5 FUN TIPS TO TURN MAKING COMICS INTO A LIVING HELL

It all began with a feeling of excitement.


A world where everyone has a soulmate. A private detective who can see what your soulmate is seeing simply by touching you. And who uses that power to solve crimes?!


"Punchie, you're a genius!"


As I typed out a plot outline, fingers hitting the keys faster than a concert pianist on a caffeine drip, I was sure the hard part was over. I was wrong. As wrong as ice cream for breakfast, or punching a unicorn. I had no idea that our epic tale of romance, betrayal, murder, discrimination and heroism would take six years to go to print.


But here we are, six years later, and while Luminology, our proudest achievement, is finally on Kickstarter, there are tips we could've followed to get there in half the time.


Instead, we followed THESE tips:


TIP 1: Bite off WAY more than you can chew.


For a creative, life doesn't get much more exciting than setting to work on your latest spark. But if you're new to making comics, beginning with your magnum opus is not the brightest idea, especially if that idea is a 300-page graphic novel like Luminology.


The reason is simple: Mistakes. There will be LOTS of them. And the bigger your story is, the harder they'll be to fix. By starting with 5 or 6 page stories, or maybe even the occasional one-shot, you'll have an infinitely higher turnover of work, develop much more quickly and save your head a few bangs against the wall. So don't even think about doing that! Instead, open those gnashers wide, bite off the biggest chunk you can, and look forward to losing your mind later!



TIP 2: Ensure the concept could NEVER be adequately explained in a sentence shorter than this one.

Yeah, that one. People have short attention spans, especially when they're scrolling through social media. If they can't get through your elevator pitch before being distracted by the cute video of the dog sleepwalking, you're finished.


I'm immensely proud of the detailed world we created for Luminology, but explaining how every character falls into one of five soul classes, and that these classes determine their personality type, and that the skull class is an oppressed minority group? Well, let's just say it can't be done in ten words, and if it could, my life today would be SO much easier. If there's a masochistic bone in your body, I strongly recommend making the whole thing as convoluted and unfathomable as possible.



TIP 3: Be inconsistent. Some of the time, anyway.

This one cost us. Big.


The fact is, Punchie's art just kept getting better. She couldn't help it. Every chapter looked better than the last. Now this may sound like one of those "happy accidents," like the discovery of penicillin or something, but as a comics creator, you don't want anyone reading back and thinking how crappy the first few chapters look.


So, you'll do what we did. You'll go back and fix them up to reach the same level of quality as later chapters, and this will result in countless hours of work that could've been spent learning new skills on other projects. If you want an easy, stress-free, BORING path to success, set a style and stick to it. Otherwise, do what we did!



TIP 4 – Wait until the very last moment before letting anyone see your work.

Very few creators start off fully-formed and most need to experience rejection in order to improve. Many experts will advise you to face that period ASAP. Listen to criticism and learn from it. Contact publishers. Start Kickstarter campaigns. See if your concept is marketable. Don't spend years scribbling away only to realize you've done the artistic equivalent of putting all your eggs in one basket. Remember, they say, if the answer is "no," it's better you hear it sooner rather than later.

Well, I wouldn't be the broken man I am today if I endorsed forward planning like this, so forget all that garbage, grab your coat and a twenty, and I'll meet you down at Duke's Bar for happy hour!


 

So, those are my first four tips to turn making comics into a living hell. I hope they help you to make all the same mistakes I did.


But this story isn't over yet. To know how it ends, head on over to Luminology on Kickstarter and take a look at the 12 sample pages on the campaign page. Only then will you know if six years of pain, toil and, let's face it, stupid mistakes, have been worth it.


I'll wait here with my fingers firmly crossed. Which brings us to my fifth and final tip!


TIP 5 – Don't have anything else to fall back on. Then panic.

Oh merciful heaven, PANIC!



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