Tag Archives: Tamar Curry

Webcomics Wednesday/Guest Post: 10 Tips for Beginners

Today, Tamar Curry is filling in for me with a fantastic list of basic tips for anyone thinking of starting a webcomic. Tamar has been creating webcomics since 2002 when he and some friends began Blue Zombie, a tale about adorable undead assistants. He then went on to briefly draw Silent Journey, which I wrote, and now works on Lumia’s Kingdom, a story about a girl who suddenly finds out that she is royalty and will be crowned as the first queen of a very  dysfunctional country. I promise you that despite the fact we’re dating, I didn’t force Tamar to write this post. (Or even suggest that he should.) He’s just awesome like that.

Take it away, Tamar!

~~~

So you say you want to do a webcomic?  Been kicking around this awesome story idea in your head for a few months?  Okay, a few days… Dare I even ask, more than an hour? Well, regardless, you can easily Google lots of info about what to expect when you start.
But I figure I could give you a bit more advice.  Cuz, ya know, maybe it’ll help you out a bit.
So, here are some things to keep in mind when starting a webcomic:

1) Draw as often as you can.  Comics are a visual medium and you need to be able to convey that through your art.  Your art doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be consistent (and trust me, if you put effort in and draw frequently it WILL get better with time). Also, don’t get overly detailed with your art because you have to be able to draw scenes and characters over and over and over again.  Is your lead female wearing a very pretty and ornate dress to a dance? To start, make it look like an actual dress that a girl would want to wear, but don’t need draw evenly spaced patterns on every inch of the fabric.

2) Let people know when you’ve posted an update. Ideally, it should happen on a regular basis, but life doesn’t always go that way. In which case, you have several tools at your disposal for spreading the news when a page does get posted: Facebook, Twitter, email lists, etc. RSS feeds are a godsend.
3) Don’t let bad comments (or lack of comments in general) get to you. Lack of feedback doesn’t mean your work sucks and even if you get an email that says otherwise it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Also, just let things simmer down a bit before you send a reply to that guy who claims you have no sense of pacing and that your art makes his eyes bleed. The war of words ends fastest when you simply choose not to respond.

4) Have a backup plan.  Seriously, shit happens. If your site is hacked or the service goes down, have a way to communicate with your readers to let them know what’s happened. If you are collaborating and one person can’t pull through or leaves, it’s up to you to pick up the pieces (assuming you still want to continue the project).

5) Know the ins and outs of your hosting services. What you may be able to do on Comic Genesis might not be as easy to tackle on Drunk Duck or vice-versa. If you’re just starting out, it may help to first try a service that caters to webcomics and make sure to read the fine print to see if there’s any restrictions. If you’re more experienced in web technology, you may want to purchase professional hosting. In any case, know what your getting into and what you are capable of doing with your website and if you’re allowed to do it.

6) Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Please don’t add “awesome” javascript-driven effects when I click on links. And no, I don’t care if it *is* the official soundtrack for when your work is turned into a movie, I don’t want to hear music play when I load up your site.

7) Design your website so that people can find what they want easily. When searching for links to pages becomes a scavenger hunt, you’ve failed. I will dedicate more of my attention to a webcomic with minimal page design  than one with an ornate website if the former is easier to navigate.

8) Tools do not make the artist. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the latest version of Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq tablet to produce a webcomic. You don’t need Dreamweaver to construct a decent website. The things you will definitely need in abundance is patience and persistence.

9) Choose the scale of your comic wisely. Many people start theirs with the intent of telling a grand epic stretching some 500+ pages long only to find themselves quickly bored with it and finding excuses to pursue other projects. If you have a similar problem, it might be better to do short gag-a-day comics or something relatively non-sequitur.

10) Finally, keep in mind that you are making a webcomic for yourself as much as (or even more so) you are making it for others to read. If you find that putting out content is becoming more of a chore than you’d like it to be you need to step back and evaluate the situation. Perhaps you need to change it up a bit or go in a new direction. Perhaps you need to take a break. Either way, remember to have fun with what you’re doing. How you feel about what you do will be reflected in your work.

