Friday, 11 January 2013

Making a comic: A joyful happy chamber of torture.

(This entry may not come out right since I'm currently nursing the worst hangover in the history of humanity.)
Right, just so you know, I'm a busy person. At most, I get one or two hours a day to work on my comic. It blows.
I wish I could update at least twice a week, but due to real life responsibilities and commitments the best I can do is once a week. However, single weekly updates brings forth a whole new bag of problems. In some ways they create more work for me.
1) You must wrap up a lot in that single page. Joke, story and punchline. You don't have the luxury of opening a joke then delivering the punchline on the next page. That would be in a week, and by then you'd forgotten the set up for the joke. So you must make a self contained page that not only moves the story forward at a brisk pace but also sets up a joke and delivers the punchline in a very limited amount of space.
2) Less frequent updates mean higher quality pages. That means spending a lot of time in the artwork and dialogue. Get everything just right. Make a rubbish page and you won't get a fresh chance to win new readers till next week. Try making the best page you possibly can.
3) Pacing. You don't get the luxury of establishing mood and setting with grand locale illustrations or long winded back stories.  You gotta move the story along at neck breaking speed otherwise you could easily spend months in a single chapter. People would be bored very quickly.
4) People will forget you. Most people these days have the attention span of a fly on amphetamines. If you're not in their faces constantly, you'll fade from their memory very quickly.
Do stuff to remind them of you outside updates. Screen wallpapers, blogs, Facebook. Build a relationship with your readers and they may remember you not just your comic.
5) Discipline. Sometime, just because you're doing one page per week, you think you can get away without working on your comic for a couple of days. Sure, that brand new game you bought yourself is mighty tempting, but you do run the risk using up your comic making time and missing your update schedule date. You must have a clear timetable and targets, otherwise you'll fall behind.
6) Keep improving. I'm guilty of this one. Sometimes you're so busy and have so little time that you stagnate and stop experimenting. Try new things out and who knows, you might find a new technique that saves you time.
That's a lot of work. I can see why so many webcomics fold so quickly and yet I'm amazed that so many stick to their guns and keep working on it, popular or not, with or without readers. That, in a nutshell, is passion.