Webcomic Workshop #24

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face. Now featuring a listener’s issue each podcast!

This podcast we discuss:  WOW! More Cowbell! It’s a RECAP Episode!

Byron    I’ll recap “acceptance by your artist peers” from #5

Ken    I’ll recap my multiple issuuuues about the blog…

Dawn    I’ll recap my question about small vs. big conventions.

Antoine    I’ll recap preparing for con stuff

Reader’s Issue:  I know first thing would be the name, but what aspects should you change so that it’s not too similar to the person you’re parodying or mocking…like a boss (lol) ? Johnny

Posted in Featured News, Podcast.


  1. I always like the recap issues because I get to see how your experiments have panned out. Thanks for sharing, guys!

    In kinda a combo response to Dawn’s issue and a previous article by Byron on career/job – Based on Bryon’s suggestion of having a plan, I sat down and created a 5-year business outline for what I want to do with LeyLines. When I want to publish books, how I want to grow my additional product offerings, and what conventions I want to attend.

    Instead of starting with the big conventions, in year two I want to do nothing but local cons. Year three, all the locals + one big convention in a city where I have a friend to stay with. Year four, add on another big con, etc. It was a really good exercise for me, and looking at 5 years instead of 1 year really helped give me a more reasonable perspective of what I want to do (instead of OhmygoshDOitNOOOOW!). So thanks in particular to Byron to putting that idea in my head!

    I’d be interested to hear an update later on how the local cons went vs. the big ones – particularly how being a local factored into the experience! OR how the more focused groups (beer fest, concerts, kid events etc) went, and the challenges you faced in doing something more non-conventional.

    • You’re welcome! The old saying is “Not having a plan is planning to fail.” It’s not an easy rule, but once you do it, it seems like a light just goes on and things happen.

      Glad to have helped and remember me when you’re famous! 🙂

    • I’m totally in OMGdoitNOOWWWWW mode. 8 conventions this year. and my bank account is hurtin’.

      Next year I’m cutting back to local or only cons where I can stay w/ friends, for financial reasons more than anything.

    • oh yeah, the local cons, besides the big Philly Wizard World are nothing fancy… hosted in dingy old hotels and such. The crowds are more of the superhero/Marvel/DC fans, rather than webcomic readers. My stuff caters more to the bored moms and kid who were drug there by dad. I sell just enough to make me debate if it’s worth the trouble to do it again, considering the tables are so cheap.

      Still need to look for book fairs and such in the area.

  2. The movie you’re talking about with Devito and Schwarzenegger is Junior. The Walken WOW is awesome. Listen to Jay Mohr do his impersonations of Walken, they’re even better than Walken himself!

    Byron: I wouldn’t worry about confidence. WA and 1977 and any other project you’re involved in has an audience, and those people look up to you and you are providing a lot of things of worth. The problem you have is that you’re mentally devaluing these things, and you shouldn’t. Instead of being envious of others work, be inspired. Turn those negative feelings into positive output – and push through any roadblocks you’ve set for yourself. Ahem… “TOO BAD, TOUGH!”

    Ken: If you’re not interested in cultivating a community through your site, then don’t waste the time. If you still manage to engage with people on G+ or other social media like Twitter, then you’re fine. Just as long as people have a way to connect to you as the artist, and you’re not shutting them out because you don’t have time for them. People feel that energy, and it makes you come off as being unapproachable – and that will suck for con traffic.

    Dawn: That’s a timely issue you have. Scott Kurtz and various other cartoonists are complaining about the same thing. Con burnout and con costs are causing a lot of indie creators to pull back on their visits. I’d suggest sticking around your area and going to one big event rather than stretching yourself too thin. If your return sucks, your best bet is to put that money into an ad campaign and focus on working on getting your merch sold online. Ken’s suggestion also works – our trade show company does that all the time – finding atypical markets for exhibiting at an event. Kid’s shows are right up your alley as a kid-friendly cartoon.

    Antoine: I wouldn’t worry about trying too offer too much at once. You should keep a log of all these sales ideas you have, and roll some of them out each year. Showing your full hand or doing too much at once tends to overwhelm people, especially if they don’t know you. Your merch, some freebies, a giveaways and some con sketching is good enough to carry you or keep you busy for a bit. The next year, you can start adding to your offering if you can handle the workload.

    Johnny: I would avoid using real life people like the plague. If you use characters in your strip that could be considered parodies of people, they could change their minds and turn on you. I’d suggest using personality traits and develop a mixture of character traits so you don’t completely copy the mannerisms of people you know.

    Great podcast, kids – but it needs more cowbell.

  3. I will be curious to see how the pans out for Ken. Personally, I think he’s shooting himself in the foot expecting his readers and his community building to follow him outside his comic to google+ and other social media entities.

