Three Ways To Add Some “Special Features” To Your Webcomic (Plus an exclusive unfinished “Damania Returns” comic!)

2016 Artwork webcomic bonus content article sketch

Although I’ve mentioned before how thinking of your webcomic like a TV show can be a good way to get motivated, I thought that I’d continue this metaphor today by taking a quick look at three of the many ways that you can add DVD-like “special features” to your webcomic.

1) Line art (and “work in progress” art): If you were reading this site yesterday, you probably saw that I posted a gallery of “work in progress” line art scans from one of my recent webcomic mini series. Basically, before I added paint to each webcomic update, I scanned the original line art- allowing me to create this gallery once the mini series was finished.

The other interesting thing about showing off the line art (or any earlier version of your webcomic updates) is that eagle-eyed readers can look for major differences between earlier and later versions of your work.

For example, I often end up digitally editing the dialogue in my comics after I’ve scanned the final artwork – so there are countless small dialogue differences between the “work in progress” line art and the finished comics.

In addition to this, showing off “work in progress” versions of your webcomic updates can be a good way to get aspiring webcomic creators interested in your webcomic for the simple reason that it gives them some clues about your art style and techniques.

2) Show what could have been: One easy way to add some intriguing bonus content to your webcomic is to, quite simply, show off some of your failures – like this “never seen before” failed comic strip that would have originally been part of my recent “Damania Returns” webcomic mini series:

I've made more digital adjustments to the brightness/contrast levels than usual, so that the pencil lines in the third and fourth panels are actually visible

I’ve made more digital adjustments to the brightness/contrast levels than usual, so that the pencil lines in the third and fourth panels are actually visible

Showing off webcomic updates that didn’t work out well, or which were never finished, is a great way to intrigue your audience by giving them tantalising hints about alternative directions that your comic could have gone in.

Likewise, showing off your failures also means that you won’t feel like the time you spent on your failed webcomic updates was totally wasted.

In addition to this, showing off your failures reminds any would-be webcomic makers who are reading your comic that every artist fails from time to time. It also shows your audience that you’re only human and that even people with some experience of making webcomics can still fail every now and then.

3) Character sketches: One way to make some bonus content for your webcomic fairly quickly is to just draw a few quick sketches of your characters.

These don’t have to be as good as the artwork in your usual webcomic updates. But, a few quick sketches of your characters in amusing situations, in alternative outfits etc.. can be a good way to make some bonus content fairly easily.

Although I haven’t really done this that much with my own webcomics, I’ve certainly seen it used in other webcomics – especially as a way to produce quick filler material when the writer and/or artist can’t make a full update.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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Four Ways To Add Value To Your Art And Fiction

2014 Artwork Added Value Sketch

Whether you’re selling what you create or just posting it online for free, it’s still a good idea to add as much value as you can to your art and/or fiction. Not only does “added value” attract a larger audience, but it can also help you to keep your audience too. After all, who doesn’t like extra free stuff?

So, how do you do this? There are literally hundreds of ways, but I’ll list four of the easiest and most obvious ones:

1) Commentary: This doesn’t have to be very long or even very detailed, but if you’re posting a picture or a short story on the internet – then don’t be afraid to write a couple of paragraphs about either how you created it, the circumstances surrounding it’s creation and/or your thoughts about how well it turned out.

Whilst this doesn’t have to be an essay, it’s worth including a short commentary for two reasons. Firstly, it helps you to remember creating the story or picture when you look back on it years later.

Secondly, it will also satisfy your audience’s curiosity about the work in question and, if anyone in your audience is also an artist or writer, then they might be interested in any tips they can pick up from your commentary that will help them with their own work.

2) Exclusives: If you are posting your art and/or fiction on more than one place on the internet, or including it in more than one e-book, then it is always a good idea to offer exclusives occasionally.

They don’t have to be anything spectacular or gigantic (eg: they can be preliminary sketches of characters, draft chapters, “deleted scenes” from your story etc…), but they should be something extra that your audience can’t find if they look at your work elsewhere.

An even better way of doing this, if you’re work is being published in more than one place, is to have different exclusives for each place. This will ensure that people will look at both places.

But, if you want to make sure that the majority of your audience looks at your work in one place rather than another, then only offer exclusives for that particular place.

For example, I post my art both here and on my DeviantART gallery.

If you look at my art on DeviantART, then you’ll usually get to see it before it’s posted here and there’s also some exclusive fan art too – like this picture of Tyrion Lannister from “Game Of Thrones” and this picture of all of Doctor Who’s recent companions.

As well as these articles and most of my drawing guides, I’ve also recently been experimenting with offering blog-exclusive content for some of my art too – such as this piece of lineart for tonight’s painting:

"Apologies To Waterhouse (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Apologies To Waterhouse (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

3) Alternate Endings: I’ve written about this in slightly more detail in another article, but if you’re writing a story or making a comic, then it can certainly be worth offering at least one alternate ending to it as an additional bonus.

Obviously, this won’t work with every story that you can tell, but if you can think of a good way to change the ending (even very slightly) then don’t be afraid to offer this as an alternate ending.

If your alternate ending isn’t as good as the “official” ending to your story, then people will probably just go “hmm… that’s interesting, but I prefer the original ending”. If your alternate ending is a lot better or more interesting than your “official” ending, then it will probably cause a lot of debate amongst your audience.

Regardless of what happens, people will both be thinking more about the ending of your story and will be more likely to remember it too. So, you win either way.

4) New Versions: If you want to renew your audience’s interest in some of your old work, or you want to revisit one of your best stories or pieces of artwork, then you can create a new and improved version of it. You can either re-create it entirely from scratch or you can just make a lot of alterations and improvements to the original story – whatever works best.

Yes, there will always be fans who will say “I liked the old version better”. But, at the same time, in order for them to say this – they will have had to have seen or read the new version. Not only that, if there’s quite a large debate about which version is best, then it means that people genuinely care about what you’ve created. After all, if people didn’t care about your work, then they probably wouldn’t be arguing about it.

In addition to this, if you want to add a lot of value to something new, then you can always include an improved version of some of your older stuff as a free gift.

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Sorry that this article was so basic, but I hope it was useful 🙂