How to Work on a Webcomic Consistently

1,060

GrimVestige

GrimVestige

Creating a comic is an amazing journey, but staying consistent can be tough. This guide will equip you with tips and tricks to progress steadily on your webcomic, even if you have little free time.

 

While I don’t do weekly releases of my comic, I make fairly steady progress each month toward releasing larger chapters twice a year. (Or at least last year I did that, and it’s one of my goals this year to keep that up!) This is the pace that works for me right now since I’m not yet making enough from my art to sustain myself, tweak the speed of your workflow for you.

What is challenging about creating a comic consistently?

Creating a comic consistently can be hard, as it requires consistent output. But, the rewards are tremendous. Challenges include:

- Make time for regular work, even when unmotivated.

- Being able to break the task down into smaller steps.

- There’s more pressure than just doing one-off comics.

 

However, making a comic consistently is very rewarding. Some of the main rewards are:

- Building a regular readership and community around your creation

- Getting a lot of practice at making comics

- Teach you how to plan to meet your release goals/deadlines.

Plan Like a Pro

Put that stylus, pencil, or whatever drawing implement down right now. Before you do any drawing, take the time to plan out your comic ahead. What approach you take exactly is up to you, but I like to work in a big → medium → small sort of way, tackling the big ideas of the comic like the overall narrative before I get down into specifics like thumbnails.

 

You may want to look into scriptwriting software or storyboarding techniques when you plan. However, I use Notion and Clip Studio Paint for my entire process. I write and edit my scripts in Notion, and I do all the art and final production in Clip Studio Paint.

Craft Your Comic Production Pipeline

The steps of production in a production pipeline ensure that everyone stays busy and on schedule! Typically, they’re used when you have a larger team, but keeping one for yourself is a good way to have a consistent workflow and know what you can be working on whenever you have the energy for it.

 

Typically, the steps for making a comic for me include outlining, scripting, thumbnailing, lineart/inking, flats, shade, dialogue, FX, promotion, and scheduling the comic…but I can do some of those steps at the same time as others! So in actuality, my pipeline ends up being more like the following:

 

- Outlining the entire future comic whenever I have time/a need to

- Scripting a chapter

- Thumbnailing

- Lineart

- Once lineart is done, I can do flats, and dialogue (which is where I revise my script usually), and start drafting ideas for promotion!

- Once the flats are done, I can finish the dialogue and start on shading!

- As shading’s being completed, I can start working on promotion because I’ll have mostly finished art I can use and show off!

- It is possible to do FX while working on promoting the comic, as both tasks are fairly light.

- Once all the art is complete, I can schedule the pages...but while we are scheduling the pages, that means I can start outlining or scripting the next chapter!

 

Do you see how that pipeline nicely loops right back in on itself? That’s something to plan for if you’re doing a long-running project! Also, keep in mind that this is what my production pipeline roughly looks like — you should make yours based on your needs.

Scheduling vs. Habit Building: Find Your Rhythm

This one is probably the absolute hardest, but if you’re going to be trying to make steady progress on your comic, you’re going to need a system to do it. Depending on how you like to work, I’d suggest either scheduling time for the comic every day and not letting other stuff take up that time, or building a habit of working on it each day!

 

Larger tasks can be something you promise yourself to spend x amount of time on each day or get x number of done each day. And, if you do that for long enough, you eventually end up with a comic!

 

For example, chapter 5 of Pursuer of Truth has 52 panels. So, if I want to get the shading done in the entire month of April while giving myself off on weekends, I have 22 weekdays to do that. That’s about 2-3 panels a day that I’d need to do! Then, to give myself some buffer time to meet the deadline, I’ll cut that down by a week (to 17 days), so that means I must shade 3-4 panels a day.

 

Or, if you know how long you expect each panel to take, you’ll add up how long you expect each one to take, and schedule in that time! Because I’m terrible with time, I prefer and use the former method, as it allows me to have concrete objectives and not all panels call for equal amounts of work.

Staying Motivated on Your Comic Creation Journey

This one is tricky because it will vary from person to person. I’d suggest a couple of things as corny as they may sound:

 

- Write down what the theme of your comic is (as in the main core of the story, not the aesthetic or genre), and envision that one scene you are making it for. When you don’t feel connected to your story, take a look at that and run through that scene again in your head.

 

- Have some friends you show WIPs to! Be those other comic creators, a few patrons or close friends, or just another creative who is willing to hype you up and hear you out about things you’re worried about with the comic.

- Be careful about this one if you have people who give you unsolicited critique — show WIPs to people who will be gentle with your incomplete work.

- Be mindful of showing readers work early - don’t spoil your own comic for them!

- When showing your comic to other creators, be kind and reciprocate interest in their projects too! It can come across as selfish (even if we don’t mean it that way) to ask for support and never give it which can make connecting with other creators hard.

 

- If it’s been a long time that you’ve been working on your comic, reread it! Start from the beginning, rather than just speed reading to get through it. Enjoy it like you were one of your readers instead of a creator, and see how far you’ve come! Relish in your plot twists and clever panel layouts!

 

These have been helpful to me at some point while making this comic. Hopefully, they help keep you focused and excited about making your webcomic!

Continuous Improvement: Refining Your Pipeline

In the less nebulous feelings zone of advice, look for ways to improve your pipeline whenever you can! This is a double-edged sword though — you can just as easily use this as an excuse to not make your comic. So, keep an eye on that if you decide to do this.

 

Ways you can improve your comic production pipeline include:

 

- Staying up to date on the tools you use to make your comic. Go learn about the intricacies of the type tool. I know it’s boring but those 10 seconds you save relearning how to do something every time will add up to minutes saved.

- Read other comics and watch other creators making their comics to see how they do things! Read critically, and see what they’re doing that you like and that stands out to you. Do you like their panel spacing? The way they do speech bubble tails? Note that down. And, anything you can’t figure out yourself is an opportunity to ask your fellow comic creators, which leads to making friends!

- Try experimenting with smaller projects. Don’t be afraid to make a couple of comics with just a few panels to experiment — you’re not making your main comic, so there’s no need to be bound by consistency.

Conclusion

I hope these tips can give you ideas on how to get making consistently! Please don’t be afraid to show off how far you’ve come with your webcomic, or if you have any of your own tips for being consistent, definitely share them!

Comment

New

New Official Articles