SDCC10: The Action Web Comics Panel

For aspiring artists and writers who can’t or won’t break into the mainstream comic industry, the web allows indie comic creators to publish on a shoe-string. In room 4 at San Diego Comic-Con, the ‘Action Webcomics’ panel, delved into the world of web comic creation.

The creative team behind Blueshift (www.blueshiftworld.com) talked in-depth about how to collaborate remotely with colorists, writers, editors, and some critical tips for those who aspire to launch their comic digitally. John Van Fleet (Marvel, DC), Dave DeVries (Marvel, DC) and Alex Jiminez (Capcom, Seed Studio) offered up valuable advice based on their hard-won experience creating a direct-to-web franchise.

From putting together a far-flung creative team and keeping them connected using Skype and a robust FTP site, to finding a friend who can help you build your web site, the Blueshift panel really talked the nuts and bolts of their operation as well a some key things to pay attention to.

For instance, even though you may be tempted to produce your comic at web resolution, doing so will preclude you from ever printing your franchise should it become popular enough to warrant such an expense. So the prudent web comic creator should always produce at print resolutions (300dpi) and in CMYK color mode to facilitate quality printing.

Beyond some of the technical points, the panel also touched on the importance of starting with a quality script, generating interesting and unique characters who are sure to be memorable, and the importance of turning points of various types (emotional, action, dialogue and plot).

The team’s artists chatted briefly about their technique of using settings and things as characters. Blueshift takes place in a future where global warming has run amok and much of earth’s land masses have flooded. Specific artistic advice covered topics such as using page skeletons to rough out your panels, using sweeping motions within panels to bring the action to life, and how a good colorist, preferably one with a background in painting can be crucial to the team in creating vivid backgrounds for your scenes.

And finally, the panel discussed PR – getting the word out about your web comic – after all, if know one knows about it no one will be reading it. In their effort to publicize their franchise, the panel talked about the importance of starting and maintaining a blog to connect with fans, connecting with other web comic creators and exchanging links, as well as leveraging bigger sites like Reddit and Digg to really push traffic to your site.

All in all some great advice for anyone considering an all digital approach to comics. If you want to check out the panel’s creative work, be sure to head over to www.blueshiftworld.com. Their amazing artwork has a very painterly quality and is worth a visit on that basis alone.

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