Monday, August 4, 2008

7 Reasons you need to START YOUR COMIC ALREADY!

"So I've been working on this great new idea..."

Fewer things have induced so much groaning when they come from the right kind of people. And by "Right Kind of People" I mean "You know how rare it is for you to even finish a sentence?" The ones who have great ideas, and heck, they might even be some of the brightest folk you know, but for some reason, when it gets to actually doing it it either doesn't happen or it all gets forced into existence within the last 24 hours?

There's nothing wrong with having ideas. But there's a certain level of idea hoarding that's not productive to you or anyone else. Yeah, I'm guilty of doing it a little myself, but whether it's some great new merchandise I've been plotzing around with or a pack of half-written blog articles I have to force myself to go ahead and actually finish, At least I'm still getting a page a week up (which is also the only one with an actual deadline, which may be part of my laziness elsewhere). And for that alone, I have to say it:

Start. The. Comic.

There's no time like the present, and there are plenty of reasons why, if you've got a comic on the brain, you may as well get started right the heck now:
  1. You Need a Big Archive.
    Very few comics receive attention and acclaim when they only have a few strips, unless they're doing something incredibly awesome or they're made by someone who already has some built-in star power behind them. Besides, the more you have whenever an eventual reader comes along, the more they'll have at their fingertips to hunt through so they can decide for themselves whether you're worth their time or not.
  2. You Need the Name Recognition.
    I'm not talking about YOUR name -- unless, y'know, you're really good at propping up your own ego as is -- but the name of your comic and 2-3 of your main characters. It's not everything, sure, but when you're starting out, they can't very well make a decision about you if they don't know who you are. Sean Tevis gets it, and he's not even trying to make a name in webcomics!
  3. You Need to Stop Sucking So Much.
    Okay, we get it, your art isn't what you want it to be. Making a strip per whatever timeframe you work in will force it to improve by sheer habit. Well, it'll improve if you're actually drawing every page instead of depending on clipart or Poser. The whole idea of your art improving is that there is some sort of new art being made, after all.
  4. You Need to Stop Putting it Off.
    Nobody likes a "I'm not quite done yet." And as much as you shouldn't be thinking about your competiton, you're not getting anywhere while you're not finished, and everyone else out there IS. Unless there's some great payoff to waiting any longer (like, say, having X amount of comics already completed by launch), why wait?
  5. You can always improve later.
    Heck, people EXPECT you to improve, practically. Take advantage of this. (Note that an improvement in art doesn't count if you do what Exiern did and claim improvement by hiring a new artist. It's one thing to START with an artist/writer combo, but hiring one later on makes it look more like a business transaction and interrupts the artistic flow of the comic to boot.)
  6. You can always do more research later.
    Learning about Marketing is important when starting out, sure. Learning about Sales and merchandising? Not as much. Unless your entire plan hinges on shamelessly whoring your webcomic as a way to get people to buy into your high concept movie script (*cough*), odds are good you'll have a couple years to get things up to speed, which dovetails nicely with the idea that . . .
  7. It's going to take you X number of years ANYWAY.
    Proof? Look at all the webcomics you already like. Look at when they started. If you start noticing that pretty much all of these comics took 5-7 years to get where they are... well, you're starting to get the idea. It's very unlikely that you can do a whole lot those first two years, so if you can spend the first couple years getting your kinks worked out while still gaining the additional archives and profile from that time . . . then good on you.
In short, there's no good reason why you shouldn't go ahead and get to work on that new comic, unless you just . . . really don't want to work on it. And it's not like there's anything wrong with that, except that if you keep telling yourself you're going to (and don't), it's just going to annoy the rest of us who either want to see some actual work or just want you to stop talking about it.

And for those of us that alreasy have a comic in some form, stop thinking that putting your magnum opus on hold is going to earn you any more bragging rights than the rest of us.

Get to work on it, monkey!

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1 Comments:

At September 30, 2008 at 12:56 AM , Anonymous Adam Humphreys said...

Some of the things I really don't like are assumptions. I use Cinema 4D and initially designed the entire character myself. I plan to design more characteristically unique models in due time. Also, don't assume I can't draw and don't assume such a method hinders improvement.

 

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