Well, for today, I thought that I’d talk about something that happens to everyone who makes webcomics (even occasionally) – what to do when you see a better webcomic than your own webcomics.
This is mostly because I noticed that in both of the previous two articles, I’ve referenced my favourite webcomic (“Subnormality” By Winston Rowntree). And re-reading this amazing, mind-blowingly brilliant webcomic made me think about what you should do if you see a webcomic that is better than your own webcomics.
1) See it as encouragement: If you see a webcomic that is considerably better than the ones you make at the moment, don’t get jealous and – whatever you do – don’t feel discouraged! Yes, this is much easier said than done, but it’s something that is worth doing.
Why? Because when you don’t feel those emotions, you tend to feel much better ones. You tend to feel a sense of amazement at the comic you’re reading and a sense that, one day, you might make something just as good as it. Instead of feeling defeated, you’ll feel motivated to make better webcomics.
But, how do you do this? Simple. Just remember that no-one started out making good webcomics. Even the best webcomics in the world started out as badly-drawn and badly-written things that embarrassed the people who made them. Even the best webcomic creators started out feeling like they weren’t good at it. And they weren’t. They just got better with practice.
The important word here is “practice”. Not “inspiration”, not “talent”, but boring old practice. For example, although I only make webcomics occasionally these days, I still keep up regular art practice when I’m not making comics. Although I’m neither the best nor the worst at making webcomics, here’s a chart that can show you how 5-6 years of regular art practice can improve a webcomic:
So, when you see a webcomic that is better than yours, see it as something to aim towards. Something that you will achieve IF YOU KEEP PRACTICING. I cannot emphasise that part enough!
2) Remember that everyone thinks this: I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but it’s something of a rule that no matter how good or bad you are, there will always be someone better than you and someone worse than you. In the grand scheme of things, everyone is somewhere in the middle.
Yes, even your favourite webcomic makers probably feel like they “aren’t as good as [insert other artist here]“. And they probably aren’t. But, this doesn’t stop them from making webcomics. So, why should something similar stop you?
We’re all somewhere in the middle and this is cool. It means that you already have something in common with your favourite webcomic makers and it also means that even your “crappy” comic update is someone else’s idea of a “great” comic update.
3) Take inspiration, but don’t try to be someone else: If you see a really cool webcomic, it can be tempting to try to make a webcomic that is exactly like that one. Don’t.
It’s perfectly good to take inspiration, but you need to add your own stuff to it too. I mean, if you try to copy one webcomic too much then you’re just going to end up making a second-rate imitation of that comic. To use a musical metaphor – you’ll be a tribute act, rather than an “actual” band.
So, see exactly what makes your favourite webcomics so good and then try to put your own spin on it. For example, the webcomic mini series I’ll be posting here in January was probably partially inspired by Winston Rowntree’s “Subnormality”. But, instead of trying to make a “subnormality” comic, I just took the theme of ‘introspective comics’ and put my own spin on it.
And I ended up with better comics as a result! By borrowing a general idea or premise and then doing your own thing with it, you’ll come up with comics that stand out as uniquely yours. After all, the comics that inspired you probably weren’t just derivative knock-offs of other comics. So, why should yours be?
And, for heaven’s sake, find other influences too! If you’re only inspired by other webcomics, then your webcomics will just look like generic webcomics. If you really want to make your webcomic into something distinctive, then take inspiration from things that aren’t other webcomics too! Originality comes from having a suitably unique mixture of influences.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