The webcomic has come into its own in recent years, with a galaxy of stunning creations to suit every taste. One example is Zac Gorman’s standalone format comic strips, which include nifty GIF animation worked into each strip to add a stunning punch. So too does Romantically Apocalyptic by Vitaly S. Alexius. In this morbid cyberpunk story, where two guys try and have some fun in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the animation is sharp and illuminated – like something from Rockstar Games in webcomic form.
So, if you want to create your own webcomic that truly stands out from the crowd, Creative Freedom has some handy advice. Mastering the right look, style and knowing how to market it is going to be a headache. The initial thing to work through is over excitement and having your expectations too high. A webcomic is a piece of art at the end of the day, and like any art worth its weight in gold, you need to put lots of time and effort into it. Yes that might sound a little patronising but we’ve all done it at some point or another. You have this creative vision that’s absolutely awesome, then the excitement kicks in and you think you can run before you can walk. Furthermore, it’s crucial not to put the business before the art.
In an interview with iO9 Spike, the editor of the anthologies Smut Peddler 2012, Smut Peddler 2014, and The Sleep of Reason, writer of Poorcraft (now releasing a page a day online), and creator of Templar, Arizona says: “If I have any advice to offer when it comes to making a webcomic it’s probably from the aspiring pro side: be patient. Don’t expect it to be paying for itself or for you in a year or even two years or maybe even three years. There are a lot of people that assume they can start a webcomic and a year will go by and they can quit the day job, they can pay the rent, they can buy groceries with webcomic money. Don’t assume that will ever go down. Things are more competitive than they’ve ever been these days. More and more talented people are graduating from schools and going straight online to post their work. You’re going to have to be persistent. You’ll have to be punctual and you’ll have to be good to make it—and it won’t happen right away.”
When it comes to genre and style, that’s something you’ll have in the bag anyway, but it’s always good to refresh yourself. Get online and look at those comic styles you think your work is going to be similar to. Things In Squares blog has some superb advice regarding that from webcomic artists. Your animation is going to be a major aspect to the content you’ll be producing on a regular basis, but most importantly, the stories you’ll be telling are going to be what keeps readers coming back for more.
Writing in Make Use Of, Joel Lee says: “A comic with less-than-spectacular art can keep its audience hooked with strong characters, drama, or comedy (XKCD and Cyanide & Happiness are two famous examples). On the other hand, a visually impressive comic with no substance will be shallow and boring (I can’t think of a single successful webcomic that fits the art-but-no-substance description). For best results, it’s best to focus on both art and storytelling, but if you must neglect one for the other, always prioritize storytelling.”
Now, it’s time to host your webcomic. The most important thing for a webcomic site is to be free of superfluous content. A bio, shop and contact page are fine, but always keep it simple. Hosting itself doesn’t have to be complicated either. There’s no shame in going for a domain that’s hosted for free, but if you want complete control, go for a premium hosted domain.
Building a webcomic from the ground up takes a lot of patience and will be a massive learning curve, but the sweet smell of success and building that readership up is worth it.
Artwork, illustrations & infographics
Illustrations and infographics are a great way to get instant visual engagement, but they require clarity, purpose and accuracy to shine and stand out from the rest.