Three Ways To Rush A Comic Update Well


Well, at the time of writing, I’m still busy preparing this year’s Christmas webcomic mini series. Although, annoyingly, I had to rush one or two of the comic updates. But, hopefully, this won’t be too noticeable when they actually appear here in mid-late December.

So, I thought that I’d talk quickly about the good ways to rush a comic update if you have to make one in a hurry. I’ve probably mentioned this stuff before, but I’m also writing this article in something of a rush too.

1) Don’t skimp on the writing:
Generally, audience members are more likely to overlook rushed art than they are to overlook rushed writing. So, if you have to focus on making only one part of your comic update good, then focus on the writing.

After all, if the audience are laughing or thinking because of the dialogue, then they probably aren’t going to notice any hurried parts of the artwork as much.

On the flipside, a comic with a small amount of acceptable-quality dialogue and lots of reasonably good art can also be a good way to make a comic in a hurry.

2) Have a plan: It’s easier to make a comic update in a hurry if you’ve planned it out in advance. After all, one of the huge time sinks when making a comic update is working out what the comic update will actually be about. So, if you have this planned out in advance, then you can get on with making the comic update straight away. So, try to plan as many comic updates as you can in advance.

But, if you don’t have a plan, then either just make some quick filler content (eg: a quick sketch of one of your characters and a brief explanation that you didn’t have time to make a comic) or use something like a previously-established running joke, or possibly make a more art-based comic or something like that.

But, if you have a plan made in advance, then this can be incredibly useful if you have to make a comic update in a rush.

3) Backgrounds: If you have to hurry, background detail should always be the first thing to go. For example, when I was making the comic update that originally inspired this article, my original plan was for the whole comic to be set in an outdoor location. But, since this was a Christmas comic, I realised that this would mean that I’d have to digitally add falling snow to every panel (which is a fairly time-consuming process).

So, I set the first panel in an outdoor location (because the events of the comic required it to be set outdoors), then I just showed the characters returning home in the next panel (and spending the rest of the comic there). This just meant that I had to draw a simple hallway in the background of the rest of the comic, with no snow effects required. Like in this preview:

Yes, this scene was originally supposed to take place outdoors. But, due to time reasons, I used a simple interior location (The full comic update will be posted here on the 23rd December)

Yes, this scene was originally supposed to take place outdoors. But, due to time reasons, I used a simple interior location (The full comic update will be posted here on the 23rd December)

Yes, I had to make a slight change to the punchline of the comic to account for this change of setting – but, surprisingly, this actually improved the comic. Plus, I also saved a ridiculous amount of editing time too πŸ™‚

So, if you have to hurry, then make sure that the first thing you do is to make the backgrounds as undetailed as you can get away with. After all, most of the time, the audience are more focused on the characters, events and dialogue than the backgrounds.


Sorry for the short article, but I hope it was useful πŸ™‚


It’s Another Line Art Preview :)

Well, although I’d prepared an article for today, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. So, as a last-minute replacement, I thought that I’d show off some of the “work in progress” line art for several paintings that will be appearing here quite a long time in the future.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

You can click on each piece of line art to see a larger version of it:

“Kitchen Window (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“The Backup System (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“The Solitary Zombie (Line Art)” By C. A.Brown

“The Forgotten Food Court (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“At Midnight (II) (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – Taxi Ride (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – Haunting (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown


Sorry about this last-minute replacement. Normal articles will resume tomorrow πŸ™‚

The Complete Line Art For My “Video Nasty” Halloween Comic :)


Well, since I finished posting this year’s Halloween comic recently, I thought that I’d do the usual thing and show off the “Work In Progress” line art for it.

If I remember rightly, there weren’t really that many changes between the art/dialogue in the line art and the final comics (apart from the addition of paint, digital effects etc.. of course.) The largest change is probably a panel on page 11 which was added digitally in the finished comic (and left blank in the line art).

Anyway, here’s the line art πŸ™‚ You can click on each picture to see a larger version if they’re too small to read.

