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Taking Comics Seriously

 
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FlapjackStudios



Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 122

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:46 am    Post subject: Taking Comics Seriously Reply with quote

It's interesting, the world of comics. When discussing long term goals with comic creators I find there to be a huge variety of responses regarding motivations, inspiration and overall dedication required to succeed. One thing is certain, all (save for a few) hope their comics become popular, however the amount of effort each artist puts into their work varies and is based off so many other factors. Age, writing and drawing skills, experience, all matter but not all are needed to become popular. Regardless, the one thing that separates the successful comics from the rest is determination, as in, how serious you take your comics. Eat, live, and breathe your comics, night and day, twenty four hours, seven days a week. Go to school, talk to people, mingle and share your work and experiences. This is what I believe it means to truely take your comics seriously.

So I ask you, what is taking comics seriously to you? Are you super serious about your comic endeavors succeeding? Would you be willing to do anything or give up everything to obtain such feats?

Thoughts, opinions?
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JFD



Joined: 25 Jan 2014
Posts: 61

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like any project, starting a webcomic isn't an endeavour to take lightly. I thought a long time about Heroes (or not) and I had even drawn a few pages (1-4) before I was even sure I would put the comic online.

That may be just a personality trait though - I'm a Libra and that means I take a ridiculous amount of time to take a decision but once I'm set in motion, no mountain is too high.

I think it's important to have a long-term objective (otherwise, there's no point in starting) but small goals along the way keep you going. For me, it was to satisfy my need for creation and improve my abilities (kind of a carrot on a stick kind of objective), and more concrete ones like reaching 30 pages so I can set up a Project Wonderful account.

There can be varying degrees of involvement - if you have a day job and a family to take care of, you can't obviously dedicate as much time to your comic as when its your only obligation.

My comic is always on my mind somewhat - even at work, I bring pad and pencils to sketch or write down my storyboard during downtime.

My girlfriend says it took over my life. Maybe I should be worried about that >.>

One thing is certain - the amount of time and effort you put into it is directly responsible for the result at the end.
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, you can take starting a webcomic lightly, it's just your comic will suffer for it. But it depends on what your goals are in the first place.

I consider it a serious hobby. I want to do well in it, but there is a real-world line that I shouldn't cross. I still have very real responsibilities and obligations that I need to handle, like paying my bills.

But, like hobbies, it's not something I particularly discuss at work. Most (almost all, actually) of the people I see on a daily basis are much older than me and have distinct differences in what they like.

I do think about it almost constantly, but it's a story that I've had on my mind for over ten years, so that has little to do with it being my artistic project now. The way I think about it has changed a bit since I've started putting it online, but I've always been a big daydreamer.

I've spent a good deal of time toward improving my skills, particularly my art. I wrote my website from scratch because I don't like WordPress and it's important to me that the site is how I want it to be. I read a lot more comics than I ever did before starting a webcomic - some I never would have considered - because making connections is important and it's good to know what else is out there. And, as far as giving more comics a chance goes, I've been pleasantly surprised more than once.

As far as being serious leading to success - it helps. Some of it comes down to how effective you actually are. You could be super serious and dedicate all your time to improving yourself and getting the word out there, but that doesn't say anything about the efficacy of the methods you're actually using. And like everything, there's a fair amount of chance involved.

For the most part, I'm getting what I want out of my comic. If I decide I want more, I'll start pushing more, and I usually push a little here and there. For the moment, I don't have time for something major.
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ewomack
Grand prize winner!


Joined: 05 Jun 2007
Posts: 469

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone has different definitions of success, effort and determination, so it all depends on what you want out of making a comic. Not to mention that some people work themselves into a frenzy for years and never get a whiff of recognition while others work less hard and receive plenty... dedication, hard work and great material isn't enough... webcomics, like most endeavors today, is mostly winner-take-all (or at least winner-take-some). Luck is involved along with that eternal "who you know," which also really comes down to luck. Of course one can make one's own luck, but there are also plenty of factors outside one's control.

Only a small number of comics "make it" (if by this is meant making money or appearing in mainstream media or receiving numerous "likes") because a market can only support so many "winners." And what makes a "winner?" That's really hard to say. As far as webcomic success goes, many cite XKCD as one of the most popular. It's hard to deny its popularity - it has even appeared in the New York Times and the Economist, which is incredible. Good as it is, would anyone claim that it represents the absolute height of what a webcomic can and should achieve? In some ways yes, in some ways no. No one would probably call it an artistic masterpiece. But somehow it has reached a level of popularity that many webcomic artists crave. How did this happen? It's really hard to say.

As for me, I work relatively hard on my webcomic. But I don't pour my life into it because I know the payout probably won't amount to too much even if I did "make it." I enjoy it and so I do it. Many people have told me they enjoy what I do and some have told me they clearly don't. That's all fine. If for some reason my comic suddenly captures the mass public's imagination (and I doubt this will ever happen) then I'll probably enjoy the attention, assuming it doesn't take over my life completely. Until then I'll carry on doing it because I want to. In the end, if you're doing something purely for "success" and not for the love of doing it, you'll burn out eventually.
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Ed Womack
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Lindemannade



Joined: 18 Feb 2014
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewomack wrote:
In the end, if you're doing something purely for "success" and not for the love of doing it, you'll burn out eventually.


Yup, first and foremost for me is enjoying what I'm making, which I didn't do so much with an earlier attempt at a webcomic and I burned out almost immediately.

