The (Almost) Complete “Work In Progress” Line Art For “Damania Restricted” – The New Webcomic Mini Series By C. A. Brown

2016 Artwork Damania Restricted lineart article sketch

Well, since my latest webcomic mini series finished yesterday, I thought that I’d show off the “work in progress” line art for all six comics in the series.

Unlike in some of my other previous mini series, there weren’t really that many dialogue and/or art changes between the line art and the finished comics. Except for the “controversial” comic – which required a major art change (that, unfortunately, will also be censored in this line art post). Sorry about this.

Even so, here’s the line art:)

"Damania Restricted - Universal Language (Line art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Universal Language (Line art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Restricted - But, Is A Smartphone Mightier Than A Sword? (Line art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – But, Is A Smartphone Mightier Than A Sword? (Line art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Restricted - Controversial (Line Art) (Altered version)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Controversial (Line Art) (Altered version)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Restricted - Hound Of The Festivals (Line art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Hound Of The Festivals (Line art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Restricted - Sophisticated (Line art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Sophisticated (Line art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Restricted - Not Quite Hipsters (Line art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Not Quite Hipsters (Line art)” By C. A. Brown

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting:)

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

2016 Artwork The Complete Damania Restricted

Well, in case any of you missed it, here are all six episodes of “Damania Restricted” in one easy-to-read post:) Although this series was shorter than my usual mini series are, I had a lot of fun making it and the reduced length also meant that I could focus slightly more on art quality, detailed art and better writing too.

Fun fact: This series was originally going to be called “Damania Revolver”, since it’s six episodes long. But I changed the title fairly soon after starting the series.

I’ll probably also post the lineart for this series here sometime in the near future too:)

If you want to check out my previous three “Damania” mini series, they can be found here, here and here.

As usual, all six comics in this post are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence. You can also see a larger version of each comic by clicking on it.

 "Damania Restricted - Universal Language" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Universal Language” By C. A. Brown

 "But, Is A Smartphone Mightier Than A Sword?" By C. A. Brown

“But, Is A Smartphone Mightier Than A Sword?” By C. A. Brown

 "Damania Restricted - Controversial (Censored Version)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Controversial (Censored Version)” By C. A. Brown

 "Damania Restricted - Hound Of The Festivals" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Hound Of The Festivals” By C. A. Brown

 "Damania Restricted - Sophisticated" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Sophisticated” By C. A. Brown

 "Damania Restricted - Not Quite Hipsters" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Not Quite Hipsters” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (21st July 2016)

Woo hoo! Here’s the final episode of “Damania Restricted”. I’ll post a retrospective of all six episodes later tonight. If you want to see the previous mini series, then they can be found here , here and here.

And, yes, it’s only a matter of time before the hispters get their hands on Windows 98. So, enjoy it while you can!

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Restricted - Not Quite Hipsters" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Restricted – Not Quite Hipsters” By C. A. Brown

Four Ways To Start A Long-Running Webcomic

2016 Artwork Long Running Webcomics Article Sketch

Well, I’m still in the mood for talking about webcomics at the moment, and I thought that I’d look at what makes the difference between a long-running webcomic series and one that doesn’t run for very long.

Although I have a long-running series called “Damania”, it’s been a fairly intermittent one (which is currently split up into several mini series, one of which finishes tonight) and, since I’ve had some experience with this entire series, I’ll be using it as an example (again).

Surprisingly, this article also ended up turning into an updated version of this old article from 2013 called “How ‘Damania’ Began...”. So, if you just want to read the advice and aren’t interested in reading about the history of this webcomic, then just read the section titles and the first and/or last paragraphs of each section.

Anyway, let’s get started.

1) Trial and error: This is the best way to learn whether a webcomic has potential as a long-running webcomic or not. I mean, “Damania” was hardly my first attempt at making a webcomic series.

I’d made several short unpublished attempts at webcomics during 2007-10 and then in 2010, I made a narrative-based sci-fi/comedy webcomic called “Yametry Run” that ran for 104 updates. Although I consider some parts of this comic to be extremely badly-written in retrospect, it was my first “real” experience with making webcomics. At the time, I thought that I was best at making narrative webcomics that told a continuous story.

