if you’re making an obscure in-joke or a reference, then try to make sure that the humour doesn’t rely entirely on the audience understanding the reference.

In other words, either surround the in-joke with lots of “ordinary” jokes or tell the joke in such a way that the audience can still find it funny from the context (regardless of whether they’ve read or seen the thing you’re referencing).

For example, the scene immediately before the comic panel I included earlier shows Roz (the beatnik character) offering Harvey (the detective) a joint. If you’ve read “Howl”, then the dialogue in the example is a funny parody of the poem.

If you haven’t read “Howl” – it’s also an amusingly cynical, if strangely-phrased, description of how people sometimes act when they’re stoned.

So, try to include at least a few “dual-purpose” references in your comic, which are funny regardless of whether your audience gets the reference or not.

3) Background details: This one is fairly obvious but, in comics, the best place for super-obscure references and in-jokes is often in the background details.

Since precise background details aren’t often essential to the plot, the references will probably be ignored by people who don’t get them – but noticed by people who do. So, you can add a lot of obscure humour for people with the same interests as you, but without ruining the experience for people who haven’t read the same books, played the same games etc… as you have.

———–

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (26th February 2017)

Well, after finishing this webcomic mini series, I felt like making something fairly “quick” for today. Plus, since the next mini series will probably be set in Victorian times, I thought that I’d practice making gothic Victorian-style art (I probably need more practice at drawing paraffin lamps though, since the lamp in the painting looks more like a bong than a lantern LOL!).

As usual, this digitally-edited painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"By Paraffin Light" By C. A. Brown

“By Paraffin Light” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Work In Progess” Line Art For My “Damania Renaissance” Webcomic Mini Series :)

2017 Artwork Damania Renaissance lineart article sketch

Well, as usual, I thought that I’d show you all of the ‘work in progress’ line art from my recently-finished “Damania Renaissance” webcomic mini series 🙂

If I remember rightly, there weren’t that many major dialogue changes between the line art and the finished comics – the most major change was probably to the dialogue in the fourth comic (since the condemned man was originally going to be the castle’s dungeonkeeper, until I realised that it would be funnier if he was the executioner instead).

You can see a larger version of each picture in this post by clicking on it.

"Damania Renaissance - Sorcery (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Sorcery (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - 'King Derek (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – ‘King Derek (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Foul (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Foul (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - First Day (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – First Day (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Merry (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Merry (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Festival (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Festival (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Lost Vikings (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Lost Vikings (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Out Of The Frying Pan (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Out Of The Frying Pan (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Damania Renaissance” – All Eight Episodes Of The New Webcomic Mini Series By C. A. Brown

2017 Artwork The Complete Damania Renaissance

Well, in case you missed any of it, here are all eight “episodes” of “Damania Renaissance” a webcomic mini series that sort of tells a story (or, more accurately, a self-contained chapter of a larger story).

Although this mini series can be read on it’s own, it also follows on from the events of “Damania Retrofuturistic“. If you want to see some completely self-contained webcomics, then check out the ‘2016’ section of this page.

All in all, this was a rather strange mini series. Not only did it end up having something of a continuous story (which is something I’d previously tried to avoid in my four-panel webcomics), but I also made the whole thing in just two days.

This can probably be seen in the comic, with the first four episodes having a slightly different style of humour to the last four. Likewise, the seventh and eighth episodes are slightly on the weak side, due to the fact that I was feeling a bit exhausted by then.

If you’d told me a couple of months beforehand that I’d be making a medieval fantasy comic mini series with a continuous narrative within two days, I’d have probably laughed at you. Making this mini series was certainly a strange experience.

As usual, the eight comic updates in this post are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence. Likewise, you can click on each comic update to see a larger version of it.

