We’re about three months into our little adventure with the crew and I’ve learned a few things. Some of these were obvious. For instance I’m terrible at artwork and the writing for a comic. Writing full blown scripts seems like a piece of cake compared to restricting myself to under 20 words per page. Other tid-bits I knew would be hard and turned out easy to start but a near nightmare to advance, and that is where ComicPress comes in.
Starting out was SOOOO much easier than what I thought. My first criteria, for the comic, was it needed to be hosted on DreamHost along with everything else we run. That pretty much ruled out most of the hosting communities but that’s when Midnight threw in ComicPress. Of course I’ve heard of it and even discussed the idea with tons of people. The problem is I never personally used it so I couldn’t vouch for the product itself as the answer to hosting.
The Good: It’s WordPress. That’s immediately enticing because I’ve been using the open source software for years now and it has only been getting better. On top of it being fantastic blogging software it has tremendous flexibility in tailoring the front and back end. If I need support there are multiple forums for me to read. Next there are several different templates developed requiring zero customization to get your comic going. Perhaps the best selling point, and what sold me, was how many of my favorite comics are using it. Nothing sells better than your friend giving you something you wanted all along.
The Bad: I don’t know a darn thing about PHP. Well I know how to edit existing code but there’s no way I would pursue a job coding, unless they paid me a lot of money. Also don’t know the innards of WordPress if they were spilled in front of me. This means if I want to edit anything I HAVE to read all those forums until I find something remotely similar. Then we have the problem of two artists (well let’s say an artist and a writer) but only one blog path. How in the world do you get us to have separate columns for our posts?
The worst happened recently. There was an upgrade to WordPress that nuked the comic viewing. None of the posted comics would display unless it was on the homepage. Brought up the forums a couple of weeks later and found a defect database where there was a bug that matched my problem. The solution required me to have detailed knowledge, which I don’t have. Tried contacting Tyler with no luck. Eventually I spent 2 weeks learning PHP and debugged it myself. I’m not complaining that I had to learn something new, but that there was ZERO communication. It was almost as if those guys could care less about me good or bad.
Do I recommend this product? Yes, it is a brilliant piece of work that deserves respect. Just understand that unless you are a current paying customer you’re going to be ignored. Shoot, I offered to pay for their time and got nothing.
There’s been a little bit of Internet Noise over this new theory of â€œ10 dollars per readerâ€ started by that other site, the one that is stupid (Are we still enemies? If not, I’m sorry). I really wanted to do a quick sound off of my take on the whole thing.
I am all for Web comic creators making money. I think this buzz has gotten creators to think a little more aggressively about going out and getting money. This is good. Just waiting for your money to show up is a sure fire way to fail.
Here are a couple things that I would like to say to all you comic creators as a potential $10.
This is probably true of almost every Con but I’ve only been to two and both are very different. 2007 was much better then last year but then that’s like saying this egg is better then that one because it doesn’t have an unborn chick in it. Last year was a disaster on a scale only New York can do right. I still had fun but it led to a lot of pre-planning this year.
First let’s say that New York is a great location but a terrible place to hold a convention. All that stuff that makes NYC great (culture, easy to travel, huge city, history, etc.) make it a pain to attend. Continue reading
In my web comic trawl this evening I had the fortune to come across some very cool online videos. I love coming across web comic sites that include a section about how the cartoonists create their comics. In these two cases the cartoonists made videos in which you can see their process from start to finish as it happens.
First up, Krishna of PC Weenies has just recently posted the video “How I Draw The PCW (Part 1)“. Continue reading
Following along with my “How To” posts we next have a look at the excellent process explanation found over at RPG World. Ian J. takes the read all the way through his process for creating his comic beginning with the pencil sketch.
Ian uses a non-photo blue pencil to rough out the comic first. For those that don’t know, non-photo blue won’t be picked up by scanners when you scan the image in “black & white” mode. This means Ian can ink over the pencil drawings and not have to worry about erasing the pencil work. Continue reading
As the time gets closer to me actually posting my first comic on this site I thought it would be appropriate to make another How To post. Here we have the “Newbie’s Guide to Webcomics” from the folks over at Slackercomics.com.
The guide starts off with a screen shot of an actual web comic annotated with details that dissect the typical features of a web comic site. It is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but helpful none the less.
Not a few hours after I came up with the idea to put up these ‘How To’ posts did I read Friday’s blog post by Wes Molebash, artist behind the comic ‘You’ll Have That‘. The post gives extensive detail on how he creates his comic.
Fans of the behind the scenes look at comic creator’s processes will find a lot to love here. Wes provides photos of each stage of comic creation and details how he goes about his work. The post focuses in his inking technique, so we don’t get to read about his writing process or any computer work involved.
If you’ve been spending any time at all reading web comics you’ll come across similar features that web comic sites have and one of those features is sometimes a step by step walkthrough of how the artist creates their comic. I’m going to kick off a series a posts here about creating comics and, more specifically, comics for the web. There are a ton of online resources on this topic, but the very best and most enlightening come from web comic creators themselves explaining how they do their own thing. So, the series of posts marked with [How To] will explore various artists’ pages that explain how they work their magic.
The first one I want to talk about can be found at InkTank.com, a site that is home to a couple of web comics all by artist Barry Smith. The comic that Barry uses to explain his process is his own “Angst Technology”. We haven’t discussed Angst yet on the show, but look for it as a future pick of mine.
Barry has one of the most thorough explanations of a web comic creation process that I’ve ever found online. You can read his whole process on the page Creating Angst Technology. Barry starts off with a description of the tools he uses to create the comic. A common set of questions aspiring artists have for their favorite cartoonists invariably begin with what type of pens are used, what type of pencils, etc. Here Barry goes into great detail even going so far as to list various prices.
Then he includes a page about how he comes up with ideas for his comic, also a very common question creators are asked. This topic, though, is often left a mystery. Creators rarely want to reveal their writing process. Barry gives an honest discussion here about how he copes with one of the most difficult aspects of creating a comic, the idea.
Barry steps the reader through his drawing, inking, scanning, and even touch-up processes. He includes photos of the progress as well, a very useful aspect to the descriptions. Now, this isn’t meant as a tutorial. Every comic is created differently and there really isn’t a hard and fast color-by-numbers way of creating any comic strip. This is meant as an explanation of this one artist’s process and a lot can be learned by reading through it. If you’re thinking of creating a comic or looking for an answer to your basic comic creating questions stop over at Ink Tank for a very detailed look at how one artist does it from start to finish.