Swift Kick In The Ass
As I sat down late this afternoon to mull over my comic making process for the upcoming year my mind began wandering back over 2013 and thoughts of all the people I’ve met and things I’ve done came flooding back. 2013 was probably the best year for Robot Friday. I’ve had good years in the past in terms of style progress and even readership increase, but 2013 was the first year I actually started feeling like I might be a professional cartoonist at some point, that I kind of have what it takes to make it.
The Number One Question
When I began Robot Friday I pretty much faked it and lied to myself constantly. I told myself that I had what it took, then, to make it as a cartoonist. I look back over the early months of Robot Friday and it’s clear that I really didn’t, but I kept at it anyway.
The number one question I keep getting asked from all the great young or new artists I meet these days is, “How do you get started making a webcomic?” Every one of these artists already know the answer to this question. It really isn’t a hard answer or a secret. The answer is, you just start! It really is that easy.
No Right Way
There is no right way to make art. As artists we are not assembling a motorcycle engine. All the parts don’t need to fit the correct way to make the thing work. In art the parts just need to be! They need to be made, things need to exist. Once that happens you can worry about if they fit together well or not!
Art Is Like Cliff Diving
Remember when you were a kid in the summer at the lake with all your friends? Remember that cliff-like place on the lake all the older kids would dive from, you know, that place that FREAKIN’ TERRIFIED YOU! Remember the first time you were at the top of that cliff, on the edge, looking down on that murky lake water? Remember how all of your friends that had already jumped looked tiny bobbing in the water below? Remember that feeling you had as you sat up there for half the day, looking out on the lake and everyone else having fun? Remember that sickening feeling combined with that feeling of longing to experience what your friends were feeling and remember how you felt once you finally did jump; the terror, the excitement, the pure rush of joy on the way down?! That’s what if feels like as an artist. To put your work and yourself out there to be judged by the world. And there isn’t any check list, system or method to show you. You just gotta look out and JUMP!
Making A Webcomic In Two Easy Steps
But for those of you that need a comprehensive list of how to be a webcomic artist here it is:
- Make a webcomic
- Put it on the web
That’s it. You’re done!
Ok, so that list was kind of a jerky, arrogant thing to say and do, huh? No it wasn’t. That two step list is the process! How you do those two things is up to YOU! Seriously, no one can give you a swift kick in the ass and make you become a webcomic artist. There are no lists, books, methods, systems, check lists, faerie dust or magic salve that is going to do it either. You’ve just got to start! When I started to make webcomics in the late 90′s there was pretty much one or two ways of getting your work on the web for people to see. A.) Buy a URL and hosting space or B.) Post your stuff to message boards. Today there are a shit load of ways for you to get your work out. DeviantArt, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogger, Reddit, Imgur, buy your own URL and hosting space and probably just as many I don’t know about or can’t think of.
There are just as many ways to make your webcomic too. Hell, if nothing else fall back on old school analog and use a pencil on paper and ink! Abby Howard makes a pretty sweet webcomic this way and it’s by choice. Don’t have a scanner to get it into the computer, so what? Use your phone camera! Don’t have a phone? (I call bullshit on that) then borrow a friend’s or get a job and save some money to buy a phone or a scanner. If you’re really serious I’d suggest you buy Manga Studio or Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop or all of them to help make things a bit more polished and convenient. To put it on the web? Use WordPress with ComicPress, they’re not the best but they’re a start and I am still using them for my comic! But these things are not necessary, what’s necessary is that you make the decision to start!
You’re probably thinking, “Ok, I know all that stuff you just said. But how do I make things look professional? That’s what I meant by how do I make a webcomic.” The answer is still just make a webcomic. You make about 10,000 webcomics and then you’ll be professional. It’s as easy as that. But you have to start making and stop asking how! It’s not my place – or anyone elses – to tell you how to make a webcomic, it’s your place to make it. So tomorrow, after the party tonight, make your first webcomic – give yourself about 4 hours – and then post it on the web with the means you have now. Then the next day do it all over again and repeat forever. All the other shit you have questions about will get answered by you and your actions along the way.
Happy New Year! Here’s to your new webcomic in 2014!