Comic Strip mentality vs Comic Book mentality...
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    Talking Comic Strip mentality vs Comic Book mentality...

    Over the last year I've been pushing my personal creative envelope a bit by focusing less on the quality of my cartooning, and focusing on trying to get a gag across in the form of comic strips once a week (so far, I've learned some of my limits, but am glad to reach my goal getting to one year of once weekly strips done). Its been quite a paradigm shift to go from trying to focus heavily on doing higher quality work to just simple cartoons where the art is more in gag delivery than the quality of the pictures.

    Contrast this with comic book mentality where the story and image quality have be absolutely on par with each other!

    Is there any example of the 'art of the gag' mixing with the 'art of quality' in comic strips these days? I know there are loads of great comic book out there as examples with great gags combined with the high quality of art that more lenient deadlines allow for...

    Any cartoonist out there with any advice or opinions for furthering artistic quality while simultaneously increasing output? Also, any advice for keeping creative output going on a consistant weekly basis for comic strips (beyond watching politics...)?

    Michael "Sudsy" Sutherland

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    Email a cartoonist from one of the major or local papers? there's also a mag from twomorrows.com that had an inteview with the creator of Non Sequitor.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    In Artist's and Graphic Designer's Marketplace I had read an interesting article on syndication/self-syndication and in there I believe it was King Features Syndicate's rep that said good writing will get you past bad art better than good art will get you past bad writing. Make sure that the gags are good as a matter of first principles. Probably not popular advice around here, but advice nevertheless.

    That having been said, the market in traditional print periodicals is shrinking almost catastrophically. If folks will give it away for free on the internet, does the future hold something you could legitimately call a market?

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    Quote Originally Posted by arttorney View Post
    That having been said, the market in traditional print periodicals is shrinking almost catastrophically. If folks will give it away for free on the internet, does the future hold something you could legitimately call a market?
    The manner in which Webcomics create a 'market' or any profit at all is entirely dependent upon the number of people who read, enjoy, and are willing to shell out money for products such as t-shirts and original artwork. Right now, there are only a handful of artists successful enough to enjoy the fruits of their webcomic art, but then how many cartoonists actually live completely off of their work that is published in the daily comics section of the local paper?

    I've definitely found the 'writing' a very rewarding challenge! I've certainly got a ways to go before I even consider anything more than 'experimental' however!

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    Most webcomic artists make their money through merchandising. T-shirts, prints, commissions, books, and so on. Advertising brings in a little, but as far as I know it's not a major amount of income. To that end, simply getting a lot of views takes a back seat to creating a community around your work that'll support your other efforts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    Most webcomic artists make their money through merchandising. T-shirts, prints, commissions, books, and so on. Advertising brings in a little, but as far as I know it's not a major amount of income. To that end, simply getting a lot of views takes a back seat to creating a community around your work that'll support your other efforts.
    That certainly brings up another good subject... Webcomics are certainly a great place for personal fulfillment versus an income!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudsy View Post
    That certainly brings up another good subject... Webcomics are certainly a great place for personal fulfillment versus an income!
    Unless your name is Scott Kurtz. Or maybe Gabe/Tycho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudsy View Post
    That certainly brings up another good subject... Webcomics are certainly a great place for personal fulfillment versus an income!
    Following up on that, webcomics to some extent do fulfill one of the old punk rock ideals. Anyone can do it, even if they're not good at it, and be true to themselves regardless of bad reviews and such. And when they are good, they really highlight the poverty of ideas that have been in newspaper strips for decades now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudsy View Post
    Any cartoonist out there with any advice or opinions for furthering artistic quality while simultaneously increasing output? Also, any advice for keeping creative output going on a consistant weekly basis for comic strips (beyond watching politics...)?
    Sure. Art-wise: practice the snot out of drawing so you do the right thing automatically. Automate non-creative tasks (eg: make panel templates, there's no sense in drawing the same rectangles every damn time). Make wise artistic decisions and put your time into the things that will give you the most aesthetic bang for your buck.

    For example, colouring is a time-consuming process that can make your comic look a lot better (if you do it well). But it's like the paint on a house -- if the foundation and walls aren't solid, paint isn't going to make it all better. Lots of people add colour to their comic when their time would be better spent making the design and composition solid. A well-designed black and white comic will look much better than a poorly-designed colour comic. Same with details. Sometimes extra detail in the right place will really make your panels pop. Other times extra detail will just make the panel unclear and will be a bunch of extra work for no reason. Knowing what you need to put in where will save you a lot of time.

    As for keeping up with ideas, first off you need input so get out of the house every day and talk to people. Bounce ideas off your friends. Read a lot. Observe a lot. Always be thinking about whether you can use something in your comic. And then put all that input in the back of your head and let it percolate. Go for a walk, ride the bus, lie awake in bed and think about stuff. Then write all your ideas down because you're going to forget them otherwise.

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