Technically speaking, “Damania” began the following year when I made an intriguing-looking drawing of Roz and Derek called “The Magician’s Room” (it’s original misspelt title was “something wired room”) and a few webcomic-style “concept art” drawings for a planned “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”-inspired narrative comedy/fantasy comic.

 This is the very first "Damania" comic from March 2011, and one of the relatively few pieces of art that I made in 2011.

This is the very first “Damania” comic from March 2011, and one of the relatively few pieces of art that I made in 2011.

 I made this two days later, as an experiment to see whether the characters would work in a narrative comic. Yet, it never occurred to me to turn this idea into a "newspaper comic"-style webcomic ("Concept Art - Bootleg" By C.A.Brown [2011])

I made this two days later, as an experiment to see whether the characters would work in a narrative comic. Yet, it never occurred to me to turn this idea into a “newspaper comic”-style webcomic
(“Concept Art – Bootleg” By C.A.Brown [2011])

I made a couple more of these webcomic-style “concept art” drawings in mid 2012, but it wasn’t until autumn 2012 that I saw the potential for a traditional-style webcomic series. So, I made quite a few “Damania” comics and posted them on DeviantART, whilst also expanding the main cast to four characters:

 This is Harvey's first appearance, in October 2012. ("Damania - Bordering On Paranoia" By C.A.Brown [2012])

This is Harvey’s first appearance, in October 2012.
(“Damania – Bordering On Paranoia” By C.A.Brown [2012])

Yes, Rox's first appearance was (technically) in December 2012. ("Damania - Poorly Disguised Pilot Episode" By C.A.Brown [2012])

Yes, Rox’s first appearance was (technically) in December 2012.
(“Damania – Poorly Disguised Pilot Episode” By C.A.Brown [2012])

However, I eventually moved back to making a few different narrative comics. Then I picked up my “Damania” series again and it ran on and off, between several other narrative comic projects, throughout 2013.

Back then, I was a lot more prolific when I made “Damania” comics and it wasn’t exactly unheard of for me to make five of them in a single day.

2) A good long-running webcomic idea sticks around (whether you want it to or not):
A good long-running webcomic idea will insist on being made, even if you try not to make it – or if you abandon it for long periods of time.

During 2014, I was thoroughly exhausted with comics and the only “Damania” comic I made that entire year was purely as an experiment to see what the characters would look like in my then-current art style (I also did this with one page of “Anachrony“- an old spin-off comic series featuring Derek and Rox- too):

 Technically speaking, this is my entire output of "Damania" comics for 2014. ("Damania - Horror Elitism" By C. A. Brown [2014])

Technically speaking, this is my entire output of “Damania” comics for 2014.
(“Damania – Horror Elitism” By C. A. Brown [2014])

By 2015, I’d gradually got back into making comics again by making a couple of short sci-fi/comedy/horror comics (that can be read here and here). For my third comic, I wanted to make a more horror-based comic.

When I was trying to work out what would happen and who the characters would be, it suddenly occurred to me that I had already four pre-made characters that I could use to save time. And, without planning to, I’d made another “Damania” comic, albeit a narrative comic:

"Diabolical Sigil - Page 5" By C. A. Brown

“Diabolical Sigil – Page 5” By C. A. Brown

This was so much fun to make that I made another similar comic for Halloween 2015. And, earlier this year, I got back into making webcomic-style “Damania” comics after I initially thought of the time-saving idea of remaking some of my old comics from 2012/13, before eventually deciding that it would be more fun to make some totally new comics.

What I’m trying to say here is that one way of telling whether you have a good idea for a long-running webcomic is if it keeps turning up again and again, even after you thought that you’d forgotten about it or abandoned it.

3) Versatility: One of the hallmarks of a good long-running webcomic is that it can include comics about a wide variety of topics. This means that you have more sources of inspiration to draw on, and it reduces the chances of either you or your readers getting bored with the comic.

