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Starting a webcomic: Seeking resources to keep it from sucking.

TalonosTalonos Registered User new member
edited April 2007 in Graphic Violence
I post this here because I was extremely impressed with your "So you want to draw a webcomic" thread found here in your "Accumulated Forum Knowledge" section. I wish to start a manga style (in other words, not gag-a-day) webcomic with my artist friend.

I'm fairly happy with the writing and the plot. It's not stellar, and won't win any awards, but it was good enough to be selected as the senior directed play my senior year, be put on in front of the student body, and make enough money to pay for itself. I'm quite pleased with the art as well (done by the aforementioned artist friend). Again, not award winning, but better than most webcomics. I've taken two years of web design as well, so I'm pretty happy with the way the site is working out.

I think there are just two things I'm missing, and so I turn to you for guidance.

First, I think I'm missing an understanding of comic theory. Obviously, a comic is different than writing a play, and also different from drawing a picture. I want to learn as much as I can about layout, pacing, camera angles, setting a mood, scene transitions, and other such techniques as I can. I've found a few "How to make comics" books, but they typically don't give much more info than "make the camera look up at a person to make him look powerful. Make the camera look down on somebody to make him look weak." Ideally, I'd love a link to a site with lots of information on this, but thanks to the wonders of Interlibrary Loan, the title and author of a nice thick book would be just as good. I'm not interested in the "how to draw" part of it, just the aspects unique to comics. (My artist can already draw.) As stated earlier, I want to learn as much about this as I can before we start. Thankfully, my artist friend is humble enough to accept my input on layout and frames. She has read lots of manga, but has never studied comics like I intend to, so she's flying off of what "feels" right right now, which may or may not be enough.

Second, are there any good tutorials on how to computer color? My friend is a very good artist, but she's not had much practice with the computer, so it will fall to me, as the group computer geek, to massage the scans, insert text and word balloons, and, if I can get good at it, color the darn things. (I've noticed that many of the most successful webcomics are colored. My artist's good, but not Fred Gallagher.) I've had two years of Adobe Photoshop classes, so I'm not completely green, and I'm almost sure that I'm familiar enough with Photoshop to understand any good computer coloring tutorials that you can point me to.

Thank you. Here's hoping when my friend and I start, we can put out a webcomic that isn't just another waste of space.

Talonos on

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    Garlic BreadGarlic Bread i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a Registered User, Disagreeable regular
    edited April 2007
    Pick up "Writing Comics" by Peter David. I flipped through it before, but it actually had some good lessons in it. Although what I saw was more for superhero comics than manga.

    Are you at least semi-good at art? Because coloring on the computer isn't as easy as it looks. It's not hard, but if you don't have the write kind of mind for it, it'll look like ass.

    (also fred gallagher isn't good at art)

    Garlic Bread on
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    TalonosTalonos Registered User new member
    edited April 2007
    Thank you. I'm on my university page requesting a copy right now.

    I'd like to think of myself as semi decent at art, but I know better than to claim I'm anything spectacular. I think my biggest problem with art is my poor line control. My hands shake like crazy, and my lines never come out smooth and clear like other artists I've watched. I suppose we'll see if I have the right kind of mind for it when I start trying to color things.

    I'm surprised to find out that Fred Gallagher isn't considered good at art. I had thought that having good art would have been a requirement to be one of the 21 self-supporting webcomics. What makes him "not good at art?" What should I learn from him?

    Talonos on
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    Garlic BreadGarlic Bread i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a Registered User, Disagreeable regular
    edited April 2007
    For coloring, you're gonna want a tablet. A mouse can do it, but it's a lot harder and takes so much longer

    When I say Fred Gallagher isn't good at art, I mean that I don't like his style. It's completely generic.

    Garlic Bread on
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    MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Though I don't care for the rest of his books Scott McCloud's Making Comics is a pretty good resource for understanding pacing, choosing shots, and so on.

    Also, if your comic features any of the following: 1) a sarcastic, smart dude and a "wacky" retard who like to play video games 2) a troubled warrior on the path to redemptiom, fighting the demons of his mysterious past 3) a guy who can't decide which magical Japanese schoolgirl he wants to fuck or 4) furries (includes catgirls or any variation thereof), please just scrap the entire project right now, as the internet has plenty of that at this time.

    Munch on
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    PbPb Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Ah, but what if he makes a comic about a sarcastic furry guy deciding which of his retaded, brooding, school-girl warrior roomates with mysterious pasts he wants to bone?

    Pb on
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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited April 2007
    Pick up "Understanding Comics" and "Reinventing Comics" by Scott McCloud. It's the closest thing you can find to a working comics equivalent of film theory - he analyzes how comics work and why, and looks at the different effects they can produce. As a bonus, reading him will also make you genuinely smarter; the books are full of insights into art history and critical theory.

    I should emphasize that while the McClouds are required reading, they're not how-tos. It's more like "how this works." For a practical, hands-on tutorial, you'll want to pick up Will Eisner's "Comics and Sequential Art." Eisner was a goddamn genius who ate, breathed, and shit comics for most of his 80something years and this book is him showing you all his secrets. Essential for both writer and artist.

    Jacobkosh on
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    TalonosTalonos Registered User new member
    edited April 2007
    I've read both Reinventing comics and Understanding Comics. While I was impressed with Understanding Comics, Reinventing comics seemed to be far more into the business end of it, and frankly, I think it's obsolete at this point. I mean, now that there are so many free webcomics out there, anybody who tried to charge would probably fail miserably. Good thought, though. Maybe in some alternate universe somewhere where micropayments started before webcomics, and not the other way around...

    I haven't heard of Making Comics by Scott McCloud. Is it new?

    I'm adding "Comics and Sequential Art" to my list as well. Thanks again.

    No, my plot doesn't contain any of the aforementioned, thank goodness, or I'd shoot myself now. It's got its own cliches, but its cliches are far more western fantasy themed. If my comic comes off as unoriginal, it's because it's too close to Errant Story, not because it's too close to Penny arcade, 2kinds, or... Whatever features Japanese schoolgirls. Can't think of a webcomic that does that, and, as I said, it's my artist friend that is into Manga, not me. But at any rate, I've got something different enough I think it'll fly, given proper art and a good understanding of the construction of comics.

    Talonos on
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    Garlic BreadGarlic Bread i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a Registered User, Disagreeable regular
    edited April 2007
    Well if you're not into manga and your artist is, I don't think it will work

    comics are half art, half story

    both need to fit to make it work

    Garlic Bread on
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    TalonosTalonos Registered User new member
    edited April 2007
    I'm not particularly worried about our compatibility. By "not into manga" I mean I don't attend conventions, don't have multiple shelves full of books, and am not heavily into Japanese culture. I do enjoy Graphic Novels, including, but not limited to, manga. While I'm familiar with the "One guy, lots of school girls" concept (Love Hina, right?) I'm not "into manga" enough to pull out examples of webcomics based on that.

    Me and my artist have discussed the plot thoroughly. In fact, she was one of the cast of the play I mentioned in my first post. We're both dedicated to getting this story told the way it should have been told, and that means we're keeping catgirls, sailor suits, and other random "funny stuff" out of our comic. I'm pretty sure we're on the same page.

    Talonos on
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