Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

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Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby SketchLines » March 10th, 2019, 9:36 am

Hey! DrSketchLines here. Usually don't make forum posts because I don't know how forums work :F but I decided to give it a whirl.

What do people, outside of Tapastic and Webtoons of course, think about vertical scrolling comics? Personally, I don't mind them, but it really is such a hassle to make it in that format. It's fine though, making my comic (not promotion :P) vertical scrolling has definitely opened new doors for me in terms of how to structure comics overall, but I was shocked to find that some people don't even know how to read traditional comics. God help you if you want to get into manga, right?! However, it IS really useful for reading comics on mobile, but I honestly never had a problem with traditional comics before. I usually just zoom in with my thumb and index finger and read the comic/manga that way.

Anyway, kind of a redundant question, I know, but the actual curiosity of other people's opinions on the matter is really itchin' me in the back of my skull. I've got nothing against vertical comics (at least now anyway), so I got no prejudice; However, what do you guys think?

EDIT: Oh! While i'm at it, I might as well ask: What are the opinions on vertical scrolling comics on SmackJeeves? I do vertical scrolling on all platforms because I'm just way too lazy to change formats back and forth. I'd rather have one or the other.
My comic, A Wizard and A Cat :) http://awac.smackjeeves.com/
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby jellyfishin » March 10th, 2019, 4:05 pm

I'm kind of neutral on vertical scrolling comics myself. But I do find myself being much more picky on how a comic is displayed on a screen when it comes to vertical scrolling comics.

I think the pinch-and-zoom issue you brought up for traditional comics is more of a case of whether or not the comic was ever intended to be read on a small screen (or even a computer screen, for that matter). Most of the time, they aren't, so I find myself to be more forgiving on zooming in if the comic was really meant to be read as a paperback. (But much kudos to those who make traditional pages that keep the mobile device audience in mind as well!)

I find myself much less forgiving if I have to pinch-and-zoom for a vertical comic since it's the vertical scrolling format is specifically designed for a mobile screen, though. If a vertical scrolling comic requires me to zoom in frequently in order to read it, chances are I'm not going to continue reading it.

I only joined SmackJeeves fairly recently, so my viewing experience of vertical scrolling comics here on SJ is somewhat limited. That being said, I've noticed that some CSS templates seem to be biased (for lack of a better word) on the comic formatting. Not trying to pick on you here, rather I just noticed that whatever CSS template you used for your comic "A Wizard and A Cat" doesn't seem to translate too well on my Kindle, which means that your comic might not be displaying properly on some mobile devices as well, and that could affect the reader's overall experience.
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Ulta » March 10th, 2019, 7:43 pm

I got two views for vertical comics. One from a creator standpoint, and the other from a readers standpoint.

My comic rests on several sites, including Tapas and Webtoon. Originally, I started making my comic traditionally (since at the time, I actually had no idea about either of those sites). Making traditional pages was something I was slightly experienced in, and getting decent at the style is pretty easy with some quick research on it from pros. But when I found out that there we're some really big audiences on Webtoon and Tapas, and eventually falling in love with how vertical comics looked and behaved, I decided to do my comic in BOTH formats.

Here's my experience. MAKING traditional comic pages is tends to feel easier (keyword, feel), and there's something to be said about how the 'pacing' feels for a traditional comic that has a set update schedule. Sometimes it just works better, although given you gotta squeeze the word bubbles into your panels in a precise manner for best effect, it can be limiting in what you can do with it. Panel-planning is also something you need to be mindful of, since you can (and should) be creative with how you display the story. Still, there is a charm to it, and when done right, can still be wonderful to read. We've grown up with this format after all!

Vertical comic style though, is actually pretty darn good imo, especially from a READERS standpoint. If done correctly, it can help you portray your story in a much more intimate way. Vertical panels means more space for that panel. You can do fancy strings of imagery that leads the readers eye into text and actions that otherwise gets lost from the forced left-right reading style of traditional (opposite for manga). Both need to have special attention to pacing of course, but out of the two, I feel like vertical is the future of comic reading, due to it's ease of reading (when done right) and how much more involved the story tends to feel when read in this style. Plus it's quite easy-ish to make panels for, and is built for mobile viewing. It's easier to pull out your phone than waiting till you can get to a PC. In our busy society, convenience is a huge boon for exposure.

But here's my advice coming from someone who is currently doing both styles.

I make traditional pages first, and then later spread those same panels into vertical format. It's the only way you can really do both, and frankly, I am lucky I have the time to do this. I would NOT recommend anyone to do this normally unless you have a ton of time on your hands. While I feel I am scraping by with both versions being acceptable, I KNOW both are falling short because I am not able to give both the time they need to truly shine in their element. Vertical style falls short because the panel borders can look weird if I did something fancy during traditional, and usually it feels too quick paced since traditional tends to stay constrained to a certain page size (and not panel count like good verticals have). And at the same time, Traditional is getting nerfed too because I kinda can't go crazy with style-ization (characters can't pop out of the panels, full-page horizontal or weird panel layouts don't convert well to vertical style due to size, to name two big ones), otherwise it makes the converging a nightmare!

I love both styles honestly, and am happy with my comic using either or. But doing both really is tricky unless you got tons of time, so my advice is focus on one or the other. There is no right or wrong answer! If I had to pick, I'd lean more to vertical just for the ease of mobile-viewing and it's more intricate way of telling a story, but both are still good ways to help tell your story =)
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Demon Works » March 15th, 2019, 9:11 pm

I think they're pretty handy.
There was a comic I had that was on the page format that's is being converted into Vertical form. There's definitely a difference.
And they both come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Almost like Art styles!