"Damania Renaissance - Sorcery" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Sorcery” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - 'King Derek" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – ‘King Derek” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Foul" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Foul” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - First Day" By C.A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – First Day” By C.A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Merry" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Merry” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Festival" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Festival” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Lost Vikings" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Lost Vikings” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Out Of The Frying Pan..." By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Out Of The Frying Pan…” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (25th February 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the eighth (and final) comic in “Damania Renaissance”, a webcomic mini series that follows on from “Damania Retrofuturistic“. As usual, I’ll post a full retrospective of this comic here later tonight. So, don’t worry if you missed out on any of the earlier updates.

If you want to see more webcomic mini series (and other comics), links to them can be found on this page.

Well, I’ll probably go back to making daily paintings for a while, but the next time-travel based series will be set in Victorian England 🙂

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Renaissance - Out Of The Frying Pan..." By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Renaissance – Out Of The Frying Pan…” By C. A. Brown

Three Reasons Why Webcomics, TV shows etc.. Can Go From Self-Contained “Episodes” To Longer Stories

2017 Artwork Self-contained episodes to longer stories article

It used to be one of my pet peeves about TV shows, until it started happening in my own webcomics. I am, of course, talking about how something that starts out as lots of self-contained “episodes” gradually turns into something that tells longer multi-part stories.

This is one of those things that is perhaps more noticeable in TV shows than it is in webcomics, but I thought that I’d use some of my own experiences with making webcomics to show how something can go from being “lots of tiny self-contained comic updates” to “slightly longer stories in lots of smaller parts“.

So, here are three of the many reasons why it can happen:

1) It’s easier to find inspiration: Generally speaking, coming up with one longer story is slightly easier than coming up with lots of significantly shorter self-contained stories.

Once you’ve started planning part of a story, then all you have to do is to ask yourself “what happens next?” Yes, answers might not always appear quickly, but they tend to appear more quickly than if you are trying to think of an entirely new story.

Plus, if you’re telling a continuous story, then you only have to focus on one thing. This means that you have time to add more depth and complexity to a single story, than you do if you have to think of – say- ten or twelve totally different ideas in the same amount of time.

2) It can happen accidentally: Although I have produced occasional narrative comics (like this one), I certainly didn’t plan for my “ordinary” four-panel webcomics to start telling continuous stories. In fact, it was something I tried to resist doing for quite a while. But it happened accidentally.

Last Christmas, I posted a themed mini series of six self-contained Christmas comics. Although I tried to return to “self-contained” comics after this, I couldn’t forget how much fun it was to make comics about a single theme.

So, I tried to do it again only to find that this ‘themed’ series actually had several sub-plots. Needless to say, this trend quickly continued and, although the story-based comics won’t be seriously noticeable until you see some of the comics I’ll be posting here in late March and early-mid April, the change in storytelling style was at least slightly accidental.

So, yes, sometimes a change like this can happen accidentally.

3) You can do different things: If you’ve been making self-contained comics for a while, then you’ll start to get a sense of the limits of the format. The same applies if you’ve only been making continuos stories.

Both self-contained webcomic updates and “continuous story” webcomics have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. There are things that you can do in one that you can’t do in the other, and vice versa.

Yes, there are things you can do to mitigate the problems with each types of comic (eg: including brief/subtle re-caps in each “episode” of a continuous story, for the benefit of new readers) – but, each type of webcomic still has it’s limits.

So, if you’ve been making one type of comic for a while, you might want to try the other just so you can do some things that you couldn’t do before.

—————

Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art ( 24th February 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the seventh (and penultimate) comic in “Damania Renaissance”, a webcomic mini series that follows on from “Damania Retrofuturistic“. Although I’ll try to keep every comic in this mini series at least vaguely self-contained, it’s worth checking out the previous mini series too. If you want to see more webcomic mini series (and other comics), links to them can be found on this page.

This comic was slightly rushed. Even so, I kind of wanted to include vikings somewhere in this series, as historically inaccruate as they may be.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Renaissance - Lost Vikings" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Renaissance – Lost Vikings” By C. A. Brown