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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, 11 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.
How long have you been making comics?
Let’s start here. Read this post. All six topics are relevant to you.
Overall, I’d encourage you to re-think your approach completely — from the top down. The font choice, the square word balloons, the sloppy balloon tails — those are all pretty easily fixed, but your webcomics-publishing approach is a guaranteed failure.
Here’s why: You are updating a panel at a time, but your individual panels aren’t strong enough to get new readers to stay. (Read “Standalone Days” in that post I linked). You’re not running ads on your site, so there’s no real reason to parcel these panels out one-by-one. (“Cargo Cult”… and also this post and this post.)
Presenting these panels horizontally in a loop that brings you back to the beginning? That’s a horrible, confusing, unsatisfying reading experience.
You would be much better off completing the entire work — first panel to last — and THEN posting it. Make it one, big reading experience. Lose the horizontal loop and make it a continuous vertical scroll. If not that, break it into chunks of story (chapters?) in which each chunk delivers a satisfying reading experience. And then upload those chapters.
Finally, I want you to reflect on why you chose comics as a vehicle to deliver your thoughts.
Your art isn’t very good. Your approach to cartooning basics (lettering, for example) shows little attention to detail. And all of that is OK if your writing is strong. But it’s not. It’s dotted with misspellings, sentence fragments, incorrect punctuation… But worse than the mechanics, your writing has structural flaws. Take the manner in which the third panel transitions into the fourth one. In Panel 3, man starts telling a story. And then halfway through, in panel 4, the girl sits up in bed and asks for a story?! (At least I’m assuming that’s the case — the lack of word-balloon tails in Panel 4 makes it difficult to tell who is delivering which lines.) Worst of all? It’s boring. You’ve dropped us into a boring exposition dialogue instead of immersing us in something engaging.
So, any discussion of this has to come down to one, crucial question: Why did you choose to make this a comic? Why not a short story? Or an animation? Or a play? Or a film?
Here’s my five-step plan for you (and anyone else having this problem)
STEP ONE: Ignore the post and let it filter to the bottom of the tank. Unless you amplify it, it will die a timely death.
STEP TWO: Do your comic, and post the best work you can. If good work takes longer, then put longer into it. It’s not 2005 anymore.
STEP THREE: When you post your comic, hit social media with excitement.
STEP FOUR: Take time for self-care and handle the things in your personal life that you need to handle. Those things are important.
STEP FIVE: Look back in a week, and realize that – even though this person chose a shitty way to express it — it’s kinda cool that your work elicited a passionate response. You’re doing something right.
Now… to help aid this process along…
In your social media, I want you to improve the tone you’re setting.
Go back and look at the number of times on that Facebook page where *you* make the topic all about “timeliness.”
I see a lot of “almost done” and “making progress” posts. I see directions for readers who “don’t want to wait.” I see notifications about delays. I see “almost done’ and —— good golly —— slashed tires! (That last one wasn’t your fault, though.)
Here’s my point… you’re the one who keeps bringing up time. You can’t be surprised that your readers are going to talk about it, too.
What to do?
You’re in charge of that page. You set the tone!
Stop making it about early and late and delay and soon and sorry.
Start making it about the comic update itself. The plot and the drawing and the passion and the excitement.
You’ll be amazed! Your reader will follow your lead.
And when the quality of your work is strong, you’ll see that nobody cares so much about the when … especially when they’re so focused on the wow.
Now shake this off and get back to making good comics. 🙂
Since each update needs to be a standalone reading experience, I work in half-page installments. When I’m writing I’ll use the same “Cascading Brainstorming” technique — which we discussed in this episode of ComicLab as well. It’s exactly the same process.
Here’s where there may be confusion. In the first image, you’re seeing four items stacked one-on-top-of-another, and so you may be assuming that I make four boxes — one for each panel — and then fill them in. But, if you look at the subsequent images, you’ll see that I continue writing down the page. And then, if I’m still not “there” yet, I’ll start a new column and write my way down again. And then onto the next page… and the next page. And at any point, in any column, I might branch off and start a new column.
The number of panels is the absolute last thing on my mind. Good gosh, even when Evil Inc was a strip, it was sometimes 4 panels, sometimes three, sometimes two, sometimes one… and sometimes nine or ten!
That’s because writing a good comic has nothing to do with the number of panels.
The point is to write something that works.
Once I get to that point, it’s time to edit — and edit and edit.
Only then do I start counting panels.
Some of my half-pages have seven panels, some of them have six, some of them have eight.
If that’s what it takes to make that specific update work, then it’s up to me to find a way to do it (or re-edit it some more).
But the number of panels is — literally — the last thing on my mind. 🙂
So, it looks as if you upload an image, and then they find matches (doing a Google Image search or the equivalent), and then go after copyright infringers.
I’m not sure what it would find for someone like me. Let’s say I upload a bunch of comics pages. Now, the most likely case of image-based copyright abuse I’m likely to face would be someone who takes a piece of the page (like a panel or a drawing of a character) and uses it on a T-shirt.
I’m not sure that’s going to happen often enough to justify all of the extra work that I’d be putting into it.
Let’s say I’m willing to accept what “in the future, this is what we will become” implies. (I’m not.) I see three separate promises:
If we find an infringement we give you simple actions to take against the infringer.
Also, we help you make money with your copyrighted work.
Imagine that companies that want to use copyrighted work can instantly find the owner and pay them.
(1) How? I can file a DMCA easily enough. And then what?
(2) How? This seems pretty important.
(3) The problem is definitely NOT companies who want to pay copyright-holders. Those folks generally find a way. The REAL problem is people who DON’T want to pay. And they seem to ALWAYS find a way.
In short: Lots of promises. No clear strategy. My advice is to avoid them for now and keep tabs on them in case they come up with something concrete.
I don’t see a price breakdown on the site. Do you know what the service costs?
That’s a route that I haven’t taken, but I would advise a straight-forward approach:
• Create social media in the pseudonym’s name.
• Promote from the pseudonym’s accounts.
• Whenever appropriate use any of your other accounts to direct traffic to the pseudonym’s accounts (with retweets, shares, likes, etc.)
Now, the hard part. Patreon is powered by personal connections. People tend to back creators on Patreon for personal reasons. (For example, “I like this artist… I appreciate what she represents…”) That’s not a stopper for you. But it does mean that your work is going to have to do all the heavy lifting. If the work isn’t top quality, it’s going to founder.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Brad Guigar.
I’m going back through my notes, but none come to mind — but I’ve completely abandoned advertising for several years now. In my experience, most SFW ad networks disallow adult content, and those that do allow NSFW publishers tend to serve ads that are similarly NSFW.