aNewDomain — My friends often ask me, “What is the hardest part of making a webcomic?” Is it the writing? The drawing? Getting the word out? My answer is always the same: Creating a comic starts the same way every story starts — with an idea. For me, the hardest part is getting that idea off the ground.
But, once up, it’s easy to keep sketching. Here are some tips for getting your webcomic off the ground — a webcomic 101, if you will — so you can see what the whole process looks like.
I should start by saying I’ve never had formal art training. My experience comes from years of doodling in class notebooks and years of daydreaming. I guess you could say my ideas are only limited by my imagination, which is all you need to begin that story.
I also rely on the snippets I’ve picked up from my well-read manga collection. So, when I first had the idea to write my own webcomic a year ago, to say I was “unprepared” is a huge understatement.
When I first sat down to write a prologue, the reality of what I was trying to do hit me for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing — at all. I’d never tried to write a creative work before. Who were my characters? How would I make it original? These questions and the blank page staring me in the face stopped me cold.
Find Your Story
After a while, I realized I was asking myself the wrong questions. The first question I needed to answer was, “What do I want to write about?” I knew I wanted to write something with strong fantasy elements. I knew I wanted the story to be set in the modern day.
With some consideration, I decided I wanted to write for an audience of teens and young adults, so I decided that my main character should be a teenager. This way, the audience could immediately relate to the protagonist. It also meant a more relatable work for myself, as I’m a teenager, too! “Write what you know” is an age-old lesson. Now, I’m not saying that I came up with these ideas overnight, but I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a little focus.
Create your Art
The next hurdle I had to overcome was my limited drawing skills. To expand them, instead of signing up for art classes, I went to the always-helpful YouTube and started searching for how to videos and tutorials.
Soon I found my metaphorical holy grail in the form of Mark Crilley, an artist and comic/manga writer. On his YouTube channel, he describes in detail the different styles and techniques he uses for characters, settings and comic panels, all while cracking jokes that had me laughing out loud.
It’s mainly due to his videos that I’ve been able to create my own art style, as well as learn the basics (thanks, Mark!). Armed with this knowledge, I began my webcomic last year.
I’m still new to the comic scene, but hopefully my limited knowledge provided some helpful insights on how you can start your own webcomic. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this process, it’s that you need to have a strong desire to get something accomplished.
Whether it’s comics or building a car, an idea is not the same as execution. Everything is at your fingertips, you just need to take that leap.
For aNewDomain, I’m Alex Kwong.
Ed: The original version of this article ran on aNewDomain’s BreakingModern. Read it here.
Comics: Alex Kwong