Three Tips For Remaking Your Old Webcomic Updates

At the time of writing, I’m busy preparing this month’s webcomic mini series (which will start on the 21st). But, due to writer’s block, the mini series will consist of modern remakes of several old comic updates from 2012-13. As such, I thought that I’d provide a few tips for remaking webcomic updates.

1) The older, the better: This one is fairly self-explanatory – but if you’re going to remake an old webcomic update, then try to make sure that it is as old as possible. Not only will this be a good source of nostalgia for older fans of your comic, but it also means that the difference in art quality will be a lot more noticeable too. For example, here’s a comparison of a panel from an old comic update from 2012 and the modern remake:

So, this is what the comic looked like in 2012 and this is what it looks like in my current style.

However, one thing to watch out for in older comic updates is what TV Tropes calls “Early Installment Weirdness“. Chances are, when you started your comic, you had a completely different idea about what it would be like. As such, seeing ultra-old comic updates can be a surprisingly weird experience.

For example, in my webcomic, the characters used to have slightly different personalities to their current ones and there were also a lot more horror/fantasy elements (because I’d originally intended it to be a slight parody of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer“, of all things) in the older updates.

To avoid confusing your audience, it’s usually best to avoid remaking comic updates that include too much “Early Installment Weirdness” or to do a very minimal amount of rewriting, so that your remade comic updates are more comprehensible to newer fans of your webcomic.

2) Artistic licence: Unless you have a George Lucas-like attitude towards your past work, then the originals will probably still be on the internet for people to view.

This means that you can use a little bit of artistic licence when remaking your comic updates. Whether this involves visual changes or rewrites, don’t be afraid to do something a little bit different. But, try to make sure that your remake is at least mostly faithful to the original and that you have a good reason for making any changes.

For example, the first update in this month’s mini series will actually consist of two shorter comic updates that have been merged together. This was mostly because they were both set in the same location and neither comic was quite long enough for a full remake. Of course, in order to merge the two comics, I had to rewrite a couple of lines of dialogue and remove a panel. However, the bulk of the comic update is a reasonably faithful remake of these two old comic updates:

“Damania – Youtube” By C. A. Brown [2012]

“Damania – Copypasta” By C. A. Brown [2013]

Think of your remake a little bit like a “live version” of one of your favourite songs. People listen to live recordings of music because they are often very slightly different to the studio version. A live recording will still usually be the same song, but it is the variations that make it interesting.

3) Have a good reason (or do something else): Simply put, if you can make new and original comics, then make them instead!

Remakes are something that you should only make if you’ve got serious writer’s block and/or you have an extremely good reason (eg: it’s an anniversary or something like that). Basically, a new comic update is better than a remake, but a remake is better than no comic updates at all.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, but you don’t want to do a full remake, then either make a partial remake or include some kind of call-back in your comic. Doing this is more creative than just remaking your old comics. For example, the final panel of last year’s Halloween comic is a new comic panel in the style of my old comics from late 2012. This isn’t a remake of a specific comic update, but it is a call-back.

This is a new comic panel, made in 2017, that is mostly in the style of my comics from 2012. It’s an example of a more creative alternative to a simple remake.

So, unless you’ve got a good reason for remaking a comic update, then try to do something slightly different instead.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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Improve Your Webcomic By Thinking Of Each Webcomic Update As A Whole – A Ramble

Well, I thought that I’d talk very briefly about making webcomics again since I’m kind of busy making a webcomic mini series for late February at the time of writing. In particular, I’ll be talking about a couple of the basic ways that you can improve your webcomic by thinking of each webcomic update as a whole.

For example, here’s a reduced-size preview of one of my comic updates from the mini series I’m making at the moment. Yes, I also previewed part of this one yesterday – although I’ll need to show you a (shrunken) version of the full update to illustrate what I’m talking about here.

The full-size comic update will be posted here on the 22nd February.

One of the first things that can help your comic updates to look better is to pay attention to the colour scheme of the whole update. Try to make sure that the predominant colour or colours in each panel goes well with the rest of the comic (reading about complementary colours might help you here), but that there is also some variety between the colours used in each panel.

For example, here’s another version of the preview with the approximate main colours in each panel highlighted. As you can see, it mostly uses both an orange/blue colour scheme and a black/purple one (with an orange/purple scheme in one panel and – although it isn’t included in the chart – a slight yellow/purple one in the first and last panel).

This is the whole comic with the (approximate) main colours in each panel highlighted.

Although the mixing of these colour schemes isn’t entirely perfect, it helps to add some visual variety to the comic, whilst also avoiding any of the panels clashing with each other too much.

Taking a step back and thinking about your comic update as a whole can also help you to save time with the art too. If you look again at the preview that I’ve shown you, only three of the panels have detailed backgrounds. In case you can’t see it, here’s a chart:

This is a chart showing the level of background detail in each panel.

Because the detailed panels are spread out between both horizontal “rows” of the comic, this allows me to make a more manageable number of detailed backgrounds whilst still giving the impression that the whole comic is more detailed than it actually is.

After all, the reader never has to go more than one or two panels without seeing a detailed background. So, the comic seems more detailed than it actually is – especially when read quickly. Doing something like this also helps to avoid the visual boredom that can come from seeing lots of undetailed backgrounds next to each other.

Those were just a couple of the ways how looking at your comic update as a whole can improve your comic. You can make your comic updates more instantly visually appealing through the choice and placement of colours, and you can save time by varying the level of background detail in sneaky ways. But, these things only work if you consider each comic update as a whole.

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Sorry for the short and basic article, but I hope it was useful 🙂