Three Tips For Taking Inspiration From Other (Web)Comics, Whilst Keeping Your Webcomic Original

Well, at the time of writing, I’m still busy making a webcomic mini series for late February.

So, I though that I’d give a few tips about how to apply the proper techniques for taking inspiration to making webcomics, whilst also ensuring that your webcomic is still an original webcomic.

1) Humour styles: One of the best ways to take inspiration from other comics and webcomics is simply to read multiple (seriously, more than one!) other webcomics/comics until you start to get a sense of how the humour in these comics “works”. To get a sense of what the “rules” are for the humour in the webcomics you’ve read. To see what they have in common and what differs from webcomic to webcomic.

Once you’ve got this, try to think of a different situation or a different subject for your humour. Then, using the mixture of “rules” you’ve learnt from the webcomics you’ve read, try to see how you can turn this into something new that is also amusing.

Look at the general humour style in two or more webcomics and then try to find a way to apply the “rules” you have learnt from them to your own webcomic, using new subject matter and new jokes that are actually relevant to your characters.

2) Other inspirations: Even if you are mostly taking inspiration from one other webcomic, you can still make sure that your own comics are actually original by ensuring that you also take lots of inspiration from things that aren’t webcomics.

This will help to ensure that your inspired webcomics are still very much their own thing, even if they may be vaguely reminiscent of another webcomic.

Having other inspirations is also especially important with the art in your webcomic too, since this can help to give your webcomic a more unique and distinctive look, whilst also helping you to develop your own unique art style at the same time.

Of course, if you already have your own art style, then you don’t need to do this (although you should obviously always be on the lookout for techniques etc… you can use to improve your art).

3) Common sources: This is kind of the opposite of the previous two points on the list and it can work just as well, provided that you don’t mix it with anything else on the list.

Basically, look at a couple of webcomics and see what kind of general subject matter they tend to use in a lot of their comics (eg: videogames, politics, everyday life etc..) and then do some research about that particular subject.

Once you’ve done some research, try to come up with new jokes and ideas about the subject in question. This will help you to think of a topic for your next comic update and it will allow you to create comics that are “in the tradition of” your favourite webcomics. However, you should pay extra attention to making sure that the characters, jokes etc.. are different enough from your inspiration.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Two Random Tips That Might Help You Plan Your Webcomic

2017-artwork-two-things-that-can-help-webcomic-planning

Well, at the time of writing, I’m still busy preparing this year’s Christmas webcomic mini series. But, unlike one or two of my previous mini series, I actually planned this one a day or two before I started making it. This has made the whole process of making the webcomic run a lot more smoothly, as well as increasing the quality of the writing too(compared to slightly more unplanned mini series, like one that will appear here at the end of the month).

But, surprisingly, the planning process for this webcomic went surprisingly quickly. I literally planned the entire thing out within less than an hour (not only that, I was also fairly tired at the time).

Although I won’t be talking about the practical details of planning a webcomic here (since it’s different for everyone – I like making ultra-rough sketches of the comics, but some people prefer to do things like writing scripts etc..) I’ll be talking briefly about two things that can help the planning process go more smoothly:

1) Music: Unless you need absolute silence in order to think creatively, a good choice of background music is essential when you are planning a comic. Whilst only you know how your imagination works, it’s usually a good idea to go for music that sums up the theme and/or the emotional tone of your comic.

For example, when planning my Christmas mini series, I listened to “Anxiety” by Bad Religion on repeat. This is an ultra-fast, ultra-cynical punk song from the late 1980s, and it might not seem like a “Christmas song” at first. But, since my Christmas comics tend to take a more cynical view of the holiday and since Christmas also tends to fill me with retro nostalgia (usually for the 1990s, but occasionally for things made in the 1980s), this song seemed to encapsulate both things perfectly. Like in this preview of a panel from the upcoming mini series:

The full comic update will be posted here on the 21st December.

The full comic update will be posted here on the 21st December.

So, choosing music that sums up the emotional tone of your comic is probably more important than music that just fits into the theme of your comic. But, music that fits into the theme of your comic can still be useful when you need to get into the mood for planning a comic.

2) Have a vague idea (before you plan): I know that this might sound obvious but, comic planning tends to go best when you already have a vague idea of what sort of comics you want to make. Many of the times that I’ve gone into making a webcomic mini series without sufficient planning have been when I’ve thought “I should really make some comics, since I haven’t made any in a while. But, about what? Meh. I’ll make it up as I go along.”

Most of the times when I’ve planned a comic properly have been when I’ve at least had some vague idea that I could start with, such as “I want to make cynical comics about Christmas again, like last year“, “I want to make a cyberpunk comic“, “I want to make a comic that’s like something from ‘Sherlock Holmes’ or ‘Poirot’ “, “I want to make another cyberpunk comic“, “I want to make super-detailed large comics“, or ” I want to make yet another cyberpunk comic” etc..

So, although planning will help you to work out the details of your webcomic updates, make sure that you have a vague idea of the general concept of your comic before you start planning. If nothing else, having a basic idea to expand from gives you the confidence to get on with planning straight away (rather than just sitting in front of a blank notebook page uncertainly).

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