Well, at the time of writing, I’m busy preparing this year’s Halloween comic. So, I thought that I’d offer a few stress-reduction tips for making comics and/or webcomics. Apologies if I’ve mentioned any of these before, but they’re worth repeating nonetheless.
1) Plan it!: This is really obvious, but make sure that you have prepared a plan/script for your comic before you start making it. Although it might take you a little bit longer to plan out your comic, this can save you time and stress in the long run. Why? Because it means that you don’t have to worry about writer’s block, writing yourself into a corner etc…
If your comic is planned out in advance, then all you have to worry about is actually drawing it. You don’t have to worry about “what happens next” because you’ve already worried about that before you made the comic. Planning your comic also allows you to see whether your comic idea is a good one or not before you invest any serious time or effort into it. This means your comic is much less likely to fail.
Likewise, make sure that you have a “buffer” of pre-made comic pages before you post any of them online. What this means is that you’ll have a bit more leeway when it comes to deadlines (since you have several pre-made pages queued up), meaning that your self-imposed deadlines will feel a little bit less harsh or stressful than they would be if you had to worry about no comic updates appearing at the appointed time.
2) Put most of the background detail at the beginning: When you start a new comic or webcomic project, you’ll probably be filled with excitement and enthusiasm. However, once you’ve made a few pages, you’ll probably start to find that this initial burst of energy and enthusiasm has faded slightly.
So, plan your comic accordingly! If you dazzle your audience with detailed backgrounds etc… in the early parts of your comic (when you’re feeling more enthusiastic), then set more of the later parts of your comic in locations that are easier to draw (for when your enthusiasm drops slightly), your audience will be less likely to notice the drop in detail because they’ve already seen detailed backgrounds earlier.
Yes, this is a bit of a cheap trick and it needs to be done in a slightly subtle way in order to work properly. But, when done well, it can work!
3) The writing matters most: With comics, the writing actually matters more than the art does. In other words, if you need to make some kind of visual downgrade to the art in order to save your own sanity, then your audience is more likely to forgive this if your comic contains interesting characters, funny jokes etc…
The classic example of this is the webcomic “XKCD” – this is a very popular webcomic that often features basic “stick figure” art. Yet, it is rightly considered to be a great webcomic because of the sophisticated humour and writing. So, yes, the art doesn’t matter as much as you think.
For example, after the stress of making a full-colour comic last Halloween, I decided that the pages of this year’s Halloween comic would mostly be in greyscale/limited colour. Here’s a preview:
Although this was partly a stylistic decision (because it’s a gothic comedy comic) I also chose to use greyscale/limited colour because, if you’ve practiced making this type of art, it can be considerably quicker and easier to make than full-colour art. Likewise, things like digital image editing are also signficantly quicker/easier with this type of art too.
So, don’t be afraid to downgrade the art in your comic for the sake of your sanity. But, don’t downgrade the writing.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