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To those of you who still listen to these old shows: I’d love to use clips of old Webcomics Weekly episodes as jumping-off points for ComicLab discussions. For example, moments in which we express an opinion on something that may have changed over the years… or topics that could lead to further conversation based on outside variables that have changed. Just drop me a line (or hit the comments) with the episode and minute-mark of the section you think would make a good discussion point!
It’s different enough. Get to work.
Here’s the thing. First of all, you’re right. We all grapple with these issues, and we all want to make sure that we’re not unintentionally walking all over someone else’s creative territory. And that’s noble. But you’re right. There are no “new” ideas. So, how do you avoid it?
Pour yourself into the work
To make this comic good — to make it really great — you’re going to write, and re-write, and re-write before you start drawing. And in that process you’re going to identify concepts and push them. Dive deeper. Intensify the things that make the story progress.
In doing this, you’re going to have to reach deeper and deeper into your own psyche as a writer. And that means that this work is going to be more and more uniquely YOU as you craft this storyline. Sure, if you just progress through these story beats without examining them and re-writing them, you might end up doing something that’s somewhat derivative.
But if you’re putting plenty of YOU into the worldbuilding/plot/arcs, you’re going to end up with a unique work that will stand on its own.
In short: Are you worried your story sounds derivative? Write another draft that takes those individual story beats and makes them more intense.
Be aware, but don’t obsess
It’s good to have an awareness of the existing works that share creative space with your own. And, by all means, use that knowledge to avoid sharing too many similarities with those works. But once you’ve done your due diligence (creatively speaking), it’s time to focus on your story — and your story alone. If you keep looking around at other people’s work — even with these noble intentions — you’re not spending enough time paying attention to your own work.
Bottom line: Clear out a little creative space by making sure your work doesn’t share too many aspects with this existing property. And after that, focus on your work. Again, if you’re really hyper-focused on your own creative work, it would be almost impossible to make a significantly identical work to someone else’s comic.
I would say this [liking Instagram content] is the main way in which you gain followers. More so than the Hashtags. more than twitter and more than Facebook This is why you see a larger uptick in the number of followers you receive.
How does this work? What I’m hearing is that the simple act of liking Instagram posts will make the number of followers on my own Instagram skyrocket. That seems… overly simplistic.
Sometimes, I use Hootsuite to schedule posts across several platforms, but I’ve gotten an indication from a few sources that social-media algorithms tend to discriminate against third-party posts. So I tend to post directly more often than not. However, I limit my posts to the “Big Three” — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
UPDATE: I’ve made a post on the topic, complete with my analysis. I’d like to hear more thoughts on this, so please head over to the post to continue the discussion. And a super-massive hat-tip to Mark for being way out front on this!
I am unable to replicate this. I signed out of Patreon, and then visited several Patreon pages. Each time, I get the public-facing page, with the intro copy and recent posts. This was true for both desktop and mobile visits.
We use it on ComicLab, and people actually use it — and seem to appreciate it. There have been a handful of beneficial, engaging discussions.
I use it for my own, personal Patreon, and there is absolutely zero engagement.
I’ll second the endorsement for Dreamhost.
I’d also add this — if you really consider yourself a hobbyist, then my advice would be to use a free service like Webtoons (or even Tumblr). If you progress to the point at which you want to turn this into a business, I would recommend having your own site. But otherwise, open a Webtoons account, post you stuff there, and call it a day! 🙂
Looking at your site, I have to wonder why you don’t simply use the Comic Easel theme — which would instantly place everything you’re talking about, like navigation buttons — and then adjust it to look the way you want it. It seems to me that you’re kind of re-inventing the wheel right now…
That being said, for the most accurate information on the under-the-hood workings of Comic Easel, get in touch with Philip Hofer. He’s very responsive, and he’ll give you the most accurate information.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Brad Guigar.
Wow! Thank you for sharing that! That’s phenomenal information. And congratulations on what sounds like an incredibly successful Kickstarter!
(1) I can’t stress this enough. The reading experience on that website is horrible. Reading a strip in a mobius loop that brings you back to the first panel is the absolute worst. You cannot abandon that quickly enough.
(2) Writing — a step in the right direction! I see action! However… you composed those scenes the way I’d compose a workplace safety video. Detached, emotionless, distant. As a result, I don’t care about the characters. And that’s more fatal than a knife in the back. Here’s an alternative:
Hyper close-up of a baby in its crib. The onsie is soft and downy. It might have a cute cartoon character on it. There’s a mobile overhead with cheery, happy figures. A pacifier lays askew, alongside a peaceful head.
The scene pulls back somewhat, revealing more tender details in the room — a baby monitor, a fuzzy blanket, stuffed animals, etc. — AND a shadow of a man raising a large knife falls over the defenceless infant.
Tight shot — bad guy in the foreground, infant in the background. The man’s eyes are narrowed cruelly. The knife is at the baby’s throat.
Ultra-tight shot of the bad guy’s eye — wide open in shock.
Wide shot… we can see most of the nursery now. The baby is asleep, the would-be murderer is dead, and over him stands a figure — partially in shadow — but the scene is cropped so we only see this standing figure up to his or her waist.
END OF PAGE.
Now YOU come up with an alternate that’s even better.
(3) Drawing — You’re struggling with all of the problems of a first-time artist… perspective, proportion, color, line quality, etc. Start collecting books that explain these things. (There are lots of resources here, as a matter of fact.) And consider taking a course at a local community college.
(1) It’s never a bother
(2) If you’re just starting out, everything I pointed out doesn’t mean you’re bad. It means you’re learning. And learning is good.
Every cartoonist whose work you admire started out exactly where you are right now. And then they practiced, and learned, until they got better.
For me, it meant doing a comic strip six days a week, every week, for about five years before I started doing work that I’d consider pretty good. After another five years at 5-days-a-week, I got to the point that I was making work I was rather proud of. 18 years later, I’m nearly… confident(?)
You’ve got a long way to go, but if you love cartooning, it’s going to be an enjoyable trip.
That’s way I asked you “why did you choose to make this a comic?”
If it’s out of expediency (comics are cheaper than films), then you’re in for a rude awakening.
If it’s out of a love for the medium, then get busy on the next thousand or so less-than-awesome comics. They won’t be pretty, but if you work hard, they’ll take you to a place you can be proud of.