BreakingModern — Whenever I tell my friends that I’m making a webcomic, they always ask what the hardest part is. Is it the drawing? The writing? Getting the word out? I always answer: A comic starts out like any other story — as an idea. The hardest part for me — and I imagine this is true for most creators — is actually getting that idea off the ground. Here’s my webcomic 101 rundown for you, so you can see what the whole process is like.
Webcomic From the Ground Up
Let me start out by saying that I’ve had no formal art training, classes or anything like that. The only experience I’ve had drawing can be found in my class notebooks, where most of my doodles reside. My storytelling skills were only limited by my imagination, a plus since I’m a serial daydreamer.
I also relied on bits and pieces I picked up drawing through osmosis and from my well-read manga collection. So when the idea of creating my own webcomic popped into my head about a year ago, saying I was unprepared would’ve been a serious understatement.
The reality of my situation set in as I sat down to write the prologue. For the first time, I realized that I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never written a creative work before. Who were my characters going to be? How was I going to make it original? These questions and the blank page haunted me.
It took a while, but I realized I first had to ask myself, “What do I want to write about?” I knew I wanted to write a story with strong fantasy elements, but I also wanted it to be set in modern day. After style and setting, the story’s characters were my main focus. I planned to write for an audience of teens and young adults, so I decided to draft the main character be a teenager. This way, the audience could immediately relate to the protagonist. It also meant a more relatable work for myself, as I’m a teenager, too! “Write what you know” is an age-old lesson. Now, I’m not saying that I came up with these ideas overnight, but I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a little focus.
The next hurdle I had to overcome was my limited drawing skills. To expand them, instead of signing up for art classes, I went to the always-helpful YouTube and started searching for how-tos and tutorials. Soon I found my metaphorical holy grail in the form of Mark Crilley, an artist and comic/manga writer. On his YouTube channel, he describes in detail the different styles and techniques he uses for characters, settings and comic panels, all the while cracking jokes that had me laughing out loud. It’s mainly due to his videos that I’ve been able to create my own art style, as well as learn the basics (so thanks, Mark Crilley!). Armed with this knowledge, I began my webcomic in May of 2014. You can find it at shardsofalex.deviantart.com.
I’m still new to the comic scene, so I hope my limited knowledge provided some helpful insights on how you can start your own webcomic. I’ll continue the instruction with a more in-depth how-to shortly. I guess if there’s one thing I’ve learned during this process, it’s that you need to have a strong desire to get something accomplished.
Whether it’s comics or building a car, an idea is not the same as execution. Everything is at your finger-tips, you just need to take that leap.
Comics: Alex Kwong