The fine fellas at Digital Strips did a podcast review of Bug. They ramble a bit but so does Bug so it’s a good fit. Give it a listen by clicking here.
I don’t know about you, but I got in a rut with my desktop wallpaper. I assume most folks change their background on a regular basis but I haven’t changed mine in over two years. On top of that, I have a desktop and a netbook computer and I had the SAME image on both! How painfully uncreative of me.
I finally decided to change them. In honor of my renewed interest in Star Trek, I got a Klingon Bird of Prey on the desktop and the Enterprise (the one from Star Trek I and II) on the netbook. I’m actually quite surprised how much happier I am when I sit in front of both machines now.
And with that, I decided it was high time I made you guys some desktop wallpaper of my own.
I’ve never done this before but it looks pretty simple and straightforward. All I gotta do is make sure I offer various resolutions, right? I’m also interested in making some lil’ avatars as well. Basically, I’m just ripping ideas off another great cartoonist, Mary Varn, who draws the delightfully geeky NPC. Click here to check it out.
I have no problem with folks who charge a small fee for this kinda stuff, but to be honest, I just don’t feel like charging for this stuff. I like the idea of offering some sort of freebies. Plus, I’m lazy and don’t feel like figuring out how to set up the payment system.
My plan is to start working on designs this weekend and I’d absolutely love to get some feedback from you guys. Is there anything you’d like to see as far as wallpaper and avatars? Sock it to me.
During an interview with Tom Racine at Tall Tale Features, I was asked what I would tell other webcartoonists who are just starting out. I didn’t really have much of an answer. I eventually responded, in regards to the inner workings of web design: “If you’re not sure, don’t do it.”
Now I still feel that’s sound advice, but I think I can offer a little more. So with that in mind, here’s a list of things I’ve learned after doing a webcomic for a year:
You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s OK. I told myself this when I gave up on submitting comic strips to syndicates and decided to take a stab at webcomics. Unfortunately, I had no knowledge of how to do a webcomic. I did my best to learn the technical aspects of webcomics but I knew mistakes were unavoidable. The best thing to do is accept it and learn from what mistakes you will inevitably make. The “pre-forgiveness” I gave myself helped keep me calm during moments of crisis.
If you hate drawing your comic: STOP! I drew a different webcomic before the one I’m currently working on. It was a cute idea but after a hundred strips, I was sick of it. It became increasingly difficult to write for and just wasn’t fun to work on. But I kept working on it because I felt I had to. Drawing a webcomic is a job, and it is work, but it shouldn’t be a grueling chore. I eventually stopped drawing that first comic and gave myself a couple of weeks to reevaluate the strip and see if I could come up with a better idea. Thankfully, I found a much better strip that feels more natural to write and draw. I had to draw the wrong strip to realize what the right strip was.
Make a least one meeting with a copyright / trademark lawyer. At some point, once you feel you got a handle on your comic and it’s cast of characters, go find a lawyer and make sure your comic is not infringing on someone’s already established property. The lawyer I saw charged $100 just for a meeting but it was money well spent. I learned a lot. You don’t want to get hit with a cease & desist letter from a company with deeper pockets than yours.
Free time WILL be sacrificed. I used to see my friends every Tuesday night. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now not everyone will have to give up as much. And to be honest, if I worked a little harder on the weekends I could probably see them more often, but then I’d lose my weekends. No matter what I do, I’m gonna lose some free time. You have to really want to draw a webcomic. Don’t go into this thinking you can still do ALL the fun things you used to do. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
That’s all I can think of right now. I’ve learned more but those are the big ones; the important stuff I think all beginning cartoonists should know and keep in mind. If you’re a webcartoonist, please comment on the things you’d tell folks just starting out. I’m sure I can learn a thing or two as well.
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” - Pablo Picasso
I was looking at other webcomics a few days ago and saw something I never noticed before on Matt Forcum’s website (Matt does a wonderful webcomic titled Robot Beach – click here to check it out). He has an audio blog on his site! I never would have thought of doing something like that. I have plans to do a podcast someday and an audio blog sounded like a perfect stepping stone. So I did the honorable thing: I contacted Matt and informed him that I was ripping off his idea (actually, I asked if he’d mind if I followed in his footsteps and he granted me his blessing).
So I got myself an account on audioboo, whipped up an icon for the link, and threw it in the left sidebar. But after I did that, I felt that the twitter icon looked rather shabby in comparison. So I decided to give it a revamp. I like it a lot more. The original one was cute but the new one is simpler and bolder.
Now I felt I was all done.
Then I took a long gander at the donation button. At first, I thought,”Crap, now I gotta change that one too.” But the idea of redoing that button didn’t sit right with me. The more I looked at it, the unhappier I felt about it’s presence. My plan was to remove it once I had some real merchandise to sell (books, T-shirts, posters). That way I could say, “There’s no reason to donate money to me and get nothing for it. If you want to show your support, go ahead and purchase something from my store.” But the reality is my ad revenue is paying well and that’s all thanks to you guys visiting the site so, in a way, you’re already donating to the site. Plus, I figure taking down the donation button will kick my butt in gear to make some merch.
So that’s the story behind my changes to the left sidebar. Like ‘em? Hate ‘em? Lemme know what you guys think.
A little while ago Tony Piro, the talented cartoonist behind the comic Calamities of Nature, asked me if I’d like to draw a guest strip for him. It’s a flattering thing to be asked and I had a blast playing around in someone else’s sandbox. Click here to check it out.