"Video Nasty - Cover (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Cover (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 1 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 1 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 2 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 2 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 3 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 3 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 4 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 4 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 5 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 5 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 6 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 6 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 7 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 7 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 8 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 8 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 9 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 9 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 10 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 10 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 11 (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 11 (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Work In Progress” Line Art For My “Damania Resized” Webcomic Mini Series


Well, since my “Damania Resized” webcomic mini series finished recently, I thought that I’d do the usual thing of showing off the ‘work in progress’ line art from when I made it.

If I remember rightly, there weren’t really any major dialogue/art changes between the line art and the finished comics in this mini series. Plus, due to the larger comic size, the line art for this mini series looks a lot more detailed than usual.

Anyway, here’s the line art – you can click on each comic to see a larger version of it, since they’re probably too small to read here.

"Damania Resized - Nostalgia Cycle (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resized – Nostalgia Cycle (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Resized - Virtually Banned (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resized – Virtually Banned (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Resized - Cafe Writers (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resized – Cafe Writers (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Resized - Progressive (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resized – Progressive (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Resized - Fighting The Loudness War (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resized – Fighting The Loudness War (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Resized - Market (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resized – Market (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

How I Wrote This Short Story (From Earlier This Year)


Well, for today, I thought that I’d do something slightly different and talk about the “making of” a short story which appeared here earlier in the year. This is mostly because the creative processes that went into this story ended up being slightly different to what I had expected, and an explanation could possibly be interesting.

As a bit of background, this story was the third story in a series of stories that I’d been writing about the 1990s. Unlike the previous two short story series I’d written (eg: horror stories for Halloween 2016 and Sci-Fi stories for Christmas that year), coming up with story ideas about the 1990s was proving to be more challenging than I had expected.

So, when it came to writing the third story in the series, I had very few ideas. My first thought was to write a story about how horror fiction changed in the 1990s, which would have involved a journalist meeting a 1980s splatterpunk author in a pub and talking about how the genre had changed during the 1990s. I actually wrote part of this story. Here’s a “never seen before” extract from it:

As the piercing opening riff of Iron Maiden’s self-titled song sliced it’s way through the gloom of the pub, I spotted John Morte. He wasn’t easy to miss. It isn’t everyday that you get to interview a horror legend, let alone one who has set a shot of vodka on fire just to light his roll-up. It was good to see that he hadn’t lost his flair for the dramatic.

But, something just felt off about the story. Not only was the “John Morte” character a bit too much of a clichΓ©, but there wasn’t really anything distinctly “90s” about the story. If anything, it seemed more like a story that was set in the 1980s than anything else. So, after a few paragraphs, I abandoned it.

But, I couldn’t think of any better ideas. So, I distracted myself with other things until I realised what had drawn me to the idea of writing about a horror author. I wanted to write about a larger-than-life “rockstar” character, but wasn’t sure how to do this. Much later, I was feeling tired and I still didn’t have a clue about what I’d write. Then I suddenly remembered watching a DVD of an old Bill Hicks show from the 1990s a few years ago.

Stand-up comedy, especially American stand-up comedy, was a big thing during the 1990s. This was the decade when stand-up comedy was the closest thing to being a rockstar that someone could be without learning an instrument. In retrospect, the idea seemed obvious, but I had to take a step back and wait for my mind to make the connections.

When I came up with this idea, I was elated. Since I could just write about a comedian performing, the whole story would be dialogue. It seemed like a quick and easy way to write a medium-high quality story. Of course, the reality was somewhat more difficult.

A few words into the opening sentence, I suddenly realised that I actually had to write a stand-up comedy routine. Not only that, I also had to write it in the style of an American comedian. But, despite this, the idea seemed too interesting to abandon, so I kept at it.

Although it might look easy, writing even vaguely passable stand-up comedy is anything but easy! I wrote and then deleted more jokes (or more versions of the same jokes) than I can remember. Not only did I have to come up with something that was funny and sounded vaguely “authentic”, but I also had another problem.

Most of the best American stand-up comics from the 1990s (eg: Bill Hicks, George Carlin etc..) were brilliantly outspoken. From what I gather, you didn’t go to one of their shows if you were narrow-minded or easily shocked. Many of their DVDs still have an “18” certificate over here. This blog, on the other hand, tends to be more “PG-13” (to use an American phrase).

