How to Create a Webcomic Part Zero – Your Primer

Welcome to the Hot Mess series on how to make a webcomic. It’s going to be our goal to cover every aspect of developing, researching, physical production, on-line implementation, and even marketing that you might encounter as you put your vision out on the web.

This series will be as complete as I can make it, and based solely on the things I’ve learned in the year or so we’ve been doing Hot Mess. If I were to launch today, there’d be many, many, many things I’d do differently, and that’s what this series is about. Sharing some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned with the hopes of helping anyone out there who is thinking of sharing their artistic creation with the world.

NOTE: And “yes” to all you awesome (and probably exasperated) readers, keeping the panels on time would be the first thing I’d fix about what we’ve done – but I’ll cover production problems in another section.

First, why webcomics? Why use this medium to tell a story? That’s a good question, and I’ve thought long and hard about the answer. For me, it comes down to creative freedom, accessibility, and cost. Cost not just in terms of money, but in terms of time. For example, people ask, “why not go the printed route?” Well, that would mean putting in a ton of time and resources up front, completing the entire book, finding distribution (if you ever want anyone to see it, that is), and picking a release date of the physical book, after which… well, nothing. That’s it. All that time and effort, and poof, after one day it’s out into the world, and that’s all she wrote.

But with webcomics, on the other hand, I think there an opportunity to create value and even a fan base from the very first page you publish. It gives you a chance to shift a story mid-course based on the comments left about a particular character or plotline in order to continue to surprise the people checking out your story.

Now, is what I’m about to reveal a step-by-step, one-size-fits-all manual? No, not at all. It’s really just an attempt to organize the many things, big and small, that I’ve discovered during this process. Not everything will apply to all of you, and some of it may be so off the mark with what you’re personally trying to accomplish with your comic, that you’ll roll your eyes with impatience.

Here’s a list of the articles to follow, subject to revisions, of course!

How to Create a Webcomic Part 1 – So You Have an Idea…
How to Create a Webcomic Part 2 – Hitting the Books – How to Effectively Research
How to Create a Webcomic Part 3 – Crystallizing Your Vision
How to Create a Webcomic Part 4 – Solo or Team Player?
How to Create a Webcomic Part 5 – Uniting the Team
How to Create a Webcomic Part 6 – Pre-Production for Your Sanity – Art & Web
How to Create a Webcomic Part 7 – Launching Checklist
How to Create a Webcomic Part 8 – Ok, Now What?
How to Create a Webcomic Part 9 – Growing an Audience (schedule, responsiveness)
How to Create a Webcomic Part 10 –Marketing 101
How to Create a Webcomic Part 11 – Troubled Waters
How to Create a Webcomic Part 12 – Plan for the Future
How to Create a Webcomic Part 13 – Wrap Out