Illustration & Writing

Ask an Artist July 2017 Roundup

I write a series called “Ask an Artist” at Comic Indie where I field a question and compile the responses from the writers and artists at Comic Indie. Here are my compiled my personal responses for the month of July.

Question #1: How do you build an audience?

I post my comic on ComicFury which hosts comics for free. It has an active webcomic community which I find supportive. I receive many comments for my work there.

I also post my comic on Facebook and Twitter, both have a huge reach. I receive a few likes for posts, I don’t get many comments. Remember to use appropriate hashtags for your posts so you can get more views from possible new people.

I use to post on Reddit, which gave a huge traffic boost to my site. Reddit works off an audience voting system. Personally, I didn’t think it was worth the experience of having some of my material receiving down votes. I didn’t receive any troll comments, but I’ve heard of other artist friends experience it. If you have thicker skin, go for it. You can post them in the r/comics subreddit (r/webcomics subreddit was smaller).

I use to post on Tumblr, but was unable to gain traction. I think it is difficult for a comic to thrive there.

I respond to every comment left on my comic. This lets a reader know I acknowledge and appreciate their visit. If I don’t have a witty response to their comment, I just thank them for reading. This also shows other readers I am open to interaction and in turn they will be more likely to leave a comment. There have been times when a reader’s comment inspires me with a new idea for a comic.

Question # 2: I’d like advice on drawing backgrounds. I hate drawing them. What are good ways to cheat?

First off, my rule of thumb is to draw at least one background for every change in location (an establishing shot) so readers know where the action is taking place in the story. After the reader knows the environment, you can cheat by focusing more on the foreground action/characters until the next scene change.

I sometimes will look up reference pictures to inspire me with my backgrounds and take interesting elements to compose something original.

Action usually takes place with the characters in the foreground. Draw background elements are usually drawn with smaller, thinner lines compared to foreground objects which would have thicker, darker lines. It is common for background elements to be displayed in more saturated colors. Both of these are done so the background does not draw too much attention away from the action taking place in the foreground. Sometimes I color all of the background elements in one color which saves time and again doesn’t draw attention from the foreground elements.

One thing I’ve mentioned before in a past post, is I place the dialogue down on the page first, so I don’t waste too much time drawing background elements the audience will not see because it will get covered up with speech balloons.

 

Question #3: What is your step-by-step process?

First off, I have a finalized script before I draw to save time. Below is my process. I label almost all of my different layers so I know what they are in case I need to return for a redo, or sometimes I reuse resources for another page and need to make changes to a resource for a new page.

Step-by-step process.
Step-by-step process.

If you’d like to read the responses of the other writers and artists for these questions, please check out Comic Indie.

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