Writing a Webcomic: Possible, Never Easy
For all those out there who read this webcomic, or Penny Arcade, or the first ever – PVP Online, it’s an easy guess that writing or drawing a webcomic is an insane amount of fun and amounts to one of the best jobs in the world. But the reality, for a lot of high-quality webcomics, is very different to the one you see on PATV.
Writing and drawing are hard graft, and although it’s easy to draw cool characters, you’ve got to make them live and breathe, and offer something to your audience that makes them want to read about these characters again and again – because if any webcomic has proven anything at all, it’s that recurring characters doth a good webcomic make.
Your comic also has to have a story that people can really connect with, and a bit of humour whether you’re discussing the latest games, SF/F tropes or Partypoker players never hurts, either. Now, as many comic writers will tell you, keeping a strip funny over the years is a real challenge, but it can be done! Just take the time to remember the things you find funny and analyse what about them amuses you and other people, then use that when thinking of humorous ways to tackle your subject. Same applies for serious narratives – analyse, utilise, but do not replicate.
“Art doesn’t matter,” say some. While this may be true for a short list of comics (read: XKCD, Explosm.net, the Oatmeal), the vast majority need to shine visually if they’re ever going to go anywhere. Incredible art can keep a reader engrossed no matter how corny the writing is. Luckily we’ve got great artists here, but if you’re not a doodler, then it’s worth finding someone who is and offering to work for or with them (note the subservient tone: important, because good artists are gods and you’re yet another writer).
Most importantly, keep going! Writing four comics and then stopping is completely pointless – if you keep going at it and promoting your work as much as possible, you will receive attention, and if your stuff is actually worth a damn, you’ll get the traffic you need to fund further work. Build/write/draw it, and they will come. But you have to do the work first. Good luck.