- Arts and Design
Tips on Starting an Online Comic Strip
Starting your own online comic strip is not as hard as you might think, but there are a number of details that you have to think about. Since I have been doing mine for a while now, I think I can offer a good amount of advice regarding the subject. Some of the details that many people don’t think about are how often they are released, how they will be released, how they will be promoted and so forth. I will try to cover as many of the various aspects as possible in a single article.
Decide on the Characters and Theme
The first thing you need to do is just create your basic characters and have some sort of description as to their personality types. In my comic strip, I wanted to create a punk rock band. It was your basic four man group that had a guitar player, bass player, drummer and a lead singer.
The next group of characters would be the people they work with, their family members and their girlfriends and wives. With each character I created, I basically created a brief description of their personality types. I did it in a Word document. I probably started out with at least a dozen characters or so. Each character was given a name and a description which included their relationship to the four main characters.
Each of the characters had a day job, like many people starting out in the music business. So as part of thr characters' descriptions, their occupation was included. So you have the basic characters, the basic theme and various supporting characters.
The Main Characters
Decide on a Release Schedule and Method of Release
After I felt I had enough characters to work with, I decided to create my first strip. It was a basic four frame layout and I decided to stick with that format for all of them. One reason was that it was simpler for placing the strips in a page on a website and it was easier for the layout in an e-book if they all were the same dimensions.
So I created a few strips to see how it would go. I was somewhat satisfied with them but I did not release them right away for a few reasons. One reason was that I wanted to decide what the schedule was going to be for the release of each strip. At first I decided to just do one a week, just to see if I could do that as a minimum. I felt that if that was easy enough, then I could eventually release more each week.
The method of release was basically to post the comic strips on the website and also post them on my various social networking pages. I would post them on my Twitter account, my Facebook pages, my Google Plus page and on my Pinterest account as well. When I release a comic strip, I post it on all of those pages at the same time.
Create Social Networking Pages
Create a Website and a Blog
Secondly, I needed a website for the strip. So I reserved the domain name and created the website. I wanted the website to have multiple pages. I wanted it to have more than just the comic strip itself. One of the first things I did was create a page that introduced the characters of the strip. It had a picture of each character and some information about the character right next to the picture.
I then created some basic merchandise and included a merchandise page. After that, I created a few other pages. Once I was satisfied with that, I created a page that had the latest strip on it. It would be updated each time a new one was released.
Marketing an online comic strip is a bit tricky. People don't really get too interested in one until a good number of strips have been released. So expecting it to take off before you have a good number available to be viewed is not very realistic. It takes time to build interest and a following.
So at this point I had my first few strips, a website and some merchandise. I then decided to create a blog for it. I also created a Facebook page and a Twitter account for it as well. That way I could do some basic social network marketing for the strip.
Create a Merchandise Page to Monetize Your Website
Create Enough Comic Strips to Be a Couple of Months Ahead
I created enough strips to be about two months ahead. Remember that if you are to release them on a regular basis, then you have a deadline to meet. If you get sick or something occurs that may prevent you from working on the strip, you may then miss a deadline. You can't allow that to happen, so you need to have a number of them made up in advance. I felt that two months in advance was a good amount.
So after I had enough comic strips created to put me two months ahead, I officially released the first comic strip. I posted it on all of my social networking pages and included links to the website for the strip as well.
See How Things Go
After a while, it seemed as if one strip a week was very easy, so I decided to increase it to three strips a week. Remember that you have to have regularly scheduled release dates. I decided to release the three strips on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week. I have pretty much stuck to that schedule for about two years now.
I now have enough strips available to be viewed to have an "Archives" section on my blog. I link to each ten strip collection from the website. At this point, I have over 330 strips available to be viewed, right from the beginning to the most recent release.
Basic Marketing Ideas
Now, one of the items for consideration was the name for the strip. I decided to use a domain name for the comic strip. I first checked to see if it was available and once I saw that it was, I reserved the domain name. I put the domain name on the bottom of each comic strip that I release so that if someone likes the strip or is curious to find out more about it, they would know where to go in order to find it.
The name of the website is Punksters.net and I call the comic strip the "Punksters.net Comic strip Series." On the bottom of each strip you will see the Punksters.net logo. So if I post a strip on one of my social media pages and other people re-post it on theirs, anyone who sees it will know where to go in order to find out more about it.
If you decide to do an online comic strip of your own, you will come to find that there is a certain amount of online marketing and promotion you will have to do in order to draw attention to it. It may get to the point where you are spending more time trying to market and promote it than actually creating the strips themselves. It's okay, it's part of the process.
You Could Use Free Desktop Wallpapers to Help Market the Comic Strip
Write All of Your Ideas Down
There is one last thing I want to mention before I finish here. You need to write all of your ideas down. Every time I come up with an idea for a strip, I write it down. I have a Word document where I keep all of the ideas. Then, as I use each strip idea, I remove it from the document.
I write out each strip before I even do the visual part. I do a basic script for each one that has the dialogue separated by each frame. I have probably enough of those mini-scripts for probably ten strips ahead of what I have already created. It's much easier to create the strips if the script for it has already been written in advance.
So now you have some idea as to what all is involved. If you were unsure as to how to go about it or how to get started, hopefully, I have given you enough information and ideas to help you. Once you get into a regular schedule, it's not really so bad. After a while, when you get into a basic routine, it actually gets easier and you get better and faster at it. Just give it a try and you'll see what I mean.
© 2017 Bob Craypoe