Strip News 1-6-9

Woah. Lots going on. I’ve debated going to a semi-daily update but sometimes noticing what the longer trends are provides more practical use. In any case, there’s arguably too much this week:

  • Webcomic Finds reviews Jovian Luck, the Webcomic Asylum interviews Hatpire and Legend rates Penny Arcade. Art in Sequence looks closely at four popular comics plus One Swoop Fell. I think there’s still time to contribute to this list of the top 50 noteworthy people in webcomics. It is solely an opinion thing, a “snapshot of the webcomic landscape.” Some names I agree with, some I don’t and others have work I am not familiar with. Meanwhile, the Dean of Webcomics gets interviewed and MPD57 shares some of his thoughts on finding something noteworthy about each Zuda comic. Forbidden Planet even reviews non-comic comics. Further, some things are just totally, awesomely cool.
  • This is a disclaimer for those not interested in science so if you are bored easily just skip to the juicy bit about a masked curmudgeon dishing it out in the next bullet point. If you’re still reading this bullet point, here’s a quote: “A psychologist published a perspective in which she argued that the growth of visual content in society as a whole was producing a generation that is more attuned to extracting information from media like TV and DVDs.” Why do I mention that? Comics have a visual language that readers use and readers are being trained to be more visual. That means we can potentially take advantage of quicker visual processing in further developing of the comic language, such as using more montages and visual story cues that may have required textual exposition before. Obviously, this is likely incremental progression but it would probably get stronger as internet and tv get to be even bigger components in reader’s lives. The initial article also linked to a source which mentioned a tendency toward being easily distracted. There are pros and cons we should probably be aware of. Okay, that’s enough science for now.
  • El Santo talks about doing negative reviews and Zuda Follower gives the scoop on the comic reviewing schtick. The comments that follow are an interesting read as well. And we can read how ratings are assigned on the I AM LEGEND review site. There’s a theme going here, as the Webcomic Asylum has a post about his review style too. It must be something in the air, because I’ve had that urge to rewrite my about page too. MPD57 also mentions some very nice things about ArtPatient and he reveals that he follows some comic blogs “nervously.” Below, in the comments, there’s a good discussion about honesty in webcomics. Really, there is some evidence of ‘gaming the system’ that new creators should be aware of when comparing their tens or hundreds of site visitors a day to some of the bigger sites. I am not able to comment directly beneath the article due to my browser, but it’s important to know that it takes hard work, dedication and time to get that kind of traffic. However, the gap between big and little sites, while considerable, is not always as massive as purported. And just so I don’t belabor my points by taking forever to get there: those massive numbers aren’t out of reach if you’re willing to do the work and be in the right place for an opportunity if you never give up. If you’re willing to cheat, it will catch up with you eventually.
  • Time for a breather space. Here’s the Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition and a little discussion here and here about the F word in comics.
  • small-press-idol-logoKaBlam aims to get into direct distribution now that Diamond has retreated somewhat and everyone scrambles to find other options. Another way to get your work out there might be through this Small Press Idol contest. There was no initial deadline mentioned there but I found more information posted right here. You might also try licensing your comic out like Mark Anderson has done. The Occasional Superheroine weighs in on the current doom and gloom forecast of webcomics and The Daily Cartoonist does the same with magazine cartoons. Just to brighten your day, are you wondering how Wowio is doing? And you’ve probably already read webcomic economics, but I’ll include it for completeness’ sake. The thing that worries me the most is if this idea spreads too far. That could shut down access to bigger, bandwidth consuming projects.
  • Here’s another quick break. It is pointed out here that the institution of Mad magazine would have to adjust before going digital. Even Old Reliable would have to alter its content to fit the web. How unsurprising it should be that comics may require an altered approach to amximize their presence inline.
  • This was a helpful series of photoshop tutorials and here’s a good one on digitally coloring your lineart manga style and one on using copic markers to color. This one talks about panel layouts and here’s another one on creating characters in action. The more of tutorials you see about the same things, the more you start to scan-read them because you understand the basics. These each offered something a little extra for me. For example, step six of this digital coloring tute pointed out a technique (probably) very obvious to you but not to me. And it took me awhile to understand what step seven does but now I can see what it adds to the work. Neat. And this one has line art drawn with a mouse and using a one pixel line. I doubt I have the patience for that. I do have the patience to see what I can learn from Peanuts, courtesy of Journalista. And it’s always good to look over your writing, especially when it comes to humor. And by all means, pick a good name for your webcomic.
  • For all those looking to push the boundaries of their comics, why not go 3-d? Or do other 3-d projects? Maybe even try another kind of 3-d. Maybe you’re ready to expand into or merge new formats into your comics – even though these are about writing, the ideas are inspiring.
  • Ever wanted your own font for your comic in your hand writing? While that is useful, let’s not forget the experience that someone accomplished at designing fonts can bring to the table. For instance, could your handwriting be as individual looking yet generically applicable as this font?
  • This forum has a couple of posts of discussion about your comic’s pitch. I mention it because a comment was cited about creating a twitter-sized pitch which … well, it could be thrown into a conversation, put on a banner or any number of other uses. The key is that short and punchy has many uses.
  • Because how you present yourself online is so important as to how you are received, let’s examine how the Godfather would conduct himself. For the real world, we could use some well designed business cards, too.
  • Ever wanted to write a post or an article about comics but don’t care to create your own site or worry about update deadlines? This might be an option for you and here are more details to read over.
  • I also applaud the creation of a webcomics reader and I wonder what other technological marvels await us. Wouldn’t it be cool to talk a comic into existence? Of course, it would have to evolve beyond the etch-a-sketch concept to do that, but it’s a good beginning.
  • Bloom County gets a hardback edition.

Sorry about the awful length and sheer volume of links. Okay, after four hours of this, I’m back to some web design stuff and spending time with the kids after school.


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