“How to make webcomics” is one of the best books ever… No joke. This is a positive review.
“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.” – Erma Bombeck
One of the best books I have read lately is How to Make Webcomics by Brad Guigar et. al. My review is that it is the best art book I have read in many years. It has practical advice on how to avoid the dangers of producing art and publishing in its latest Internet forms. It also has great advice on how to use the Internet for all art and production, merchandising, and distribution. I really can say recommend it. Also, it is written by four cartoonists, and it is filled with funny cartoons next to the facts.
One of my goals when I was younger and into going out was promoting my art. Meeting other artists at events, and seeing what they did to develop a following helps YOU shape your OWN art. Helping others promote THEIR art helps you know better what to do to promote YOUR art without falling into the worst scams and pitfalls. Yet the pitfalls are something few people warn you of when you are young and starting out. Watching others promote would be a sound theory if you were trying to learn say how to play tennis. Yet the greater problems with art are manifold.
A first trap happens when only bars are zoned for loud art and music, then people believe everything gossips, haters, and blackmail artists say about you if you hang out too much in bars. Another trap that fan girls fall into is where they start doing almost nothing but promoting other people’s art like a boyfriend’s. Soon they may start doing almost NO art of their own. When the boyfriend stops producing and dumps you there is nothing to do, and are frustrated with the sucking void where your work all went into someone else’s goal. Art classes do nothing to warn people NOT to do this sort of thing.
Yet one of the most dangerous art pits is the “High End Art” dream. It is the dream where you only want to produce museum and fashion photography and painting. Trying to only do art gallery “high end” photography and painting is too small of a market without the supplies of the ultra wealthy. You need to branch out to smaller goals like T-shirts, bumper stickers, necklaces, and post cards other mere mortals in your town can afford. This is where cartoon comic books are a great downscale of merchandise. Go where the customers are, and they are at the fiction and Sci fi conventions.
I remember finding out I liked art in junior high. It was not when the teacher said I was good that I thought I was doing okay. It was when other kids in my pottery class were embarrassed at their own art, and took to stealing my artwork from the art drying table and told their parent my things were their own. That is when I thought I was good. Many people saw a blank page next to a bin of pens and drew on happy faces. They just drew barely enough to keep the teacher from yelling. They were angry at the fact that they could not think of an idea at all. They could not fill a blank page with anything even when trying! Other kids obsessively watch a clock in art class, eager to use as many free art supplies as they could before the tiny art hour was over. People stealing my things made me happy in a strange way, it made me realize I was on the “other side” of the blank page gap. So I have been working on scaling my art down into comic book form, and really doing art again. You can’t make your art so “high end” as expensive museum art that it takes impossibly expensive art supplies to do it. Then you never do it, and no one knows you had ideas at all. A trap all too common in modern day. My brain now burns for the more limited square space format.