So, you want to make a webcomic, huh? So do I! We have lots in common.
I am currently working on my very first webcomic, "Molly's Ranch Story", a wholesome, slice-of-life story based on my favorite game, "Harvest Moon: Animal Parade". I've worked on print comics before, but this project is my first webcomic project. How exciting!
I've adapted to working in a much different way compared to working for print, and I thought I'd share some tips, helpful hints, and advice from a working comics artist.
If you're curious and need more information, take a look at Tapas and their help section. It's where I got lots of my information, and it's a great resource if you are self-publishing your webcomic there.
1: Understanding the current format
Tons of webcomics are read through mobile devices nowadays. Because of this, the webcomic format for Tapas specifically may seem a bit strange. They want the sizing to be at least 940px wide, and there is no length limit. For me, I have multiple 940X20000px documents for my webcomic. Some of them are up to 35000px long since I have so much content in my first chapter. You will want to set up your document this way so that it is easy for people to scroll and read your comic, whether they do it on their phones or on their desktop. I personally really like this format; it makes it a lot easier to figure out the composition of my pages. But we will get to that later.
2: What art program to use (what do I use?)
Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Procreate, there are lots of digital art programs out there, but I suggest using one that you are most comfortable using. I love Clip Studio Paint so much, and I am using it to produce "Molly's Ranch Story". It was a very affordable program, and the software includes comic tools to make your pages look good. Lots of artist use Procreate, another affordable program. I've seen lots of artists have success with this program, both for webcomic production and for other uses. The great thing about this program is that you can have it on an iPad, or any other surface tablet, so you can work on your comic while enjoying a beverage at your favorite coffee shop.
Again, use a digital program that you are comfortable with. There are tons of courses, YouTube videos, and people willing to teach you all about how to use different art programs if you're stuck!
3: The 5 Steps of comic making
Once you have your outline and script ready to go, it's time for production! I've made a whole blog post about the process for making comics already, so I won't get too specific, but there are, generally, 5 steps to comic making:
In my opinion, the sketch phase is the most important step in any comic production. Making sure you have a solid sketch to ink on top of is essential in many ways. Having an accurate sketch makes for better art, and makes you more efficient in the inking phase. We as comic artists have a TON of things to draw, so making the process faster in any way is a good thing. But take time in the sketch phase; be confident in the sketches to carry you through the rest of the comic production.
In my webcomic, I've been going back to the first few pages and redoing some sketches since I felt my art slightly changed in the duration of working on the comic. I got used to drawing the characters, and there are still lots of poses I need reference for.
The comic-making process can seem like it takes forever sometimes! Try not to rush the process; if you're able to, maybe you can have some art friends help you work on a couple pages of the comic, or even work on the comic as a team. Maybe someone can work on the sketches and script, and the other person can work on inking and color.
I made a blog post going into more detail about the steps of comic making, so please take the time to read if you want more information!
The Webcomic Composition
I actually learned this tip from a tiktok creator. Print comics and webcomics have completely different ways of thinking about how to lay out the pages. With print comics, you can have fun with panel sizing, laying out the scenes. But with webcomic production, your width is a little skinny. The best way to lead the reader's eye down the page is to use a zig-zag format.
I made a little sample sketch for you! This format will make it easier for your reader to move their eye down the comic. It's a lot simpler of a format than laying out panels for a print comic, but it's still a challenge if you want to show some more establishing shots.
If you're really feeling stuck on a composition, take a look at some other Tapas comics on the site. That's what I do when I need some inspiration.
I've recently discovered the webcomic "Spicy Mints", and I enjoy the art style and story a lot! I felt inspired by this comic to continue working on my own! Feel free to check it out and support the artists behind it!
Once you've started production on your webcomic, now you can think about other assets for your comic. The first thing I made was a main cover that will be displayed on the Tapas page.
I really like how it turned out!
Tapas wants you to have a logo or text with your main cover, like I have on mine. You can make it a part of your artwork if you want to! I wanted this main cover to have lots of characters and details. I made sure the characters that were most important to the story were included in the cover. No matter what story you're trying to tell, the main cover should try and encompass everything in your story, without spoiling anything of course.
From there, you can add some promo to the webcomic as you're working on it. I plan on adding links to my social media and my patreon page to the end of some of the pages, and I will be adding little character profiles in between pages. Whatever you feel like is important to add in your webcomic, go for it!
4. Update with my comic: "Molly's Ranch Story"
Let's take a look at where production of "Molly's Ranch Story" is.
Enjoy this intro:
Ta da! I am making good progress on my webcomic, and I hope to release pages starting in late July, early August. I'm really excited to finish up this first chapter. It's been a true labor of love working on this story. I have lots of fun storytelling antics to show off with this story, and I hope you will join me on this webcomic adventure!
Be sure to subscribe to the webcomic on Tapas to see when I update!
See you in the next post!