We realized yesterday that learnfromwebcomics started following us, and spent a while discussing the horror that will be unleashed on their dash from our blog here.
Our shittywebcomics blawg here consists randomly of analysis and trolling, usually both combined into the same posts. We do this intentionally so no one can tell if we’re actually offering criticism or just being jackoffs.
Because that’s how we like it.
You kids remind me of people I knew back in the war.
Meanwhile, at shittywebcomics…
I’ll handle this one over here where the grownups live. (link)
A strip buffer is when the artist has prepared more strips than they need to post, staying ahead of the update schedule. A buffer can be a double-edged sword. It keeps you from missing comics if you can’t keep to your schedule for whatever reason, but it can also open you up to some hilarious gaffes.
How big a buffer should be depends on three things:
1. The nature of your comic. A political satire comic, or a gaming comic, or anything that references current events regularly, needs to be on the ball. If you make your post about a game two weeks after it comes out, you’re late to the party and you’ll look like a chump. Plus, since jokes in these comics are sometimes pretty obvious, the strip with the largest buffer comes away looking like a copycat.
With a serial story comic, however, the reader can’t really tell what the buffer’s like.
2. How complicated your comic is. If your comic is elaborate and takes a lot of effort, then a larger buffer will be hard to build, but it will keep you out of the tank if your run up against your deadline. A stick figure webcomic, on the other hand, can just whip something up last minute.
3. Your update schedule. A comic that updates daily will need a larger buffer, because anything that throws you seriously off your schedule will likely not do it for just one day at a time.
A buffer will help you maintain your update schedule, something a lot of readers really look for in a comic. It also keeps you looking like a pro even when shit hits the fan in your real life.
Remember, though, to always re-read your saved-up strips. Newspaper comics go to editors a couple weeks before they’re set to print, which means the author has no control over them from that point on. Many are the newspaper comics that started a storyline about a bank robbery coincidentally on the day a bank was shot up, or something similar. Make sure little coincidences don’t make you look like a jerk.
the-beauty-of-the-hidden-deacti asked: I love stories, and really want to give writing a shot. However, I have no ideas I consider worth-while, and I end up find fifty flaws in any that are almost good enough for me. Do you have any advice on how to get at least the first sentence down?
You have to give yourself permission to suck. I mean, you’ve got my permission; you can write as badly as you want as far as I’m concerned. But, you need YOUR permission. Here’s a few things you can tell yourself:
- I’ll re-read this later and tidy it up if I don’t like it.
- I don’t have to post or publish this anywhere.
- This first scene doesn’t have to be important. I can delete it later.
- If I don’t write 2000 words today, I’ll be devoured by something terrible. This horrible monster doesn’t care if my writing is good.
Edit: Basically, the most important thing is that you write it. You can hide it, or destroy it, publish it, or edit it at your leisure once it’s actually been created. You can write something really messy but with a good heart, and you can polish it into a wonderful story! But, you can’t edit nothing. Your only option if you start with nothing is nothing.
Current Events - On Quitting
Recently, well-known cartoonist Andrew Dobson announced his retirement from art, citing online bullying as the cause. And, certainly, there was a thriving anti-Dobson community both on Tumblr and elsewhere that didn’t pull many punches. Dealing with the knowledge that people think so little of you has to take a toll on a person. But, that said, a lot of what he perceived as bullying was just genuine criticism of his flawed work; he had a long record of rejecting anything less than perfect praise.
It isn’t my place to say whether or not a person should stop writing, drawing, what have you. I don’t believe in talent, only in skill, so yes I do believe that, with practice, Dobson could have become a much better artist. His work was bad, but badness isn’t an inherent quality a person can’t escape from. You just ask any artist whose work you enjoy what those first few sketchbooks looked like; a bad artist can grow into a good one.
My place right here is to talk about what this sort of thing means, because I know most of you have wanted to quit at some point, or will. Maybe you’ve got a critic, or maybe you’re your own worst critic, or maybe you’re just not moving fast enough for your tastes, but it happens to all of us sooner or later. We figure life would be a lot easier if we could just stop caring so much about pacing that story perfectly, about getting the folds in that costume just right.
But, we can’t. That’s what it means to be an artist, after all. When it hurts that we’re not good enough, we put everything we’ve got into getting better, not just to ease the pain, but because being good at this matters to us.
Dobson quitting is a good thing. Not because his work wasn’t good enough, and not because I don’t like him much, but because art is about struggling to improve yourself every step of the way, and he didn’t. When the pain you feel from the process outweighs the passion you feel for your work, then you owe it to yourself to step aside, because you’re just getting hurt for nothing. (I think Dobson passed that point a long time ago, by the way he dealt with even benign criticism.)
When you care about what you do enough that you find a way to use the pain, then you know you’re going places. Quitting isn’t going to help, not if you really love what you do.