Webcomic Workshop #4

This week, the podcast is covering the following:

  • Dawn: Is going on hiatus to build a buffer and relaunch your site worth the loss of readership?
  • Ken: PRO TIP QUESTION: What types of brush techniques are you using and if you downloaded brush presets – where did you get them? Dawn – Illustrator, Byron – Photoshop, and Antoine – are you experimenting and what is it you’re looking for?
  • Byron: Should I split a table or not at a Con? Or if I do, should the other comic be similar or polar opposite of my comic?
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  1. Not the best podcast, probably because something very important is missing, like Canadian content or something! ok, just kidding πŸ˜›

    Here are the “Ghost”‘s answers

    Hiatus: I’ve been on hiatus this year, and trust me on this, if I had a buffer, it would have been better. I lost readership because of it. So, if I can afford it, I’ll build a buffer, especially when a webcomic is a longform storyline and the script has been written for quite a while. But on the other hand, if your readers are using your RSS feed, rare are the ones that would remove your feed from their RSS Reader. So basically, once you are back, your readers will be back.

    Brushes: I use Illustrator and I actually used Dawn’s mini-tutorial she mad a while back: http://www.webcomicalliance.com/helpful-hints/digital-inking-101/

    I love using vectors. As an example, when I draw backgrounds such as building, I would draw a small brush stroke and simply extend it as a full line. That way, you get a straight line that looks a little more “hand drawn”.
    I did try Manga Studio & Photoshop for inking but I guess the time I needed to learn, adjust settings, etc.. was too high for my taste πŸ˜›

  2. Great podcast, folks.

    Byron: In order to get that ‘paper’ feel while drawing with a tablet, you can cheat and stick a piece of notepad paper on your tablet. While I was transitioning from table to tablet, that was the most difficult part – getting used to the feel of the tablet. Try it out if you’re ever using Photoshop for drawing again.

  3. RE hiatus- I’d much rather wait for a well defined hiatus than to read excuses and apologies week after week about why the comic isn’t posted. The constant “I’m sorry my dog is sick” posts are a real turn off, but if the creator says “I am taking a month off to build up a collection of great work” then who am I to argue? Just my 2 cents πŸ™‚

  4. On a buffer- When I first got a webpage I had been doing my pages before I posted them and posting them to deviantart. I built up a buffer by slowly speeding up my pace. Now I’m about two weeks ahead and I’m back to a slower pace where I can work on building up quality.

    My deadline isn’t the posting day, it’s two weeks before. I may just be a little obsessed with productivity though. I haven’t missed an update in 3 years. 3 days a week.

    For Brushes- I have downloaded quite a few and learned how to make my own.
    But these two are my favorite sets by others. I Ink traditionally but color in photoshop and use these a lot.

    The second set has a lot of amazing traditional imitation brushes. I ended up renaming some of them based on how much I used them. EraserX is a comic book colorist.

    No personal experiences based on tabling together.

    • When I was updating twice a week this worked fairly well for me, too. I was doing Monday/Thursday updates. However, I started doing two days of comic, one day off, two days of comic work, one day off — instead of just working on the comic two days before the deadline. This gradually got me into a position where I was a full week ahead by the end of my story arc, and I even slacked off a couple times!

      It also gave me more time to get other things done that I needed to do and made me feel less stressed about the comic overall.

  5. Your podcast is refreshing to listen to. I can’t stand Webcomics Weekly anymore, those guys are too full of themselves and seem to really look down on the aspiring creators.

    • Well, Bill, there’s plenty of room in this vast internet for any type of podcast. I’m not gonna dance around your comment, it’s your opinion and not exactly one I share. I am not a listener of their podcast, but not for the reasons you state.

      If you really want to make a difference, go over and post your comment on their podcast. If enough people share your opinion, then they should take note.

      Free world, man, is my bottom line. I’m glad you like our podcast!

  6. I’ve used Corel Painter for years and though I’ve tried MANY other programs to draw in I always come back to Painter. It’s MADE for artists. Any brush, pencil, pastel, oil you want it has it pre-made.

    Give it a shot!

  7. I’m really curious — Dawn, did you decide to make a buffer or not after this podcast? If not, why? If so, have you benefited from it, and did you keep it? (I’m going through everything backwards, so if this already answered in a later podcast I apologize for the foolish question. I’m just slow and catching up!)

    For me, buffer is key, particularly since my work is dramatic long-form. Having more time to review and rework before it’s permanent (ie-online) is very, very important. Sometimes just a single careless statement by a character can have a massive impact on the reader’s understanding of the world. When I did SoG I was eight pages ahead, and it wasn’t enough for me to catch plot-screw-ups before they were online. I constantly painted myself in corners that I’d have to do wire-fu gymnastics to get out of. For LeyLines I’m maintaining a buffer of 20+ pages, and it has been SO helpful for story flow. I can re-arrange scenes, correct dialog, and fix culture elements long before I post, which has really helped me avoid a lot of plot-blocks. The downside is that there is no immediacy for my work, which causes its own problems.

    On the final thought: Dawn, thank you for the spin on this point, because I do the same thing. I was making comics for syndicate submissions by about 13 as well, and I haven’t stopped working since. I really struggle with taking breaks, whether to just read a book or take a walk or play a video game, because all I can think about is how I COULD be using that time more productively…by making comics. This causes a lot of boom/bust creative behavior, so I’m still trying to learn to take a step back. So far, I’ve learned to trick my brain by convincing it “Recharge Time” is an important and productive activity. Oh, sure, it may LOOK like goofing off, but it is in fact CRITICAL to…uh…efficiency. Yeah. That’s it…

    • Hiya Robin. To tell the truth, tho I see a great benefit in having a buffer, I have not been able to get one started. Every time I see a break coming, I get blindsided by MORE work. (ie: “finishing Z&F volume 2 in a week, THEN I’ll do an extra comic each week and get a buffer started… oh wait, the new Abby kids book is written and needs to be illustrated ASAP in time for Christmas… nevermind). Even when I got married and took off 2 months (while posting a bunch of guest art 3x a week), I couldn’t find time for creating a buffer because I spent the entire time giving the website a much needed revamp (also per suggestion of my WA buddies). It just never seems to work out. But in 4 years of Z&F I have never missed a post that wasn’t planned prior and filled with a contest or guest art.
      However, being that Z&F is not a long form comic and the story arcs I DO have are simple enough, it’s not a huge deal for me. I can see how it affects your comic, definitely. For me, it’s just the scheduling/stress/needing recharge time benefits. Which, like you, I need to beat it into my head that recharge time is not just me being a lazy slacker…. as the voices in my head mock me for when I take a couple hours off.
      Which, oddly enough is the focus of one of the next podcasts to go live soon, so stay tuned for that!

      • Awesome! I’ll be looking forward to that podcast, because I will take any technique I can get to combat those damn voices. My last vacation I combined holiday and vacation days to get a whole week…and I spent the whole time stressing about how I was wasting my time, or going to waste my time, or going to waste time by worrying about wasting time. To this day, I find it a miracle my boyfriend didn’t push me into a creek to get away from my “MUST WORK MOAR NOW” fretting!

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