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Webcomics Wednesdays: Inside Lumia’s Kingdom Pt. 1

As I have mentioned before, my boyfriend Tamar Curry makes a webcomic called Lumia’s Kingdom, which I edit. This isn’t Tamar’s first webcomic and he also minored in Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, so you can imagine he’s had a lot of time to learn the ropes of comic-making.

The following is a post he wrote on some of the obscure references he writes into his comic for his blog, Knaddian, and is cross posted here with his permission. While this certainly isn’t a deep introspection on his writing process, it does explain some of his place naming process and how that’s shaped some of his characters. It’s a post that, if you read between the lines a bit, reveals a lot about a webcomic creator’s thought process.  This is the first in a series of posts on the obscure references and hopefully I will be able to post the rest of them in the coming weeks.

Take it away, boyfriend!

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In the first on a series of obscure references in Lumia’s Kingdom I’m going to focus on something that might not be quite so obscure to some of you. Surely you’ve noticed the most obvious joke; it was the very first implied joke in the comic.

That’s right.

“The greatly hung king of Knadds.” Lumiere XI’s grandeur was not a freak accident; each and ever single one of his forefathers were equally endowed (more so, in the case of Lumiere VII).

Enter Lumia, his tiny daughter who, up until now, was trying her best to live a quiet, normal life. She’s the first queen to ever rule without the company of a male counterpart.

Already this implies that she’s going to have a lot of difficulties trying to get ahead in what is obviously a male dominated profession. Not only that, but she has to do it when her ancestors pride themselves on their masculinity so much that they never bothered to wear any clothes.

So we know about Lumia’s disposition. But what about her peers? What do the names of the countries say about them and their upbringings?

Let’s start with the boisterous Queen Camilla.

Camilla, bless her heart, hails from the country of Mastodia. Mastodia is named after the word “masticate” which is essentially the process of chewing food. Mastodians are known for living it up; they are an extravagant people who have a reputation for doing anything and everything excessively. If you’re going to throw a party and you want to go over the top, then have a Mastodian plan it for you. This is the very reason why Camilla has taken it upon herself to plan out Lumia’s inauguration ceremony and suggest some of the skankiest dresses for her to wear from a rather questionable publication.

Next up is Pectoralonga, homeland of the very sweet (and horrendously strong) Lady Kara.

Derived from the word “pectoral”, Pectoralongans are an incredibly powerful race of humanoids with pointy ears (which only the most ignorant and masochistic of observers dare to point out.) In addition to their strength, Pectoralongans also tend to be very short-tempered; even the most reserved of them are known to undergo a complete personality switch once they are involved in a battle for more than five minutes. They are also notorious for underestimating their own power. This detail alone has made their nation’s carpentry and construction profession extremely profitable for centuries.

The last nation we’ll talk about today is Lobest, birthplace of the tentacled queen Madam Uupa.

The name Lobest is a mutation of the word “lobe”, in reference to several parts of the brain. Lobest has built a reputation for being one of the most efficient and industrious nations in the region. They have very skilled artisans, engineers, architects, philosophers and scientists. Their competitiveness stems from the fact that they are at a bit of a disadvantage; they are an underwater nation having to compete with land-bound countries for trade and business. In fact, there is a famous saying in Lobest: “Get wise fast or die even faster.” Unfortunately, their isolation has made them a bit weary of others. They often overthink things and are quick to jump to assumptions and become paranoid about the actions of outsiders. It’s not all mistrust of others, though. Growing exposure to foreigners have led to an increase in curiosity of other species, what they have to offer and, unfortunately, has given way to a rise in marital infidelity.

I’m afraid we’ll have to end it there for today. Rest assured there will be other nations (and quirky monarches) to learn about in the future.

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