I'm thinking of making my own webcomic, do you have any tips?
Hi Hellandye!!! Sorry I took so long to answer this! I knew I needed a lot of time to spend on it… anyway, I’m excited you’re starting a webcomic! :D Everyone works on comics differently but I’ll tell you what helps me and maybe it’ll help you u vu)b if you’re struggling with something, let me know and I bet I could come up with another way to work on it!
1) Draw for print
- When starting a comic, I’d always recommend drawing it at a size that can be printed bc you never know if you’ll want to print it later! Choose a size that’s good for you. 8.5″x11″, 7″x10.5″, etc. TINF is 5.25″x7.75″. (It’s recommended to draw your comic even larger than you want the final size to be, just make sure the ratio is the same! Things always look better sized down…)
- Even if you draw your comic traditionally, make sure to scan it in and do any digital edits at a resolution no lower than 300dpi. If your resolution is lower than that, the quality won’t be as good when printed!
- For each page I have the full size 300dpi PSD + a sized down for-web jpg (for ex, 600px wide, 72dpi).
- When you’re printing, you need a lot of space for margins and bleed areas that could get cut off during the print process! I’m really, truly awful about knowing this stuff tho, so I recommend googling it and checking out what printers suggest for margins and sizes for safe drawing areas. I think generally, all together, you leave 0.75″ of space around your page or something? I don’t remember the specifics but I think I usually just leave like an inch border all around LOL.
- The plot! If there’s no plot, what’s the goal? Maybe the goal is “everyone becomes friends and life is beautiful.” If that’s the case, then most of the things that happen in the comic are pointing the characters towards that goal. (Don’t get me wrong: not every single chapter has to be plot- or goal-driven. Character development arcs are great too! But what’s an anime with 900 filler episodes? No thanks…)
- The important points of the comic! I made a bullet point list of all the important things I wanted readers to become aware of in some way in TINF (for ex, I wrote: “unknowingly meet Sydney Morgan’s publicist; meet actor Vincent Fawkes; Selby’s handwriting matches Sydney Morgan’s; Isaiah becomes suspicious of Landon and regrets ‘hiring’ him,” etc)
- I’m like the biggest fan of summaries EVER!!! Do a summary of your entire story. How do you want to introduce it? What’s the climax? How does it end? Really plan the beginning/end: the beginning is the backbone of the comic since it introduces the story (I regret TINF’s beginning everyday of my life, save me) + the end will be the driving force for it. The end of TINF is planned as, well… you guessed it, a summary, but I know what’s gonna go down.
- Similarly, I do summaries of all my chapters: the beginning scene is concrete and planned out, the middle is kind of a general thought (in which you decide what you want to happen but the why can be messed around with), and the end scene is always concrete and planned out.
- I leave the middle a general thought because comics are wild n free so it’s a lot easier to be loose and not get attached to a single idea. If you have single ideas for scenes that you’re super attached to, it becomes a real struggle because thoughts don’t always remain awesome when visualized… :’(
I’ve got my story, now how far ahead should I plan ahead?
- Erm… I’m bad at this. This kind of thing changes the more you do comics. When I first started TINF, I had a Google doc of bullet points and ideas for about 15 chapters and I’d thumbnail at least half the chapter before I started on it. Thumbnailing a chapter is really great if you’re unsure about pacing: it helps make sure you don’t have a 50 pg intro scene, 11 pgs spent in the bathroom, and 30 pages of staring each other down DBZ style. It keeps you succinct so when someone checks back on your comic 5 months later you’re not still drawing the characters in the same room, having the same conversation about whether they should go to the mall or not. Once you get the hang of your pacing style, you can kind of procrastinate more… but… y-YOU SHOULDN’T… (don’t look at me)
(Thumbnails are tiny versions of your pages. They’re generally sketchy and loose and are used to plan your comic visually.)
- I put this in its own section outside of planning because thumbnails are 9000% the most important thing in my life :’D Some people work with scripts and, while I’ve planned through dialogue countless times, 1) you can’t put that much text into a page, 2) written dialogue moves a lot slower than visual dialogue in a comic–a “short” typed conversation can be pages and pages–so sometimes it’s better to plan the comic at the same time as the dialogue so the pacing is more natural. Or, if you do a script, maybe it’s not like a 100% must-be-their-dialogue type of thing.