    The people I interact with were built on the community within my comics website, the twittering and the google+’ing is a mere extension of that, not the other way around. My view of the independent comic market is one that requires the author to be available to their readers, whether they be other comic creators, or stop on by readers. It might be beneficial while building an interactive audience to update only a few times a week, without the interactive aspect, in a growing and demanding interactive world, I just don’t see an anchor for retention with Rick The Stick presently. However, the opinions expressed by me only have as much value as one assigns to them!

    I get annoyed when I can’t leave a comment, I’m someone who has verbal diarrhea [shocking I know] and if I can’t release it, then you’ve lost me [some consider that a blessing]. Even the established comics interact with their readers by blogging and talking, not necessarily responding back to their reader base individually, but they have things going on at their sites that promote activity. Just to name two, Dave Kellets Sheldon and Ryan Sohmers LICD, both have blog sections and they have forums set up to handle the large amount of readers who wish to be interactive with their comic. I visit Kens site, I get a comic and its appendages and whole lot of nothing else. Where is the link to google+? It’s not even inviting me, the reader to find him there. I see facebook, but I don’t use it, I see twitter, but not everyone likes twitter and I see the RSS feed. How do I interact with him exactly?

    Then I question the validity of using only social media to interact and build your community of peers and readers. We all don’t use twitter, or Facebook, or Google+ and the list goes on. You will almost have to pete-pete and repeat everything you say and do to all the media entities you subscribe to in order to reach all that choose to follow you since none of it is found in a central location, which would be your web site. Now, if Dawn is right [I mean WHEN, never tell a woman “if”] and these various social media entities allow you to stream right from your website, then you’ll have something centrally located that bleeds out to all those other places. People will not be using every social media tool out there, maybe other creators would, but definitely not average readers.

    At a time when he’s doing some of his strongest work with the comic, I hope his experiment proves worthy. It will also prove my arse flapping lips like to move for the sake of proving I’m still not dead and not much else of substance! [grin]

  4. Is it this podcast? “in the black” usage of black ink in record keeping. “in the red”, red ink is used when you’re in the negative. =D

    Love your show, it’s helpful. I’m looking to launch my comic “soon”.

    Also, any listeners live in Cleveland? I’m looking for peers to hang out with and work on ideas.

    • heya Peter! I’m actually originally from Cleveland! Grew up in South Euclid, moved to Philly area at 14 with the fam. Great to have a Clevelander on board here!

      and thanks for clearing up the phrase “in the black” and such… one of those things I always wondered about, but never remembered to google, lol.

      Good luck with launching your comic! Just remember, don’t wait around until the perfect time or until your comic is perfect, or you’ll be waiting forever. :0)
      (and read these articles:
      (one more on the way, which I wrote, about getting your comic ONLINE– coming out in a couple weeks)

      P.S. best way to find people in your area, at least I have found, is twitter. So, get on there if you’re not already! Get involved! I know a couple comicers from the CLE area.

      • I figured as much since you were watching a game during one of the cast.

        News of S.Euclid & surrounding area: Good news: Microcenter is still there (geeks celebrate)!!! There is an Apple Store near Beachwood Place! Bad news: Border is dead (Beachwood Place) *ponder* Mayfield Road is a lot nicer, it’s been widen near 271 (maybe 10yrs ago?). Great news: There are ‘a ton’ of sushi places in North East Ohio…we finally have culture! There is a Marcs serving Coventry in place of the drug store. Macks Back is still alive!!!!!!! Harvey Peckar passed away. Les Robert is still writing detective books. Regina is gone. Other than those things, nothing else come to mind about the area.

        I’m afraid you’re right about that warning: not to wait until things are ‘perfect’ to launch my story. I know this on the subconscious level; but, was too insecure to consciously acknowledge it. I’m determine to reprogram my mind so that I can “do” instead of procrastinate.

        I have a troubling question: Should I throw all concerns to the wind and launch my comic regardless of the level of my art?

        It seems like an idiotic question specially I know the answer is “YES!!!! Just do it!!!”; but, I do need to hear it from other people who is not me. Yeah, there is a huge insecurity in me: “is my art skill good enough?”

        A tiny bit about myself:
        I’ve been attending anime cons since 1991. I attended a handful of other cons before anime. I rather attend anime cons than SCA events. I rather attend anime cons than MarCon, MidOhio Comic Con, GenCon or Origins. With friends to share expenses, I’m able to attend over six cons a year. The furthest is Anime Central, Otakon, SugoiCon….all at the furthest 6hrs driving range from Cleve (home of the new Avenger movie!)

        I will try to make it to Intervention Con for the Saturday (I have friends I can stay with in Germantown, one of the few non-anime con that I am actually hype to attend (because of that “needing to be around peers and mentors” in making my comic….and the networking aspect, too!)