For example, the “Damania” comics that I’ve made this year have included subjects like old horror novels, demolished buildings and Disney movies:

"Damania Redux - Splatterpunk" By C.A. Brown

“Damania Redux – Splatterpunk” By C.A. Brown

"Damania Returns - Cool Buildings" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Returns – Cool Buildings” By C. A. Brown

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

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

Even with comics that are supposedly about just one subject, there are usually a lot of different, but related, subjects covered in these comics. For example, many gaming-based webcomics will include parodies of different games, sarcastic commentary about different games, jokes about gaming culture, jokes about the gaming press, occasional jokes about unrelated subjects etc….

In other words, you need to build a certain amount of variety into your idea. If your webcomic is about one very specific subject, then it probably won’t last that long. But, if it can either include pretty much any subject, or it can include a lot of things related to one subject, then it’s got a better chance of lasting a long time.

4) Characters: This one goes without saying, but a good cast of characters (but no more than 2-4 main characters, otherwise it can get confusing) is essential to a long-running webcomic.

Not only will this keep your readers interested during your webcomic’s inevitable occasional dips in quality (no-one can produce perfect webcomic updates 100% of the time), but wanting to spend more time with your characters and/or to see how they react to various things can also be a powerful source of motivation for you too.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful:)

Today’s Art (20th July 2016)

Woo hoo! “Damania” is back for a six-episode mini series called “Damania Restricted”. As for the tiny length of this mini series, it’s an “event series”, honestly. If you want to see the previous mini series, then they can be found here , here and here. Stay tuned for the next comic tomorrow:)

Any historical inaccuracies are added purely for dramatic and/or comedic effect. And, yes, I was going to make a fairly risque joke in the first panel, but I wimped out fairly soon after I thought of it.

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Restricted - Sophisticated" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Restricted – Sophisticated” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (19th July 2016)

Woo hoo! “Damania” is back for a six-episode mini series called “Damania Restricted”. As for the tiny length of this mini series, it is as you suspected, I’m doing it to be pretentious! If you want to see the previous mini series, then they can be found here , here and here. Stay tuned for the next comic tomorrow:)

Well, I’m quite surprised that it’s taken this long for Harvey to turn into Sherlock Holmes again and, since this comic will be posted around festival season, I just couldn’t resist…

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Restricted - Hound Of The Festivals" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Restricted – Hound Of The Festivals” By C. A. Brown

Why Your Webcomic Should Have Rules (With Four Examples).

2016 Artwork Webcomic Rules Article Sketch

Well, I thought that I’d talk about making webcomics again, given that I’m posting a short webcomic series on here at the moment (stay tuned for another comic tonight). For today, I thought that I’d look at one thing that can really help to give your webcomic a bit more individuality and depth.

I am, of course, talking about rules.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “surely the whole point of webcomics is to break the rules and do your own thing?“. As comic formats go, webcomics are one of the most anarchic ones. You have more freedom when making a webcomic than you do with making any other type of comic. There’s no editor or publisher to appease and, depending on where you post your webcomic, there might not even be any censorship rules.

So, if there are little to no externally-imposed rules, then what do rules have to do with webcomics?

Following a set of rules that you’ve come up with can be a very easy way to give your comic a distinctive “atmosphere”, since it affects the kind of humour that you can use and it also influences the worldview that your comic portrays too.

Not only that, following a set of self-imposed rules can be a good way to set up running jokes, and to give yourself a bit of a challenge too. Plus, when a rule has become well-established, you can shock and surprise your audience by breaking it every once in a while.

The best rules tend to evolve organically, since they’re often the sort of things that seem “logical” in the context of your comic. Likewise, many rules can also evolve for simple practical reasons. But, if your comic feels like it’s getting stale, then one way to liven it up again is to set yourself a series of interesting rules.

To show you how rules can influence a webcomic, I’ll show you a few examples of rules that I’ve applied to my long-running “Damania” webcomic series (you can see more of it here, here and here) and explain what effect they have had on the comic.