So, I had to come up with comedic dialogue that was funny, sounded like it could have been said by a 1990s-era American comedian and which wasn’t too shocking. Whilst some elements of this were fairly easy, some were a bit more challenging.

The first thing to do was simply to use the word “fricking” for emphasis instead of the more obvious word choice. This also had the advantage of making the comedian sound more American, because this euphemism tends to be used a lot more in American TV shows etc…

But, for the most part, I had to carefully choose the content of the jokes. In other words, I had to look at the edgy, irreverent and outspoken attitudes of 1990s American stand-up comedians and apply these attitudes to slightly less controversial or risquΓ© subject matter. In the end, I went for a joke about pop music and a joke about the tabloid press here in Britain.

The second joke was chosen because it was a subject that I could write about a lot. One of the funny things about American stand-up comedians from the 1990s is that they’d usually make amusing comments about Britain in recordings of their performances over here. Since I’m British, it wasn’t too hard to come up with some slightly more observational humour about this country.

Ideally, I thought that the story would be best with three jokes. But, when it came to thinking of the third joke, I found that I was extremely tired and uninspired. I’d spent longer writing a mere 500 words of comedic dialogue than I’d spent writing stories twice that length. So, after a lot of thought and a few failed attempts at writing a third joke, I bodged it.

Basically, instead of telling an actual joke – I just wrote a description of a few parts of the joke and left the rest to the imagination. Yes, this was ridiculously lazy, but – more importantly – it allowed me to actually finish the story without falling behind schedule. Never underestimate the importance of actually finishing a story.

Likewise, the final sentence “The curtain fell.” was originally going to be the beginning of a much longer description, but I cut it short for energy/enthusiasm reasons. I suppose it mirrors the abrupt ending of an actual comedy show or something.

So, that’s how I got over writer’s block and wrote a very short story that looked a lot easier to write than it actually was.


Anyway, I hope that this was interesting πŸ™‚

Three Lazy Ways To Include Fight Scenes In Your Webcomic (If You Don’t Usually Include Them)


As regular readers probably know, I’m busy with making this year’s Halloween comic at the time of writing. As such, I thought that I’d talk about making webcomics again. Today, I’ll be looking at lazy ways to include elements from the action genre in your (web)comics, if you haven’t had much practice at this.

Although action scenes in comics are designed to be read quickly, they are probably one of the most difficult things to draw well. After all, you’ve got to work out how to draw your characters standing in all sorts of dramatic-looking poses and you also have to clearly show a complex series of events using just a few panels.

Yes, technically, you should probably practice drawing anatomy. You should learn how to draw every type of perspective. You should probably carefully study lots of action scenes in other comics and learn techniques from them. But, you’re making a webcomic and you’re on a schedule. So, you could always, you know, cheat.

But, a word of warning, these “lazy” techniques will only work if you include action scenes infrequently in your comics. A small number of “lazy” action scenes, coupled with lots of funny dialogue, interesting artwork etc.. can be overlooked by readers. But, if you’re including lots of action in your comic, then you should probably study how to draw these scenes properly.

But, that said, here are some lazy ways to include action scenes in your comic:

1) Gunfights: If you are inexperienced with the action genre in comics, then you should probably try to stick to including gun-based combat in your comics if the story allows it.

Not only is it easier to learn how to draw someone holding or firing a gun (eg: a few poses, as opposed to the hundreds of possible poses needed to draw a realistic fist-fight, sword-fight etc..) but, due to the especially deadly nature of guns, it can mean that the fight scenes in your comics can plausibly be over within the space of a couple of panels at the most. In other words, there are fewer complicated combat-based panels to draw.

Of course, you shouldn’t include guns in comics where they would look somewhat out of context. So, this technique isn’t a cure-all for being inexperienced with drawing action scenes. But, if you have to include other weapons in your comic, then….

2) Posing: If you need a lazy way to give the impression that your comic contains lots of action, without actually including that much action, then one way to do this is to include as many (or more) scenes of characters holding or brandishing weapons than scenes where they actually use them. Just make sure that you only include this in contexts where your characters would realistically be expected to be brandishing weapons.