        My script:
        I’ve been consciously working on this story for almost a year. Looking back, I can see that I’ve been subconsciously working on elements of it for my entire life. It’s a “3 and a half” part story about a young person that’s trapped in an unwanted situation that is constantly moving from place to place (there will be explosions, too).

        I have my script partly outlined. The key points are fixed in it’s order. The “day by day” events, action/drama of characters and character’s interaction/development are Works In Progress.

        I believe I have enough outline to tell 1/4 of the story.

        My tools (close to complete):
        1 13″ macbook
        1 MangaStudio ex4 (had a huge discount, great features!!!!)
        1 Photoshop (too expensive even with an academic discount)

        1 4×6 Wacom tablet (missing… literally packed in a box and is missing in storage)
        Without a tablet, I think I will return to my most favorite medium: 4H lead, paper and electric eraser!

        Future Equipment:
        1 9×12 (15″) DIY Cintiq (for Cons)
        1 DIY iBook “Tablet” (from an old 12″ mac notebook for Cons)
        1 i7 DIY “hackintosh”

        • wow, thanks for the S. Euclid update! I knew a bunch of that already– go back to CLE almost every year, still have family there. This past May I was there for my cousin’s wedding and finally checked out West Side Market, saw the Indians play the Reds and win in amazing fashion, and hit some favorite places. Man, that week when Harvey passed was tough… a few days earlier I had to “witness” LeBron’s “Decision” debacle, too. Rough week for the city. I did not know Regina is gone now… wow, that’s where most of the girls ended up going to HS in my 8th grade class. I was slotted for Chanel, but my father’s job was transferred and we moved that summer.

          As for worrying about your art level as you launch– stop by our own comic sites and hit the “first” button. We didn’t all start off with phenomenal work, nor do we feel we can just coast now. We have all grown…. it will happen regardless of how trained/talented you are at the start. Growth, for an artist, is mandatory.. and necessary. Also, do not think that just because you launch a website that you’ll have an instant readership. Honestly, you’ll probably have very few people if at all, until you start promoting it and interacting with the community (emphasis on INTERACTING). You can choose to wait to launch until you have an extensive archive, or launch from the start and be open to allowing readers see your growth. I don’t see one having that much of a benefit over the other. Webcomics is not an instant gratification field. Very very rarely do you have an instant readership, so being strategic about when/how to launch the site shouldn’t be a concern. Drawing, writing and improving your comic should be. That’s really all it’s about.
          If you feel as though your art talent isn’t going to improve, or you don’t think you have the interest to improve it, you could always wait to find an artist– but let me just say that’s a really hard task. You may be able to find an artist, but one with your exact motivation level and dedication will be tough. Best way to achieve this goal is to just flat out PAY them.
          Sounds like you have a story and the tool you need… next step is to just START DRAWING. a lot. every day. schedule it out, take it seriously. In a year you’ll look back at your old work and see how much you improved. THAT is more important.
          I’ll be at Intervention! Hope to see ya there! I’m very interested to see how this differs from traditional comic cons for me and my product.

          Nice to meet you, Pete!

      • thanks for the advice, all advice are welcome. I’m DLing the Paper Wings cast now. I will try to find a writing or drawing partner that’s local.

        The definition of “insanity” is “constantly doing the same thing and expecting different result”.

        I’m at the point where I need to try something different instead of constantly trying to go at it alone. Maybe I need a peer to help me a long, maybe I need a mentor to kick me into taking my first dozen baby steps, I need something to happen.

  5. WEEEE!!! I finially heard all the podcast $$ I ate all your bandwitdh MWAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Also really I have not much to talk about.

    Dawn and Byron You know in the red means bad, but in the black means good, those terms where made back in the day when they did records by pen black and red ink. Now a days they do that on computer, and both “in the black” and “in the green” are used to say you are doing good =D

    Ken- Really as it is said before it is your comic, Google+ as of now started to tell people to join Google+ in there main page. You can sign up real easy. So really there is nothing stopping people from joining. Also, I am sure in the future you will be able to add google+ as Dawn stated Google is not dumb at all and will just take time for them to start pushing forward. For me I believe G+ is between a Facebook and Twitter, I really hope it does not become a facebook but it is way better then Twitter, but twitter added some nice features recently.

    Bryon – You should just be you at the cons you are smart older (way old) person that can work many areas is not like your comic is evil you can relate to many people just in the comic alone all ages (just not kids) So really at cons just be you =D and if you do decide to draw a table banner have one of the cast or maybe of the Two girls about to kiss with a tag line that reads “Find out what happens in 1977” Varies on audience really. Also careful with kid eye view. Even if the table banner barely gets seen it would stand out from the rest around that just have blue and white table cloths.

    Antoine – Vous devriez donc boire un nombril floue dans un podcast!
    (lol if wrong sorry $$)

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