Friday, June 6, 2014

A Webcomic Creator's Best Friend: Review of Unnatural Talent by Jason Brubaker

Making a webcomic is like being in a Brother’s Grimm fairytale. It’s easy to get lost in the forest and have no idea which path to take. Which way should I go to attract more readers? Which path is best for publishing it? What is this Kickstarter creature?

If you need help navigating through the jungle that is publishing a webcomic, add this book to your bookshelf. I’ve added to my personal list of must have books for comic artists.

Unnatural Talent doesn’t sound like the title of book that comic creators should use when planning their webcomic journey, but that’s totally what it is. Jason Brubaker created a comic entitled Remind, and this book not only covers the process of creating this webcomic from drawing it and posting it online to publishing in print, but it’s also overflowing with helpful advice.

The book starts with him outlining the mistakes and failures of a previous comic he created. They’re the type of mistakes that most comic artists can relate to at some point--rushing to get the comic out without paying attention to detail, not building an audience, and so on.  It’s nice hearing about someone else's failures because it made me feel like someone has been through this too, and it’s okay. Making mistakes is part of it, and the important thing is to learn from them. But if someone who is experienced gives you advice, you can avoid some of those pitfalls.

From there his book proceeds to follow the process of making a webcomic: going from planning, drawing pages and posting it online to finding an audience and finally publishing it in print.

One topic I’m glad he covered is how to make a comic look consistent from page to page. The key is spending a good amount of time on character and setting design. I confess, my character design sheets for Wings and Mascara were rushed and not as good as they could've been. As for setting design--non-existent. Yeah, I know that’s bad.

Personally, I like to draw it now and draw it fast. I’m just so excited about every story I make, and I can’t wait to see it in my hands. Still I really appreciated Brubaker’s emphasis on taking your time. It took him years to write Remind just the way he wanted it before getting started on drawing it. He brings out that newcomers to webcomics should take the time to learn how to draw well so they can create their best work. Then he writes about taking time to develop the story properly. He explains how it takes at least 6 months to build a sizable audience of regular readers, and then not to rush with creating a Kickstarter campaign.All of this emphasis on not rushing is to ensure that the comic can be at its highest quality when it goes out into the world.

This book also takes the frustration out of webcomic promotion and choosing a printer. Those topics are high on the list when it comes to the most confusing decisions that webcomic artists have to make.

Overall, Unnatural Talent is very informational and helpful. It’s like a guide that leads you through the forest of making a webcomic.  

Click here to check it out on Amazon: Unnatural Talent: Creating, Printing and Selling Your Comic in the Digital Age  

Have you read Unnatural Talent? What did you think about it?