How do you stay interested in your comic

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How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby Pidgeot Slayer » August 26th, 2019, 1:21 am

I have started many comics and none of them have reached page 10. I always just got bored or gave up on it for some reason. The reason is possibly drawing (still affects a sprite comic) becouse I can't do it for long and I suck.
I have thought of using screenshots from games and making a comic but also give credit to the game I got the screenshots from but I was told that is stealing (maybe there are certain games I can and cannot use? Becouse this one is using roblox [not mine I am just showing a comic that is made from game screenshots]
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby Gibson Twist » August 26th, 2019, 3:03 am

If you're thinking about a level of energy that stays high from the initial idea until completion, that only happens with very short comics. For longer stories, that doesn't exist. We all get sick of them sooner or later, we all get bored, sometimes for long periods, because it's work and work sucks, even when we enjoy what we do. We keep going when we lose the interest or the energy because we want to finish it, because finishing it is more important than whether we're bored. We give it the same weight as someone would give a job.

If your comics are having a hard time getting past 10 pages, maybe you should do comics that are shorter than 10 pages. I'm not being glib, that may just be where your desire to make comics lives. It may also be that you're just jumping to the drawing phase too early, before you've had a chance to figure out the story or if the story is interesting to you beyond the initial idea. That's maybe the most common reason people abandon their comics, the ideas just don't have the legs they thought they did. Happens to us all. You could try to work on shorter comic ideas and see how you do, or sit on ideas a little longer, develop them a little more, and see if they keep your interest longer before you start drawing (assuming this is part of the issue.)
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby artofjoe » August 26th, 2019, 4:23 am

"We give it the same weight we would give a job."
Well put, Gibson.
And I agree. I've been treating it like it was an obligation ever since I was 13 and because of that I've finished about 20 comics now, each over 100 pages. (I'm not trying to brag, just trying to reinforce this argument)

Is your writing accomplishing something for you? Do you find writing fulfilling or even enjoyable?
Maybe there is something you want to say with it, somewhere you want to go with it, an idea you want explored. If you want to be interested in your comic, make a comic about something that captivates your attention. Make a story that even you, the writer, wants to see what happens next. If it's something you enjoy reading, that's when you've struck your gold.
Sure, you may run into a little writers block at times, but there are ways to navigate around that. Have an end goal in mind and write towards that goal.
One time I got 100 pages in before dropping a story, just because I was in love with the world I was building. The plot line and writing suffered too much though, so I've shelved that one for another time.
So, I think there's many factors that go into what'll keep you interested in writing a comic, and you'll probably have to finish a few to really figure out what those are.
For now, I'd say that if you really want to get there, follow Gibson's advice and treat it like a job. Comic authors who don't usually end up going on a lot of LOOOONG hiatus's or quitting, which really disservices your audience.
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby mitchellbravo » August 26th, 2019, 8:46 am

I've had two comics that broke the 100 page mark.

One was a gag-a-day strip I did in high school about marching band. It stuck because it was relevant to me at the time, I was constantly getting inspired for new material and new jokes, and I was working in a style that was extremely easy to maintain but was flexible enough that if I wanted to try something new, I could give it a shot in one strip and then never have to do it again.

My current comic went through a few forms- initial versions of it were kind of unclear in terms of both art and writing style and even the actual period the story was set. Like the band comic, it felt relevant and continues to feel relevant to me. I enjoy writing about my pretend people and their pretend realistic problems. I started out with a cast of 8 characters and it's only grown since then, and the benefit that gives me is that when I get mentally tired of writing about one character, I can just bounce to another. It's like a contained variety that keeps me somewhat focused without ever feeling tied down.

Through middle and high school I had plenty of other comics that either never came to fruition or I got maybe 10 pages in and then my interest fizzled. For me, it's because those comics, unlike the two I discussed above, lacked relevance to me. I had other gag-based strips that were kind of funny concepts (like one that was about anthropomorphic hands and most of the punchlines were either puns or jokes based on the shit hands have to do) but it was more fun to just think of the jokes than to actually draw the comic. I tried a few times to do a journal comic but again, thinking of the stories about my life and putting them into words was more rewarding than the effort of drawing them. I had a few other ensemble-based comics but they were either kind of wacky and required more world-building than I've ever in my life cared to do, or they were realistic in the same vein as my current comic but were deeply soaked in preteen issues and drama that I stopped caring about.

Every writer and artist is different but for me personally, my current project is still interesting to me because-
1. It's grounded, but flexible. It takes place in the real world but I have a story-wise diverse cast who change and grow and therefore don't become boring or irrelevant to me. I also have freedom in terms of doing more dramatic or more comedic strips depending on the character(s) and the plot. My writing now is a lot different from my writing ten years ago as a natural course of the story's evolution, so I never feel like I'm just doing the same thing over and over again.
2. Though there's parts of the actual drawing process that always feel at least a little tiresome, I think the art is striking a good balance between feeling fluid to create while also being challenging enough to stay interesting. A more technically precise style* would leave me overwhelmed and drawing would feel like a chore, while a more simplified style in the tune of what i used to use for my gag-a-day strip wouldn't feel as rewarding when I finished a page.

*For a brief time I wanted to do a comic set in the future about a space custodian, but the idea of having to draw all the technology of the spacecrafts and any alien life forms was so off-putting to me I never even did a concept sketch for it.