The differences are mainly pacing control.
For example, Pages are all there for the reader to glance over and then read. You really don't have a way to stop that... With Vertical strips, there's almost no change of the reader to scroll all the way down and then back up to start reading. That gives you an unusual way to tell a story. You can place the panels farther apart and build suspense.

And Finally, it all depends on how much knowledge a person has of Paneling.
Both formats can be done with various levels of success. ♥
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Kyulein » March 16th, 2019, 5:30 am

As a creator I find them intriguing but also going against my personal goal of putting my comic into print. For screen-only reading they're certainly offering more potential for variety and creativity. I've seen some wonderful things being done with them in terms of pacing, extreme perspectives and use of space. These can be utilised for very unique forms of storytelling.

Speaking of space, though, a pet peeves of mine are the large blank spaces that are used to artificially making an "episode" longer. On occassion they work well with the story, of course, but more often than not they pull me right out of the narrative cause I have to scroll to get to the next panel. When sitting in front of a computer and scrolling with your mouse that gets old very fast. For webtoons specifically, I didn't notice a way to change between episodes by keyboard navigation, so simply using the keyboard isn't quite the solution either.

For me personally, I don't see myself making a comic like that, but I enjoy reading them as long as they don't demand I sacrifice my fingers at the scrolling wheel for minimal return.
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby eishiya » March 16th, 2019, 8:24 am

Kyulein wrote:Speaking of space, though, a pet peeves of mine are the large blank spaces that are used to artificially making an "episode" longer.

The usual purpose of those large blank spaces is not to make the episodes longer, but to make the comic easier to scroll on mobile via flicking, which is much less precise and goes much faster than scrolling with a mouse or arrow keys. For similar reasons, when the author wants to create tension by making the reader scroll longer (roughly equivalent to putting a mini cliffhanger right before a page-turn in print), the space has to be large, or else it'll be scrolled past with a single flick.


I think vertical-scroll comics are well-suited for reading on a phone touchscreen, much more so than even those print-style comics that auto-zoom and let the reader flick between pages. On a mobile phone, there simply isn't room for panel rows that could be used as a pacing device, and spacing things out, while not quite as subtly effective, does a pretty good job, especially in the hands of skilled artists who do more than just leave large blank spaces.
However, I read comics on a large screen and use a mouse to scroll, and the vertical scroll format absolutely falls apart in that setting, it becomes nothing but an annoyance to read. As a result, I tend to avoid vertical-scroll comics without even giving their plot and art a look.
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby MemaiShirosaki » March 17th, 2019, 4:45 am

Seconding what eishiya said. I think it REALLY depends on who your audience is, and where your following is most active. That said, I don't read comics on my phone or mobile devices. I prefer reading them on my PC which has a large screen and uses a mouse to scroll, the gimmick of scrolling for suspense sake can REALLY put me off because you can't really use your keyboard to navigate as effectively.

Also like another poster mentioned, having to format BOTH vertical and traditional style panels take a LOT of time and work. They both have to be compatible with each other in terms of pacing. One thing I have observed though, is that traditional style formats tend to be read much quicker, so updates are often glanced through, or readers develop a binge-reading habit. Whereas vertical style formats forces a reader to pace through the update according to the author, so they take more time to read through.

Personally, I use the traditional formatting since I'd like to have my work printed and I feel there are some really creative ways of telling a story through that format. I haven't really seen a dip in readership, heck, my biggest subscription count are from Tapas and Webtoons respectively /shrug
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Mushroom Flabs » March 20th, 2019, 3:45 pm

I don't mind
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Full Draw » March 26th, 2019, 1:56 pm

I don't mind them either. I think it's ok for me.
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Oly-RRR » March 27th, 2019, 4:29 pm

I'm not big on them and the platforms supporting them. There is a couple of vertical scrolling comics I REALLY enjoy but only because the art/story makes the annoying desktop scrolling experience worth it for me. I think it's a format that works when artists use its strengths consciously and puts thought into it, not a format everyone picks because some currently popular platform is geared towards it.
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby GnomeExterminator99 » March 28th, 2019, 12:39 pm

I draw a vertical scrolling-type comic, and there are a couple of great things about them, and a couple not so great things.

First thing: You don't get the cool complete page with multiple panels effect. But on the plus side, panel layout is one less thing you need to worry about. In the same vein, you do gain some other cool effects, like the ability to create long flowing panels which can be visually very interesting. Similarly, vertical-scrolling comments are a very digital art form and work great on phone screens, but they're really not fit for print. So if you want to kickstart a book? Best to do it the old fashioned way. But on the other hand, if you're writing a traditional comic with 5-7 panels per page, it can be near impossible to read on a phone screen. I've seen kindle try to fix this by showing you the full page, then going panel by panel so you can read it, but that really didn't work for me. Virtually all the comics I'm reading right now are vertical-scrolling because I can access them anywhere.

Here on smackjeeves I'd say that vertical scroll is not the optimal format. If I were to post my comics on a site like WEBTOON or tapas, I'd be able to put multiple "pages" (which are 1-2 panels each) in the same episode, potentially creating a single long-scrolling episode that would be up to 100 panels long. Here I just post them one page at a time, which does impact the flow of the story imo. In fact, I'm considering making long pages with 5-10 panels in each one. Only time will tell what works best.

If I think of more pros and cons I'll add them here, but for now that's all I got!
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Re: Opinions on vertical scrolling comics?

Postby Ricelily » March 29th, 2019, 3:05 am

I don't mind them either. It has a similar effect as storyboards which I'm very used to seeing. If done well, you could create the illusion of "timing" as if you would in an animatic. (minus the VFX and Music). I'm considering make a vertical comic in the future and see if I can pull it off. We'll seeee~
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