I can’t remember exactly where I read it, but there’s a brilliant quote from the author Matthew Reilly, where he talks about the “unlimited budget” that writers have when it comes to creating special effects and using interesting locations in their fiction. Since he writes fairly Hollywood-like thriller fiction, he takes full advantage of this fact. But, this isn’t an article about writing prose fiction, it’s an article about making webcomics.
One of the coolest things about making webcomics is that they’re both a visual medium (like television and film) and yet, they have almost all of the advantages that prose fiction does (eg: they don’t require a huge team, the writer can easily control the passage of time in the story etc..).
This was something that I noticed when starting another webcomic mini series that will appear here in mid-late March. In particular, this scene made me think about Matthew Reilly’s “unlimited budget” comments.
The thing is, if I was to film a live-action version of this comic, I’d have had to have actually find a museum that was willing to let me film there, commission a scale model and/ or learn how to use CGI. Either way, it would be expensive and time-consuming.
However, since this was a webcomic, the most challenging part was looking up a few pictures of galleons online so that I could work out how to draw one. It took me all of ten minutes and cost me absolutely nothing. And, unlike a written description in a story, my comic actually contains a cool-looking galleon!
This is one of the reasons why webcomics are such an amazing medium, since they’re basically an expression of pure imagination. After all, when you imagine things, you probably tend to think about them using both words and images. You don’t have to translate images into words and you don’t have to worry about the of practicalities re-creating anything in real life. You just imagine.
Yes, it takes a bit of practice to be able to make art that even vaguely resembles the images in your imagination. But, once you’ve learnt the basics (eg: how to work out how to draw things you didn’t know how to draw before), then webcomics are one of the best ways to directly transfer the contents of your imagination onto the page (or the screen).
In addition to this, one advantage that webcomics have over mediums like film and literature is the fact that you are in total control of how everything is presented. If you want to give your webcomic a more “realistic” look (if you’ve had enough practice) then you can. However, if you want to use a more unrealistic art style in order to compliment the kinds of stories and/or jokes that you are telling, then you can also do this too.
Plus, if you post your comics online (hence why I’ve been talking about “webcomics”, rather than just “comics”) you also have a lot more control over the size and format of the comics that you make (eg: some of the most creative examples of this can be found in an excellent webcomic called “Subnormality” by Winston Rowntree).
The worldwide distribution costs of your webcomic can be anything from nothing to very little. Again, this is another reason why webcomics can do more than any other medium – with only a fraction of the budget and/or no budget.
You can also do things like adding animations to your comics too (I haven’t done this with any of my more recent comics but, with the right skills and a few basic programs, it’s certainly possible to turn a comic update into an animated gif).
Because of all of this additional flexibility, webcomics are able to do all sorts of things that would require a significant budget in various other mediums.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