Reworking old pages?

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Reworking old pages?

Postby Hungie » January 4th, 2019, 9:13 pm

I've had this problem since midway last year - the problem of reworking old pages. As someone who draws in a manga art style, I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my art however, there's a difference between subtle style changes and plain improvement. Do you guys have this problem? Where your first pages of you webcomic were like your first steps into the digital arts? If I should rework these pages, when should I rework them? Since I'm aiming for my comic to be taken at least half-seriously, I feel like my older styles detract from this objective - but reworking old pages seems like a hassle, both for myself and those that wish for future pages.

Little Comparison
Old (August 2016)

New (December 2018)

Afterthought: I think I will end up improving more as time goes on, so eventually, maybe the 'current' pages will also become outdated as well... Oh dear
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby eishiya » January 4th, 2019, 10:07 pm

I can definitely understand wanting to rework old pages! Do not give in to the temptation though! At least, wait until the comic is done. Then you'll be even better, and probably way faster.

Seeing the improvement happen is also just plain fun as a reader! If the old art doesn't get in the way of understanding what's going on, I think it's better to only do touch-ups and leave the old look intact even after the comic's done, so that readers can experience the art evolution. Most readers check out the newer pages when judging whether the art's good enough, so you don't need to worry too much about the older art being worse.

For my own comic, I plan to touch up the worst of the old pages if I do a print version after the comic's done. I also want to touch up the cover towards the end. If I never do a print version though, I might just leave them as-is, since the old art is readable enough.
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby annaf » January 5th, 2019, 6:07 pm

I would avoid reworking entirely. It seems like an easy trap to get caught in: always reworking the old pages and never making new ones or even finishing your project because you always go back to the beginning.

I usually repeat something like this to myself:

Page one alone looks great. Compared to page thirty, page one isn't great. Compared to page sixty, page thirty isn't great. And so on.

You're never going to get away from that.
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby MaruExposito » January 5th, 2019, 7:25 pm

As previously mentioned: avoid reworking on old pages unless your comic is finished or you really have the extra time.

It "hurts" to see pages way below your current level. Especially if you took some hiatus that makes the level gap bigger. But readers are happy it improves over time.

Exception from my case:

I have 3 styles in my webcomic: anime color, monochrome, full color.
From ch3, everything becomes full color. So, I decided to rework on the old "anime color" so in the end I just have "monochrome"/"full color".
It is about expectations. My marketing images use the full color but when new readers click on the comic, they find other 2 different styles for a long time. It feels like a "lie".

Yes, the art will inevitably get better as I rework on those pages again, but that is not the key reason. So the improvement can still be noticed, I am just changing the ink/color style and fix some character proportions that bother me. The composition, color bases and so on are the same.

That your comic gets better and better is only good ;)
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby JoKeR » January 6th, 2019, 4:52 pm

I'm right now in a decision phase where I play around with colouring the old pages ...but I won't redraw the lines.
It's still undecided. I got some good advices from eishiya on mastodon.

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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby Nijuice » January 7th, 2019, 1:47 am

I agree with the above comments, as an artist and a reader, it's pretty cool to see the evolution of an artist as they continue to grow. My favorite manga growing up was "One Piece" and the beginning artstyle is drastically different from the current style, and I think that can be a good thing.
As a reader, you get to see the commitment your favorite artist has towards his/her work. As an artist, it humbles me that even my favorite artist has room to grow and improve, and it also motivates me to get to work and not be complacent were I am as an artist.
Even seeing your growth from the examples you give motivates me to improve.
Last edited by eishiya on January 7th, 2019, 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Please don't link to your comic in your posts. You can use the Self-Promotion forum and your signature for that.
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby kzuich » February 8th, 2019, 1:44 pm

My opinion in three words:

Don't. Do. It.

Reworking pages is a death spiral for a lot of comics.
I've touched up pages to fix glaring errors, sure, and once my comic goes to print, the whole thing is getting re-lettered, but I let my old crappy art be a testament to how far I've been able to move forward.

Watching artstyle evolution is cool, too. So I prefer if an artist of a comic I like just leaves it alone.
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby Kyulein » February 9th, 2019, 5:14 am

Often reworking old pages is thought to be synonymous with getting trapped in that vicious cycle of rewdoing the same ten pages for years and never getting anywhere in the story still. However, I feel like reworking older pages does have a place and time.

For myself I set a few conditions:
- reworking older pages should not be at the expense of story progression as a whole
- quick fixes that take a couple minutes max are better to be done right upon spotting than endlessly fretting over the do or do not
- continuity fixes (I usually go over an entire chapter once it's completed and fix visual continuity, I've got a weekend blocked for that at most)
- sections misunderstood by readers (how can I make something clearer by investing minimal time and effort, mostly)
- re-lettering (lettering is often more important that the art, cause it conveys more direct information)
- print prep (cause when printed it's final)

The theme here is mostly that reworking should take exorbitant amounts of time, everything comes back to my first condition. If these fixes mean, I'll have to go on hiatus for an extended period, then it's probably not worth it. I did skip an update or two when I did the print prep, but that's the only time reworking older stuff really slowed me down on the story progression. With print prep it was mostly me having to insert an additional page, cause the spreads hadn't quite lined up :P
If the story doesn't undergo major changes and it's really only the art you want to get to your current standard, then I don't think you should bother. I mean, just look at long running manga series like One Piece or Dragon Ball - the art has changed a lot from first to last/current chapter and readers are still into it. So long as the story is clear to them and the tone consistent there's no pressing need to go back.

And for readers it's a hassle, too! If you go back now, then everbody who is current on your comic will have to go back and also memorize what changed in your story. In most cases there's no exact recollection of how things were before, more of a vague idea. So the moment you introduce change in the past things tend to get confusing. And if the reader isn't all too dedicated in the first place, they might jump ship before it anchors in "endless remake" waters.

Sometimes it's better to pull through with the project, complete it and then simply use what you learned for what comes next.
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Re: Reworking old pages?

Postby Eightfish » February 10th, 2019, 3:50 am

100% agree with everyone here. Do not redo your old pages.

As a reader if I had to choose between getting a new chapter of my favorite comic or getting a mildly improved version of something I've already read, I'd go for new content every time. People are subscribed to see your story, so give them more of that.

And like what other people have said, having really good new art makes the old art not really affect the readers. Like with It's got beginning pages that are really, really bad, but the author's artistic progression and the time he spent on progressing the story and characters instead of redrawing old pages makes me invested enough in his world that I've reread the whole comic a few times despite the subpar old stuff.
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