- Plan everything in your thumbnails: the perspective, how to draw that weird hand, where the speech bubbles are going to go (nothing worse than drawing a bg then covering it w/a bubble)… be precise! Do not stop thumbnailing if you can’t figure something out. Solve all your problems in the thumbnail stage!!!
- I promise if you plan everything in the thumbnails (even greys/colors), inking your page will be SO FAST!!! It’ll be awesome. My record so far is 11 comic pgs in a day… (never again, please)
- I do my thumbnails the same size ratio as a normal pg bc it makes life easier… :’)
- Here’s an ex of my thumbnails:
(link for fullsize–I lit draw them at this size)
- Always show a friend your comics or tell them your ideas and get feedback!! It’s really easy to get lost in our own little world where everything makes sense but, honestly, a lot of things in our heads are trainwrecks. I always tell my chapter ideas or show my thumbnails or pages to a friend before releasing them into the world… (the crowd cheers and someone falls to their knees, shouting praises into the air, for not having to experience my unfiltered mind)
5) Little Nicole Things
(Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s you too! Be wild, be free, you can make comics in an infinite amount of ways, but here are some things that I think about a lot.)
The amount of text in…
- The introduction! I’m a visual person. I generally don’t like to read. My #1 advice if you want to hook someone into your comic during the introduction is NOT to start off with a wall of text explaining everything. A straight-to-the-point, attention-grabbing introduction won’t put readers to sleep in the first 5 pgs of the comic while struggling to hit the ‘next’ button.
- Speech bubbles! Don’t overload speech bubbles with text. If you have like 5 sentences in 1 speech bubble that’s probably too much. I know this is some style of comics so, definitely, if it’s your desire, go for it! But when things get wordy, my attention span wavers…
- Pacing is super tough especially when you want 900 things to happen in your comic. If you’re drawing a graphic novel or releasing your comic a chapter or more at a time, def go wild and free with pacing! I ENCOURAGE IT… it’s great.
- BUT if you’re doing a once- or twice-a-week updated webcomic, the pacing is a lot more important. Something that helps me is: try to make at least 1 interesting thing happen in your page. If you have 1 exciting moment in your page, the tiny update for that week, hopefully, won’t feel unsatisfying.
- Please remember to resize the page for web! Nothing is less exciting than having a 5000px wide image where I can’t even see one panel on the screen at a time.
Handwriting vs Font
- Laughs darkly into the night over my handwriting… hi, hello there. Generally, it’s a lot easier and neater to use a font! When doing handwriting, I’d recommend using all caps because having all the letters at the same size is very smooth to read.
- When doing handwriting, only use the hat/tail on an uppercase “I” if the “I” is the beginning of the sentence or if it’s the pronoun. For the rest, simply write it as a straight line.
- I’m going to tell you all a secret: all I do is blow up my thumbnails and ink over them. I don’t sketch. ~ur welcome~
6) Random tipz
- Don’t get too attached to anything! Nothing destroys your entire being more than not being able to portray the scene you’ve been dreaming about for 900 years in your head perfectly.
- Don’t force an idea! If you’re not feeling something, don’t do it. If you make your comic Everything You Love then, well, you’ll love it! If you’re bored with something, the readers will probably get bored too.
- Progress will be fast so don’t let it get you down! It’s easy to want to give up or start over but you won’t get anywhere unless you keep pushing forward. Yes, I regret drawing like infinite # of TINF pgs, but usually you like it better later. Or, if you hate it… well… oh well… :’) verily, that is the way of the world… let’s do better next time!
Do 900 TINF cameos Don’t be me :’)
7) HAVE FUN!!!
- Comics can be as experimental as you want and there’s no “right” way to make them. If you decide you hated everything I said, that’s ok! Be you, have fun, express yourself, and you’ll love to make comics. And really, as long as you love it, that’s what matters the most! :D
Again, these aren’t “rules” so def do what you like, but maybe these will help! Best wishes Hellandye, lemme know if you start your comic, I wanna see!!! ILU TTvTT)))bbb