1) Ghosts don’t exist, but zombies do:
Although I didn’t really follow this rule in some of the earlier comics (on DeviantART), it turns up in at least a couple of the more recent ones:

"Damania Redux - Be Prepared" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Redux – Be Prepared” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Resurgence - Debunked (Censored Version)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resurgence – Debunked (Censored Version)” By C. A. Brown

What this rule means is that if I include any horror-based humour in my comics then, exlcuding the occasional djinn, skeleton and/or mummy, it’s probably going to be zombie-related. This affects the kind of jokes that I can tell.

Why? Because both ghosts and zombies are different interpretations of the concept that a person can exist beyond death.

Because of the macabre and emotionless way that death is treated in zombie movies/comics/games etc.. zombie-based things are much more well-suited for dark humour, cynical humour etc.. than ghost-based things are. So, making the decision to include zombies instead of ghosts has had a subtle- but noticeable – effect on my comic.

2) Everything looks like an old movie when Harvey is alone: A long-running rule in my “Damania” comic series is that when Harvey is the only person in a panel, everything instantly looks like something from an old movie.

Since he’s an trenchcoat-wearing detective, it fits in really well with his character – as well as being a quick visual way to establish his character to new readers. It also allows me to make comic updates slightly more quickly too.

Although I’ve accidentally broken this rule at least once or twice (like in this comic about the EU Referendum last month), I’ve intentionally broken it in at least one of my comics to make a joke that rewards long-term readers of the comic, who have spotted this rule in other comics (it also includes references to one of the earlier comics in the mini series too).

"Damania Resurgence - A Calculated Risk" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resurgence – A Calculated Risk” By C. A. Brown

3) Character rotation: Generally, I try to make sure that all four of the main characters in my webcomic appear in roughly the same number of comics in each mini series.

I originally set up this rule in order to avoid a problem that I’ve sometimes seen in long-running webcomics, where a comic series will re-introduce an old character with relatively little explanation.

Although this is really cool thing for long-term readers, it can often be confusing and off-putting to new readers. So, when I made my own webcomic, I tried to make sure that my audience will have seen all four members of the main cast after they’ve read no more than two or three comics. Like this:

"Damania Restricted - Universal Language" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – Universal Language” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Restricted - But, Is A Smartphone Mightier Than A Sword?" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Restricted – But, Is A Smartphone Mightier Than A Sword?” By C. A. Brown

However, this has also had an interesting knock-on effect too. Unlike many syndicated newspaper cartoons like “Dilbert”, “Garfield” and “Nemi”, my comic doesn’t really have a single main character.

Although this means that my comic has slightly less focus and slightly less “personality”, it also means that I can place more emphasis on the relationships between the characters, and can make comics about a much wider variety of subjects by choosing which character (or characters) I want to focus on in each episode, rather than being restricted to just one character.

4) Idiotic censorship: Although I have broken this rule exactly once in the five-year history of my “Damania” webcomic series (on DeviantART, at least), one of the rules that I set myself for the comic series was that the characters can’t use a certain commonly-used four letter word without it being censored in some way. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a f**king stupid rule in this day and age, but allow me to explain further….

Originally, I set myself this rule for simple practical reasons. The sites that I post to often have content rules of some kind and, being a somewhat nervous person, I often tend to err wildly on the side of caution.

But, although this idiotic rule has meant that the dialogue in my webcomic is occasionally less realistic than it should be, it’s also been a useful source of humour too. Why? Because I either have to turn the censorship itself into a source of ironic humour, or I have to use clever wordplay.

For example, in a comic about social conservatism and over-zealous censorship in mainstream American TV shows, one of my characters gleefully tells someone to “F.C. C. off!”

"Damania Returns - American TV Censorship" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Returns – American TV Censorship” By C. A. Brown

This, ironically, seemed funnier than just including more realistic dialogue. The same is true for my decision to use the phrase “bovine excrement” instead of “bullshit”. It just sounded funnier and (along with the word “tizzy”) it also served to subtly imply that Rox – like all the main characters- is British, rather than American.

Although long-term readers of my comics will probably be more than aware of this (since I’m also British), I thought that I’d include it for the benefit of new readers.

So, those were are four examples of how setting myself rules has influenced the development of my webcomic. The thing to remember here is that the best rules tend to evolve organically and that your rules don’t always have to be set in stone.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful:)