Many artists take a very focused approach to their work and aim specifically at a particular audience right from the start. This can be particularly true of work intended for younger audiences. One of the pitfalls of this approach however, is that in an effort to make things youth-appropriate, an artist can cross that fine line between writing what young readers like and writing what they think young readers ought to like. How does an author tread this line, and hopefully create something with broad appeal, without dumbing things down in an attempt to please everyone?
In the first part of the episode, Mathieu Moyen of 6-Commando interviews Robert Christie and Deborah Lang, creators of Quirk’s Quest. They talk about the origins of Quirk’s Quest, how they go about their creative collaboration, and about writing for a young audience.
Long-form comics may seem like a bigger challenge than comic strips, but they have one big advantage: an ending. When an artist sets out to write an open-ended strip-format or other non-standard comic, they could be committing to something much bigger than that, something that may change, develop and move in unexpected directions. How do creators manage a project that has no beginning or end?
In the second part, Travis Shearin of Bruno Harm and Gheralf of Realm of Owls have a conversation about coming up with jokes, avoiding writer’s block, and their process of creating the next comic strip and keeping the comic going.
Being in it for your art is one thing, but the reality of comics is that if we want our art to be our full-time job, we need to find ways to monetise our work. For webcomics, this has never been easier or more difficult at the same time. Powerful new tools like Patreon offer opportunities to monetise your work, but nothing is free, especially not money.
In the first part of the episode, Christina Major of Sombulus interviews Shobana “Bob” Appavu of Demon of the Underground. They talk about monetization tactics, how to make Patreon rewards, and what to expect regarding making money from your comic.
In the second part, Kat Feete of Sunset Grill leads a roundtable discussion with Robin Childs (LeyLines) and Ally Rom Colthoff (Chirault) about how they got started using Patreon, what adjustments they have made to their approach over time, and the changes that platforms like Patreon have brought about in the world of webcomics.
Certain kinds of story lend themselves to certain archetypal characters. This has been true for as long as there’s been literature, but all too often, the constrains of an archetype actually become a cliche. Finding new ways to look at classic characters and stories is a continuous challenge for comic artists and writers. So how do you avoid the pitfalls without straying too far from your goals?
In the second part, Christina Major of Sombulus leads a roundtable discussion between Adam Ma (Folklore), James Nelson (Monster Lands) and Starlia Prichard (Castoff) about their inspirations for their comics, what genre tropes they’ve chosen to include or not include in their stories, and about reader expectations and the benefits of breaking them.
This episode is all entirely in Spanish!
They talk about what made them decide to publish their comics in a language other than Spanish, the challenges of writing in a language that is not their native, coming up with fantasy languages and the way the process is informed by their own bilingualism, and the local comics scene in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain.
Although English is, for many, the overwhelming language of choice for modern webcomics, it is by no means a requirement. In the modern environment of global communications, digital comics in French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and many other languages are becoming increasingly important as the medium’s influence expands. But language still represents a barrier in many parts of the world as well. So how does one go about translating and interpreting a comic between one and more languages?
In the first part of the episode, Christina Major of Sombulus interviews Enistoja about how they got started translating Cucumber Quest and RetroBlade, about translating puns and other jokes, and the importance of using a skilled translator.
In the second part, Ewa of Bits Fair leads a roundtable discussion between Sophie Pfrötzschner (Soul’s Journey), Mikael Hankonen (Tistow – Small Trolls and Year In Hereafter), and Joolita (Of Conquests and Consequences). They talk about why they made the decision to make English-language webcomics, the challenges that come with creating comics in a foreign language, and their experiences with translating their work.
Team-work makes a lot more possible than one person can do alone, and relationships between writers and artists can be a lot bigger than the sum of their parts. Although this can make more complex work possible, it can also have some difficulties attached to it. As we’ll find out in this episode, navigating the business and the personal is an art of its own.
In the first part of the episode, Denise Randall of The Only Half Saga and Michael interviews the creators of Daughter of the Lilies: Meg Syverud, the author and artist, and Yoko, the colourist. They talk about how and why they came to work together, the importance of paying one’s colourist, and about the challenges they have faced.
In the second part, Mathieu Moyen of 6-Commando leads a roundtable discussion between Dan Sharp (The Demon Archives), Daniel Kelly (Saffron & Sage) and Jemma M. Young (Children of Eldair) about their reasons to create comics in collaboration with others, the pitfalls of working on a long-term project with a friend, how to prepare for the worst, and the importance of writing up a contract.
Webcomics are projects that take a long long time to complete, often many years. Sustaining interest in a project like that over such a long time is real challenge. Life, money, health, and simple boredom can all conspire against you. How do you overcome these obstacles and keep your eyes on your goal?
In the first part of the episode, Ewa of Bits Fair interviews Katherine Jameson, creator of Age of Clay, about her experiences working on a webcomic she had all scripted out before she started drawing it, about the ways she redefined what the project was about as the time went on, and how she brought the comic to its conclusion.
In the second part, Mathieu Moyen of 6-Commando leads a roundtable discussion between Sophie Pfrötzschner (Soul’s Journey), Kristen Kiomall-Evans (XII: Of Magic and Muses) and Jen Zyren Smith (LaSalle’s Legacy) about how they script their stories, how they motivate themselves to keep going, and the importance of not leaving one’s audience hanging.
It’s very hard to get things just right the first time you do them. When artists are developing their pages they can sketch, refine and go to photos for reference. But it’s not often that easy for writers. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can be a very valuable asset, and this is where editors and beta readers come in.
In the first part of the episode, Denise Randall of The Only Half Saga and Michael interviews Lora Innes, creator of The Dreamer, and Alan Evans, creator of Rival Angels, about what sort of research they did for their webcomics, their experiences with using beta readers and beta reading for one another, and about getting one’s work stolen.
In the second part, Ewa of Bits Fair talks to Alyssa Alecci of Lapse about putting the feedback received from a beta reader or an editor to good use, and about how to be a good beta reader for someone else.
Webcomic artists often have to be their own web designers as well, and that can seem like a very complicated task. But fear not! Help is on the way.
In the first part of the episode, Christina Major of Sombulus interviews Ben Gremillion, the co-creator of The Grawlix CMS, about the Content Management System he created, and the future plans for it.
In the second part, Daniel Kelly of Saffron & Sage leads a roundtable discussion between Sophie Pfrötzschner (Soul’s Journey), Monica N. Galvan (Moonslayer) and Alyssa Alecci (Lapse) about what makes a good webcomic website, the many benefits of having a site of your own, and the weaknesses and strengths of the various CMSes that webcomic artists can choose from.