Webcomic Workshop #30

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

This podcast we discuss:

Ken: I think it’s natural that your art style evolves with time and practice… But to me, writing is different. I read recently that people really relate to well defined characters so I’m trying to develop deeper characteristics in my characters. For instance I’m trying to discover: what does Rick like about Milton? What does he hate about Milton? What secrets does he know about Milton? What does Milton like about Rick, etc. Do you guys do anything to help your writing evolve? Is it okay to podcast without pants on?

Byron:     What to do with a Google+ page that hasn’t already been done at Facebook and essentially failed (in terms of bringing in significant new readers)?  And I’m not wearing pants right now…

Drezz: What are your future plans? Do you have a 5-year or 10-year goal that you are working towards, with outlined steps or somewhere in writing for reference, or are you just winging it? How successful has it been for you (in both regards – planned and unplanned)

Dawn: Native and regular retweets: is there an easy way to view a list & thank your retweeters? Rather than going to twitter.com, to the “your tweets, retweeted” list, and typing in everyone’s name 1 by 1? Know of any 3rd party apps/services that will just show me a list and allow me to populate a tweet w/ their names? This is driving me NUTS.

Reader’s Issue:  I’ve been listening to your podacst archives over the past few weeks and have really enjoyed the show. I do a webcomic with a friend of mine (he writes and I draw) and I had a question about copyright regarding one of our occasional characters.  We do Dax at www.daxcomics.com and it is a scifi humor strip, mostly full of scifi references along with a storyline. We recently introduced a Ferengi (from star trek) who is going to be revealed to be married to our hero’s sister. It is a short side arc for the holidays and we figured it’s parody and falls neatly into copyright laws. However for the future of the strip would we be able to keep this character as part of the main cast or would that be infringement?  We intend to merchandise the comic when our readership can support it, however we don’t want copyright infringements to prevent us from making books and the like.  I hope this question didn’t ramble too much and I thank you for your time.
Jess Boudrie, daxcomics.com

 

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Posted in Featured News, Podcast.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks for answering my question though I think you gave me more to ponder 🙂 The character is wholly parody (played off the race and name) but in the long run it will most likely be best to forgo it.

  2. I recently looked into the legality of selling fan-art, because I’d like to do some prints. Turns out, technically, selling fan-art in Artist Alley is illegal. Regardless of whether or not it’s in your own style or not. However, the practice is so common that it is mostly overlooked (particularly because banning it would remove a massive chunk of revenue from conventions). Some conventions recommend following a 50/50 rule: Half of what you sell must be original works of original characters. Other recommended practices:

    1) if you’re making prints, make them limited runs, or do fan-art exclusively as commissions.
    2) Be respectful of the properties and do not depict them in damaging ways.
    3) Provide credit information.
    4) Sign your work.
    5) Check the policies of your convention prior to attending. Some may specifically outline what is and is not considered inappropriate to sell.

  3. Character Definition — PWP did a feature on 10 questions to “ask” your characters. Following the exercise can be an interesting and entertaining way to develop a cast – http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/2011/06/pwp-8-ten-questions-to-ask-your-characters-to-make-them-more-dynamic-believable/

    Purpose of a website — More than just a place to store/buy? I view it as part of crafting a unique identity. Does creating a Google+ exclusive site undermine the sense of individuality? Does it make it less personal and disrupt the development of a brand?

  4. Here’s an idea for figuring out your characters’ personalities. Find a link to a Myers-Briggs personality type test (like this one: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp) Answer the questions as you would think your character might and you’ll be scored with a four letter code that corresponds to one of 16 types of personalities.

    You can use these to get an idea as to what types of things motivate your character. Use it as a starting point to how they might react to situations in your comic, or in the manufactured past you’ve written for them.

    I haven’t tried this yet, but I think I’ll give it a go to see what happens.

  5. I disagree about Google+ eliminating the need for a website completely. For one thing, the idea that “your fans will follow you there if they’re true fans” is an excuse you can use for anything that makes your comic less accessible in some way, and you’re always going to leave some people behind. Also I think it’s important to have an archive that’s easy to navigate. Not to mention, Google+ doesn’t even have simple, memorable URLs for their pages, and having a domain is a big part of branding. Yes, Google+ is free, but so are plenty of hosting sites where you can have well-organized content.

    • Good points Sylvia, but Google plus is not blocked off – you don’t need to be a member to see the content, so I could argue that it’s just as accessible as a hosted domain.

      While I agree that it’s possible to leave some people behind, the point is to talk to a different audience. Most comic people end up talking in the same circles (not Google circles) so while some people may be left behind because they’re not interested in following you to a site like Google Plus, you may benefit by talking to a completely new audience.

      I’ve written my thoughts in a new article here: http://www.webcomicalliance.com/uncategorized/open-for-debate-google-plus-and-social-media/

      • Yeah, I know you don’t need to be a member to see the content, and I can definitely see the benefit to posting on Google+ in addition to your website, but I just don’t think it can replace a website for most people, for the other reasons. I can’t see that article, though, it says that page doesn’t exist.

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