Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Ought To Screw With Author Checks on Papers

Wrote this for a college English paper though I feel a bit bad for writing it after the abomination that is my 40 Day WCC.

The Internet is catalyst for change in our world. Whether it is the death of printed media, the pirating of information or the free discussion with people across the globe. Comics have been changed by the Internet also. With the birth of web comics, free from censors and syndication, there has been a boom of web comics, especially over the last 5 years at the technological crowd has grown. The biggest reason for this is that anybody can make a web comic as long as they know the steps to it. The steps to making a web comic are knowing your intent, imagining what you want to write, knowing how to make your comics, knowing how to illustrate your comic and then how to invigorate your comic. Bu knowing you want to make a web comic and following these steps, you can set off on your path.

If you've ever had to write an essay, you should know that without a reason for writing it, you will probably stop writing it once you get bored. The same idea applies for making a web comic. If you don't have an actual reason for making a comic, one to drive on your inspiration to do the comic. you are more likely to fail. To start a web comic you must look into yourself and ask what do I want to do a web comic for. It can be a desire to draw more, an urge to tell a story or the fact that people have asked you to make one; anything that does not require immediate validation such as a desire to make easy money. With your reason in hand, you need to examine your other tools, primarily your creativity.

Anybody who has ever farmed can tell you that you need a firm and rich soil to farm. Making web comics is the same way. If you don't have a strong, fresh and well thought out idea, you are going to risk having your web comic go south. A good idea varies between from person to person and something you may find dumb, a hundred other people might really enjoy. This rule is especially true for judging your own ideas. You will be your worst critic either needlessly loving everything that you do or hating everything that you produce with your pen. You need to define an idea and some features of the story. What is the basic idea of the story? Who will be your characters? What will be the problems that they face? Will your comic even have characters who reappear? Since the Internet is so diverse, you can find a comic on any subject from an imaginary sport called Boxer Hockey to a comic about an Irish doctor who is also a ninja. Some comics even change every day and rarely have reoccurring characters so the choice is really up to you. With your ideas and your will, the next step is to figure out how to make the comic.

There have been several times that the members of GI Joe once said, "Knowing is half the battle." For you as a web comic maker, the same holds true. The other half of the battle is learning how to make your comic. You need to find what medium you enjoy working in. You could make a comic in felt, you could use pencils and scan in the work, you just need to figure it out. Along with your illustration style, you need to figure out your layout. Will it be three sequential panels, a vertical row of panels or a variety of panels stretching across the computer screen? The power is yours to choose. What if you can't draw? The truth is, you don't need to most of the time since by drawing frequently, you can increase you talent base. If you don't wish for your dream to be muddled by your poor artistic ability, you still have nothing to worry about. The Internet have a plethora of artists looking for writers. If you are an artist looking for a writer, you can find them easily. Once you or your team is assembled, you need to prepare to illustrate with words and pictures.

Illustration according to Webster's dictionary is "a picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive." In this case though, words do a profound amount of work. A horribly drawn comic can be salvaged with witty and creative writing while a beautifully drawn comic can die because of generic slapstick writing. When illustrating with pictures, you need to be familiar with comics, figure out your influences and work with them to develop your own style. Ideally this would be referencing how to draw from your idols either personally or through tutorials. If that fails though, you can always attempt to dissect the style by yourself. If you are writing, this is your time to hit the books, namely classic novels and then books relating to your subject. Are you making a comic about cowboys? Learn the lingo, learn the personality, make yourself fully understand the world you are making for your comic. then combine your words and your pictures and begin the hardest part of all - finding your fans.

Anybody can make a comic following my steps so far. Not everybody can find a fanbase. When your comic is ready, you need to have a small buffer of extra strips. These make it easy if you are going to have to miss an update. The question hitting you should be "Where will I host my comic?" The Internet is large enough that there are a variety of hosts willing to assist you with find a home. Starting off on a site like Drunk Duck can be dangerous since there literally hundreds of comics you are competing against. If you have the money, paying for your own website (and some web design) can pay off. It adds an air of professionalism to your comic and allows you to turn a small profit from ads. With your site, you need to begin pulling in readers. The easiest way to do this is through the magic of friends and forums. If you have friends, they'll naturally b interested in whatever projects you are working on. If you are active on a forum, you can simply post a new thread advertising the comic. The only danger though is if you have neither. Then you would need to wait, hope and contact people who do comics that you like. Most of the time if you do a good job, they'll be glad to help you out and send over some fans. From this point on, advising is difficult. If you have a popular topic like gaming, you could be rolling in money within months but if you are working on a comic about applied geography and trigonometry, you might not have any regular fans for years. Still, no matter what happens, the important thing is to keep fighting along.

Web comics are still an emerging media for the most part with only a few rules and restrictions. You can let your imagination go wild with ideas as long as you remember the five steps. If you have your intent, you idea, figure out why and how to do it and then et your comic live and breath, you will have made it. 

1 comment:

Rhythm Bastard said...

Good content, and organized, but a few too many rhetorical questions.

You hit on all the points I would have, re: having an axe to grind going in, and using it to improve everyday, whether it's in art or writing.

Maybe for my blog I should just write a quick song every day, or every week, like Johnathan Coulton.

Keep up with the awesome nerding.