Monday, December 7, 2009

How To Get Into Webcomics - Part 2

So let us say for a second now that you've been reading the webcomic for a few months. You get up early on the mornings it updates to check for the new page and to post about it. You like to check the forums at work or at school and see if somebody replied to your pun about “robots” and “bolts”. Well even if you are not to that extreme, my point is that you are enjoying a comic now. You are ready for the next step. Now you need something more: a new comic, a new way to validate your fandom or even to try and make you own comic.
It took you three weeks of heavy reading to get all that way through the MS Paint Adventures archives or you wanted to slowly savor Unwinder's scathing critique of internet culture in small doses. Suddenly though you are lost. You get to the front page of the site and the next button leads nowhere. You have caught up in your reading! Now without that immediate-content high you are feeling like you need a buzz. Something else to focus on. This is where look to start reading bigger webcomics or try something that you see randomly in an ad or on a forum. Feel free to pull something randomly off of the list. You have your main comic so far to stay with. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy as the saying goes.
After a few weeks of trying new webcomics, you feel that urge. You still have feelings for your first webcomic. It was there and it introduced you into the form. You want to repay the feelings. This return for the hardwork and labor is why some webcomic artists get into the game. The easiest way for you to repay the good feeling the comic gave you is to simply donate a few bucks directly to the artist or to buy something that they are selling (or even have somebody get it for you … the holiday season is coming up, after all.) If monetary compensation is out of the way, find a way to increase the audience to the comic. Can you link it to friends who may like the comic? What about using Facebook/Myspace/Twitter to discuss the comic? If social networks are not your thing, write the artist a note of thanks explaining what you like and dislike about the comic. If you’re involved in the comic’s forums, post your thoughts or fan-art there. This is positive reinforcement that webcomic creators enjoy, knowing they touched somebody personally.
Now you may feel that you know the world of webcomics now. You think you might be able to make one yourself. First off, take a moment to think about it. Making a webcomic is a big commitment. You need to go and dedicate your time to do this. Have you ever drawn or written before? Is there any sustainability in the idea? Yes, I DO mean to discourage you from rushing headfirst into the form just because you like it. It is hard to get into especially with little training or talent or background knowledge. As authors working in all literary fields will tell you, you need more to be a good writer than just being an enthusiastic reader. I have written an entire article on the topic here though so that may benefit you if you want to make your own.
Part 1 discussed getting in your first webcomic and community. Here in Part 2 we covered where to go from there. Part 3 will be
next Tuesday where I discuss a bit of forum Netiquette, conventions, and how to have a fulfilling webcomic life without the forums.

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