And in terms of taking it seriously, my comic isn't a narrative so I'm personally not being consumed by characters or storylines, but the comic itself is still usually on my mind. Although it's still early days (my comic's exactly a month old today in fact) it's important to me to try and ensure I stick to a schedule so the amount I need to do doesn't overwhelm me and I keep going. I try to keep a buffer of about a couple of comics (today's an update day and there's not a lot left that needs doing on the next two comics). I think I especially take editing my comic seriously as well, I like staying a couple of weeks ahead because I can look at my work with fresh eyes before uploading it and this will often lead to final tweaks (or overhauls such as with today's comic) that tighten everything up which is important to me since fixing things like pacing is vital to a 'comedy' (I do my best) webcomic.

In terms of level of success, who knows? There are plenty of webcomics and creators I look up to whose success I'll obviously never even come close to (if I ever reach xkcd or SMBC numbers, drinks are on me!) and for me as long as I'm happy making it I'm happy waiting for any minute audience to sloooowly build. I'd say enjoyment is my main goal, and money isn't even a factor for the foreseeable future at least - I'll be surprised if I ever reach a point where I actually consider trying to make any advertising revenue (the few pence it would make me at the moment is not worth bothering with the self-assessment tax forms here in the UK). Maybe that'll change one day, who knows?
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Lavenderbard
^_^


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 840
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly, right now I'm ignoring my webcomic. I doesn't need me, anyway. It'll just keep posting until the story's done.

And I've decided that splitting my attention between Black Flag and my other projects is not efficient. I've slotted the graphic novels directly into the queue, interposed between the novels.

Right now, I'm writing Book 3 of the EFP Epic. (Plus I just put this fantasy-without-magic adventure trilogy up on Amazon -- I've sold about 100 books in the past month... I think that's pretty good for self-published and completely unknown?)

Then I do covers for the two other books I plan to publish this year.

Then I edit Book 2 of the Space Opera Detective Series.

Then I get to work on Black Flag 2. (I would love it if I got it done before the first one finishes posting, but if not, oh well, the webcomic takes a hiatus.)

Anyway, it's got nothing to do with being "successful" for me. I just have stories that need telling. People liking them enough to pay money for them is a bonus. But if nobody likes them... ::shrug:: I write/create until I die, regardless.
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FlapjackStudios



Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 122

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone else, or is this thread gone with the wind?
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2956
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lavenderbard wrote:
(Plus I just put this fantasy-without-magic adventure trilogy up on Amazon -- I've sold about 100 books in the past month... I think that's pretty good for self-published and completely unknown?)

Sounds pretty darn good to me! Congrats! : D
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Lavenderbard
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 840
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

smbhax.com wrote:
Lavenderbard wrote:
(Plus I just put this fantasy-without-magic adventure trilogy up on Amazon -- I've sold about 100 books in the past month... I think that's pretty good for self-published and completely unknown?)

Sounds pretty darn good to me! Congrats! : D


Thanks!
I will now reveal to y'all the secret of my success. (Such as it is.)

I was lucky.

One of my beta-readers for the story recommended it to a friend, and that friend happened to be an author with a small following who posted an enthusiastic review on her blog, Amazon and Goodreads that convinced about 30-35 people to give me a try.

And now you may be thinking "Only 35 people? I thought you said a hundred sales!" I did. Some of the others were people who knew me. Most of them were people who read the first book coming back for the second and third.

So it isn't ALL luck. Some of it's me working hard and doing a good job.

But without luck I seem to be pretty helpless. Sad
When I posted about it myself, I didn't convince anywhere close to 35 people to give it a try. More like six or seven.
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NiK!



Joined: 27 Sep 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FlapjackStudios wrote:
Anyone else, or is this thread gone with the wind?


Hi all, I'm relatively new to this board but I'll chime in.

For me creating webcomics is more about stubborn dedication than becoming popular or rich. I started my webcomic "Heavenly" (www.heavenlycomix.com) close to six years ago as a hobby, and as such I don't have much time to spend working on it. The time I do spend working on it is spent writing and drawing and not doing publicity or promotion. Thus, I have no readership but I now have a library of over 900 strips just waiting to be discovered. Most of those strips I'm proud of, a few I'm REALLY proud of, and some I almost despise. But, the challenge of doing a webcomic was forcing myself to put out three strips a week, no matter what. And that stubborn dedication has kept me going.

For me, the important thing is the creation of art and the creative satisfaction of bringing something new to the world (good or bad), even if it's just for yourself. (Although it would be nice to be able to make money off it).
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ewomack
Grand prize winner!


Joined: 05 Jun 2007
Posts: 469

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nik! That was one of the best "why I do webcomics" posts I've ever seen - and you're definitely doing it for the right reasons and that's just awesomely awesome whether you "succeed" or not... you just like doing it... awesome (did I mention awesome) ... I'm in a similar boat as my comic went live around 7 years ago and, up until the last month or so, I posted a comic every three days mostly because I wanted to... I almost quit because other things are taking my time, but decided instead to compromise and post once a week... sometimes dedication is all you need... and thanks for posting your thoughts...
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Ed Womack
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started my comic because I wanted to get better at drawing. What better way to do that than force myself to update three times a week? I'm of the mind that it's impossible not to get better at something you do everyday. I forced myself to get better by sheer repetition! Also, especially when I first started, I made sure that each and every comic was 100% my absolute best (art-wise, at least.)

Anyway! I'd say that I take my comic pretty seriously.
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