If you’re an artist interested in creating webcomics, you may be wondering where and how to begin. As a beginner, you’ll face challenges and some of the most common mistakes creators make when they’re just starting out.
The following list of common mistakes will help you work your way through the creative process of making a webcomic successfully.
The first and possibly the biggest mistake beginners tend to make is raising their expectations right at the very beginning.
To be fair, it can look quite tempting to drop everything you’re doing and dedicate your full time to making webcomics when you see how much creators can make from this full-time job.
However, it usually takes them years to reach this level of success, and that’s something you need to keep in mind when starting out. It’s not an easy path, and you need to have a lot of patience.
It takes a lot of money and time to get to the level of quality and reach the level of fame that will help you live off of making webcomics.
One of the best pieces of advice for avoiding making this beginner’s mistakes comes from Spike, the editor of the anthologies Smut Peddler 2012, The Sleep of Reason, the writer of Proofcraft, and creator of Templar Arizona.
According to Spike, all you have to do at the beginning is be patient. Don’t assume that things will go smoothly from the beginning and that you’ll be able to pay your bills, groceries, and lifestyle as soon as you start.
With a little patience and persistence in what you do, you will get there in a few years.
In addition to the previous mistake, webcomic creators who rush at the beginning of their career also tend to make this mistake. As soon as they start working on their webcomic, or sometimes even before that, they try to merchandise their work.
According to Dave Kellet, creator of Drive and Sheldon, this is how most beginners make the mistake of neglecting their art for business.
These young creators focus all of their energy on their website design, their books, and t-shirts instead of first focusing on the story and characters they’re developing for their webcomic.
So, if you’re starting your first webcomic, make sure to focus on the storyline and create the webcomic first. Once your work gains enough attention and fans, that’s when you can start thinking about making merch and developing your website.
Webcomic artists love to pour all of their energy and creativity into drawing because that’s their main creative outlet. However, no matter how incredible the characters and scenes individually are, you need to dedicate your time to developing a strong plotline too.
The mistake that most creators make is that they start off with a promising idea, but their plotline falls flat somewhere along the way because they prioritized the drawing over the storyline.
In order to avoid this mistake, start working on the plotline first. Make sure to develop it fully, make a draft, go over it again, and make sure there are no plot holes.
Once you are satisfied with the story you want to work on, move on to building characters and how the scenes will revolve around the main plotline.
Another potential mistake is not being able to draw characters and scenes realistically.
Obviously, when you first start creating webcomics, this can be quite challenging. However, it’s the most crucial part of creating a webcomic and something you need to work on if you want to become a successful creator.
If you want to learn how to draw comic characters, you need to learn about anatomy and perspective. These are the two most important elements of a well-created comic character.
Start by learning how to draw certain body parts and make sure to practice frequently. Then, move on to drawing characters as a whole. Once you feel ready, you can start drawing characters in motion as they’re walking, running, or jumping around. This will help you understand human anatomy better and how bodies look as they move around.
This one is related to the poorly-developed plot. If you don’t work on your plot and make it engaging within the first three pages, most readers won’t keep reading it.
One of the most efficient ways to make the very beginning of your story interesting so that it catches your readers’ attention is to create a likable character. Then, right off the bat, make that character face a major life dilemma.
Create a challenge or an obstacle for them that will make the reader wonder, “Hmm, how are they going to get out of this?”. Intrigued and looking for the answers, your readers will instantly start flipping through the pages, eager to find out what happens next.
After taking your time to develop the plot and learn how to draw, there are some additional mistakes you need to be aware of. One of the most common mistakes includes drawing shots way too close.
By providing enough space in the shot and pulling the character further back in the frame, you allow the reader to get a sense of the location. In the background, you can include the street, some trees, or whatever you want to include in the location.
Only after you have presented the location so that the reader can understand where the current scene is taking place, can you work on some close-up shots of the characters.
Yes, the plotline should be well-developed, but that doesn’t mean that the narration should completely take over the webcomic. Though words are really important, how you use them also matters.
You should never let your words overexplain something the readers can easily see from the drawings you create. You should find a balance between telling the story with words and images.
These are just some of the signs that you’re using way too many words in your webcomic:
- There are over 200 words on a page.
- There are huge blocks of text that are challenging to read through.
- Your characters talk about how they feel instead of displaying their emotions.
Lastly, once you’re done with the story and drawings, you need to be careful about how you color your webcomic. Many creators make the mistake of including way too many colors when they first begin making webcomics.
The easiest way you can avoid making this mistake is to pick six, or maybe seven colors you’ll use on each page and then try to maintain continuity and coherence between these colors.
Try not to overdo it and stick to the palette of colors you picked. This will help the readers get accustomed to your colors and themes, and these colors will be something your webcomic is associated with and recognized for.
To sum up, it’s okay to make mistakes when you first start creating your own webcomics.
Everyone makes those mistakes and then learns from them. If you want your processes of learning and improvement to go as smoothly as possible, you can use these common mistakes as guidance.
Knowing where most people tend to mess up at the beginning will help you work through your beginner’s mistakes a lot quicker. Just refer back to this list whenever you need help.