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How to Make Webcomics Paperback – January 31, 2008
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The book is divided into 13 chapters covering: Your webcomic, your characters, formatting, image preparation, writing, website design, branding & building, interacting with audiences, monetizing your webcomic, books (print versions of your webcomic), conventions, next steps (once your webcomic is up & running), and final thoughts (on making your webcomic work).
Past the final chapter is a section on Scott Kurtz's studio, to illustrate what a successful webcartoonist's work area looks like. The Additional Resources section contains two pages of reference material listed under the sub-categories of: Cartooning, artistic inspiration, web design and maintenance, and small business.
So reading How to Make Webcomics was fun and new to me, and therefore easy for me to give it a 5-star rating. I enjoyed the book and didn't think their business advice to be pie-in-the-sky. Not even a slice. In fact, the authors warn that if you want to get rich, then find something else to do. I've heard similar recommendations in all the writing workshops I've attended. Basically: Don't quit your day job, until the income from your writing meets, or better yet, exceeds that of your current salary.
What I found lacking was that all four creators specialize in 4 panel cartoons comparable to a newspaper cartoon, and they have little to offer someone that wants to create an ADVENTURE or SUPERHERO comic! Which is my own intent.
That said, I got this book after getting the Graphic Design Guild book, which claimed that webcomics are an economically VIABLE option for an artist. I am a cartoonist, but I'd always figured there's no money in it. Because I never made money before.
So this book is showing me what I'm doing wrong. And having read this book I'm much more secure about what to do and what to expect. Like not much money for a year - but after a year I may have an audience that will buy merchandise.
This is a book for people really willing to invest a great deal of time and effort. Cartoonists are crazy. Because no sane person would work so diligently for a year with nothing to show for it. I'm crazy enough, I have hundreds of stories and dramas I want to share. And so I will.
Will you? If so, this is an important book and you should get it!
I am a bit concerned that is a time-centric advice book and will become outdated after a few years (after all, 5 yrs down the line, comic distribution may change once again). But for people interested in creating & publishing a webcomic now, to be able to learn from the experiences of 4 guys who have succeeded in making a living off of webcomics is invaluable. The price is low. This is a great deal being offered.
Again this book focuses not on "10% inspiration" fine art aspect of comics that there are already have shelves worth of books about, but the "90% perspiration" topics that are the difference between a talented artist and a successful talented one. Topics like maintaining a good update schedule, proper site design, self promotion, merchandising, dealing with supporters, working comic conventions, and other aspects of building a fan base that leads to a lucrative webcomics career.
This is also one of the best examples of a multi-author book I've ever seen. Most books written by more than one person have no difference in who's "speaking" or have clunky transitions between authors. In this book, you always know who's talking and each author is established as a unique, experienced voice on the matter and will actually butt it on another person's chapter to offer a different opinion on a subject.
The lessons passed on in "How to Make Webcomics" apply beyond online funny pages and are required reading for any artist looking do more for themselves on the internet.
And if nothing else there's plenty of funny comic strips throughout to keep you entertained.