Shop Talk: Keep your comic going….

It has been really exciting these last few months in finding a wide variety of incredible web-comics. Sadly many of these great finds are hiatus. Which drives me nuts.

I understand that life is busy full of all sorts of things, I also understand there are bills to be paid and food to put on the table. Yet, I also understand what commitment is about.

Many of you know that I am the father of 5. They range from teen to toddler. I am a fantasy illustrator and graphic designer and I also produce a printed version of the web comic. Life is busy, but a long time ago I made a commitment to my fans that I am trying to honor.

It might be hard at times to blog about my adventures, but my commitment was to post a weekly comic.  So how do you do it.

First: Create a reserve. I know us artist are passionate people. We got to get that plot point up for the whole world to see. We work on that deadline, staying up late to hopefully finish the strip due tomorrow….. see the problem… no breathing room. We hope our readers are understanding, at first they might be, but if habitual tardiness kills a good comic.

Build up a reserve, if it delays starting the whole comic, fine… I would rather know if a webcomic is going to update on the days promised, than to sit in the dark and hope for it. I recommend a few weeks. I try to stay 3 months ahead.

2nd: Don’t feel you need to update 3 or 4 times a weeks. Just be consistent in your updating. Atland does a great job of once a week, while a few others are twice a week. Sometimes the creator feels they have to add more and more during the week to keep people happy. That usually makes the creator unhappy. That’s no fun for the webcomic guy…. you need to do what’s best for you and not break. People are happy if you keep the story going. Yes having extra pages during the week is cool, but not needed if it will break you in the end.

3rd: Stay true to your vision. This was hard for me to learn. My choice to do bean in b/w has alienated me somewhat from the more flashy color comics (many who are hiatus as well).Especially on top ten list, I was bothered at first, but that was because I lost site of my vision. So I stopped worrying about where I would place on these list and decided that I needed to focus more on my story and updating. It was learning to stay true to my vision and knowing that if I build it they do come.

I also chose to create an epic full of transition pages and character development. It’s a fine line to tread when dealing with complex story arcs. Yet as the comic grows and people read it from the beginning or reread it, they see my vision and they see why. So if you have vision stick to it. It might mean the hill to climb is a little bigger, but the flowers at the top are much nicer to smell.

4th: Stick it out. This is hard, especially when your brain is racked with all sorts of other story ideas and concepts. There are times you fight boredom, artistic constipation, laziness or other commitments. These are the times that you need to keep pushing forward. The worst thing is too look back and say I should have finished my story.

I am lucky that I have had the opportunity to keep bean going. It has been a long ride and one that at times has been full of frustration. Though as I look back I am happy that I am trying to stick it out. I want to keep that commitment to those that read and buy the comics, that is important to me and though it might take a little longer to get to the end goal, it will be so worth it.

So don’t quit! Stay focused, keep creating those fantastic stories…. and don’t be afraid to share….