For example, my Halloween comic from last year is set during a zombie apocalypse (eg: a context where the characters should probably be armed) and it contains something like eleven or twelve panels where characters are holding or brandishing a variety of unusual weapons, but not using them. On the other hand, there are only something like five or six panels in the entire comic where the characters actually use those weapons.

In other words, although the characters are visibly armed for large parts of the comic, there are about twice as many panels showing the characters not using their weapons.

Doing this sort of thing gives the impression that the characters are in a dramatic and dangerous situation (why would they be armed if they weren’t?) whilst also allowing you to include a minimum of complex action scenes in your comic.

3) Implication: As ironic as it sounds, self-censorship can actually be your friend when it comes to drawing action scenes when you have little experience. Whilst a well-drawn action scene in a comic should show both an act of violence and it’s direct consequences (eg: someone swinging a punch and the punch connecting with whoever they are hitting), this requires a bit more planning and artistic knowledge to do well.

So, one lazy way to get around this is to use implication. For example, one panel of my upcoming Halloween comic shows the main characters being theatened. The next panel consists of nothing more than a melodramatic illustration of one of the main characters firing a machine gun (whilst saying a witty line of dialogue).

The “action” in the scene is conveyed entirely through “sound effects”, dialogue, dramatic lighting etc… But, it’s basically just a picture of the character standing still and firing a machine gun.

But, most critically, the panel after this one is just a dialogue-based panel. The “fight” is implied to be over through the more relaxed demeanour of the characters, and the more puzzling aspects of this scene (eg: where did the machine gun come from?) are addressed through dialogue.

Yes, it’s a lazy way to handle a scene like this but – because there won’t be that much violence in the comic (well, there will be more than usual, but less than in many more action-based comics) and because the comic is meant to be more of a comedy horror comic than a “serious” horror or thriller comic, then hopefully it won’t have too much of an adverse effect on the quality of the comic.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful πŸ™‚

Adding “Rest Pages” To Your Comic


Well, since I’m still busy preparing this year’s Halloween comic at the time of writing, I thought that I’d talk briefly about something that can make longer comics projects slightly easier.

As regular readers probably know, I tend to have something of a short creative attention span. It is, for example, why I release my occasional webcomics in mini series of 6-17 daily comic updates (well, more like 6-12 updates these days).

So, making a full-colour A4-size Halloween comic that will be 12 pages in length (including the cover) is something of a stretch for me. But, as I’m learning, it’s certainly possible. So, I thought that I’d talk about one of the techniques that I’m using to reduce the amount of effort that this project requires, in case it’s useful to you.

This technique is simply to include the occasional low-effort page within my comic. If this is done well, then it can be barely noticeable to the audience, whilst still giving you a chance to rest slightly at the same time.

For example, here’s a reduced-size preview of page three of my Halloween comic (which I made the day before writing this article):

The full-size comic update will be posted here on the 23rd October.

The full-size comic update will be posted here on the 23rd October.

This is an example of a low-effort comic page. One of the first things that you might notice is that it only contains six panels (page one contains seven panels and page two contains eight).

Likewise, as I discussed in yesterday’s article, many of the backgrounds are simple interior locations that contain a minimum of detail. There’s just enough detail to make the backgrounds look like convincing locations but, the overall detail level is still fairly low.

In addition to this, the dramatic-looking lighting in the third panel helps to distract from the low levels of detail in most of the artwork. This is further disguised by the fact that the comic features multiple background locations, which adds some visual variety to the page without using too much effort in the process.

Finally, there’s also the fact that it is – for the most part – a “talking head” comic. This is a comic update where the characters just stand around and talk to each other. If this isn’t done right, then it can look lazy or boring. But, I’ve disguised it somewhat by adding a couple of simple action-based panels to the comic (eg: the two panels showing the television screen) and by showing a close-up of a video player in the third panel.

So, although it might not look like it at first glance, this page was a lazy “rest page” that I created in order to conserve effort for other parts of the comic. If you’re making a longer comic and you tend to have a fairly short creative attention span, then learning how to do this kind of thing can be extremely useful.

There are lots of other ways to do something like this, and I don’t currently have time to list them all here, but hopefully this article will have at least pointed you in the right direction.


Sorry for the short article, but I hope it was useful πŸ™‚