But in general, the two fellows above said it really well. You have to be realistic about your own abilities as a writer and artist- not everyone's cut out for long stories; I know I struggle with shorter pieces, it depends on your strengths and just what your brain finds fun. You also have to be introspective about what you want to achieve and what aspects of the process are rewarding to you. Is it reader interaction? Is it the feeling of pride after you complete a page or scene? Does drawing just feel cathartic to you in some way?

Because I"m annoying, and this might be playign semantics, I'll also counter the idea of weighing it like a job, depending on who you are as a person. I'm a deadline-avoidant person and the more obligated I feel I am to do something ostensibly fun, the more I will procrastinate against and hate it. When I got too serious about my comic, I fell out of love with it and it was a really bad time for me. If you think putting a serious focus on it will motivate you, more power to you and I'm a little jealous. For me, it has to be something I do out of intrinsic motivation (even if that motivation is just "Finish this scene so you can get on to the next one and get closer to that other one ages down the line you're really psyched about") but again that's dependent on your personality.
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby racarter » August 26th, 2019, 2:50 pm

Man idek. I’m plenty interested in my comic but can’t seem to work up the motivation to actually work on it. It’s all fine and good when I know what I wanna do but now I’m afraid I’ve hit a roadblock and what exactly to do next. Plus I’ve got so many other ideas for comics and when I was all “okay I’ll just take a break from WotE” and work on another comic - suddenly I get a brilliant idea for WotE that I can’t stop thinking about, thus I lose interest in my other ideas.

And yet, here I am at 2:40PM, not having actually worked on my comic in like a month. As in new pages, I was slowly coloring other pages but even that I could hardly work up motivation to do.

Thankfully I had a good sized buffer, but it’s dwindled enough that after my update on September 9th, I’ll only have 9 pages left for a buffer. So I’m going on hiatus after the 9th. Which is fine because my one year anniversary is on the 13th anyway, so it sorta works out.

The way I see it tho, one way or another I am going to finish my comic. For once I wanna commit to something and finish it like I want to.

Staying interested tho? Well, new ideas I can implement usually help renew my interest. I went through about 10 changes after chapter one was done and while I was working on chapter 2, because I was already getting bored. I also like doing weird or gross things, like chapter 3 was a set up chapter and kinda boring - so I had Roxanne throw up seemingly out of nowhere. I figured “why not?”, then that let me show hints of how... strange Cassandra is without getting spoilery.

For me, inspiration can come from anime, mythology, manga, abstract art, old movies, and of course the black hole that is TV Tropes.

But that all probably isn’t super helpful lol
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby Pidgeot Slayer » August 26th, 2019, 5:53 pm

Okay. Cool but is it stealing to use screenshots from a game I am playing and makes comic? Becouse I have seen one using roblox for their comic (like I mentioned in my thread starting comment) but I was also told by someone a few months ago (an admin I think they were) that it was art theift
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby eishiya » August 26th, 2019, 6:16 pm

Pidgeot Slayer wrote:Okay. Cool but is it stealing to use screenshots from a game I am playing and makes comic? Becouse I have seen one using roblox for their comic (like I mentioned in my thread starting comment) but I was also told by someone a few months ago (an admin I think they were) that it was art theift

Smack Jeeves doesn't have "admins" exactly. There's just the one user named Admin, who created the site. There are a few forum moderators, but they're just for the forum, they don't have anything to do with the main site.

It is art theft, but it's a type of art theft that's typically tolerated, especially if the source is made clear (as is the case with screencap and sprite comics most of the time). As a general rule, well-known and highly successful games tend to be "okay" to use and owners tend to turn a blind eye since such use only serves to further advertise their work, but using lesser-known games or the work of independent creators is typically less acceptable because such use can hurt them rather than help them.
All such use is against SJ's terms of service though (as is the case on most sites), so if someone does want to report your comic and SJ decides to play it safe and remove it, you'll have no recourse.
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Re: How do you stay interested in your comic

Postby jellyfishin » August 26th, 2019, 9:17 pm

Gonna throw my two cents in here regarding the ability to stay interested in making a comic. And, not to be a blasphemous devil's advocate here, but maybe a comic medium might not be the best medium for the story you want to tell?

I'm not at all saying this to be a Debbie Downer. Rather, your original post about how your struggling with drawing, and your inquiry about using screenshots, gave me the impression that you're struggling with generating images at the pace you want/need. And, as mentioned in this thread earlier, you have to realistic about your own abilities as a writer and artist - and sometimes that means that a comic might not be the way to go. Barring splash pages, a typical comic page can have somewhere between 5 to 9 panels. So, for a short ten page comic, you're gonna likely need around 50 to 90 images. If pumping out 50 to 90 drawings or screenshots is not something you can push yourself to do (either out of obligation or fun), then interest in continuing your comic could be squashed right there and then just due to frustration with inability.

Not all stories need to be told through a comic medium. There's writing, there's illustrations, there's writings with illustrations, there's illustrations with captions. And there's music/audio for those who prefer a sound-based medium over a visual one. (I guess there's also animation, too, but that's a serious drawing beast to tackle, one that I would consider to be even harder than doing comics).

If you're still dead set on pursuing the comic medium, then I would recommend you take a bit of a step back and figure out how you plan on approaching images. If you go with drawing, then obviously the answer would be to brush up on your drawing skills and learn how to draw more effectively. If you go with screenshots, then brush up on how to take photos (effective screenshots are actually not as easy as you think they are. Taking screenshots are like taking photos - anyone can take a photo, but not everyone can take a good photo).
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