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Resources for Making Webcomics

Resources for Making Webcomics published on 2 Comments on Resources for Making Webcomics

A post that I plan to keep adding to, as cool new things keep crossing my path.

Artistic resources!

29 Panels that Always Work – the Wally Wood classic, expanded

Artist-Advice, Art-Tutorials, and Help-Me-Draw on Tumblr

Blambot – free quality fonts

Some specific posts on color harmony: by gigi d., by Justin Oakford

Howard Schatz’s photos on the diversity of athletic body types (that link has the women; there’s a matching lineup for men)

MightyDeals – heavily-discounted graphic-design bundles with fonts, tiled patterns, and other resources (don’t be too pressured by the countdown clocks, they tend to rerun the same “limited-time deal” a few weeks in a row)

SenshiStock, Tigers-stock, and my stock & patterns on DA

RoomSketcher – for creating handy modelinteriors

Worldbuilding Stack Exchange – Q&A for writers/artists needing references for science, geography and culture

…and Bing Images for all-purpose reference-image searching. (I know, I know, but Google keeps making itself deliberately harder to use.)

RoomSketcher model vs. final panels: Rowan’s bedroom, Thorn’s living room.


Productivity resources!

5 Simple Website Blockers – Apps you can use to limit your access to distracting parts of the Internet


Website accessibility resources!

Smashing Magazine – fonts, layouts, coding, and general design advice

W3C Markup Validation Service – checks your code

Browsershots – how does your site look when loaded in a hundred different browsers?

WAVE – evaluates different measures of site accessibility

Worth checking: whether your site is still legible to colorblind users.


Webcomic podcasts!

ComicLab, with Dave Kellett, Brad Guigar, and Scott Kurtz. They’re old friends, which means sometimes they’ll wander off into a ten-minute digression about shopping habits or renovating their houses, but they’re also old pros, which means they have a lot of useful thoughts about comicking. Tends to focus more on the business side than the artistic.

Dirty Old Ladies, with Spike from Iron Circus Comics, Kel McDonald, and Amanda Lafrenais. Also friends, all with different levels of experience, covering both business (Spike is on the Actual Publisher level) and creativity (their digressions come in the form of ten-minute summaries for projects they want to work on).

Two of them have erotic comics in their repertoire, thus the title. It’s kind of misleading because they aren’t the only focus — they just come up when it’s relevant.

The SpiderForest Podcast, with various members of the SF collective, plus guests. Each episode includes an interview and a moderated roundtable discussion, so it’s less banter-y, but organized well enough to move along nicely.

(I have more discussion about individual SF podcast episodes over on their forum.)


What not to do!

How Not To Run A Webcomic, a collaborative project that ended in 2006 but is full of solid still-relevant advice.

(…give it enough time and I might add some personal complaints to this one.)

Erin Reviews: The Gateway

Erin Reviews: The Gateway published on No Comments on Erin Reviews: The Gateway

Just finished listening to The Gateway: a 6-part podcast series about “Teal Swan, a new brand of spiritual guru, who draws in followers with her hypnotic self-help YouTube videos aimed at people who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.”

(So if you don’t want to read a long post about those things, you should bail out here.)

I’d never heard of Teal before this, and I still don’t know anything about her beyond what’s in this report. But I do know a few things about psychiatry that aren’t in the series.

And based on that…I have complaints.

Continue reading Erin Reviews: The Gateway

Hey, who wants to see another Lesbian Pride Flag design proposal?

Hey, who wants to see another Lesbian Pride Flag design proposal? published on 3 Comments on Hey, who wants to see another Lesbian Pride Flag design proposal?

It turned out I had a lot of feelings about what this should look like. So you’re getting a design. With history! And symbolism!

First, there are two existing lesbian flags that I wanted to pay homage to:

The labrys lesbian flag, designed by Sean Campbell in 2000:

Looking at all the flags that have taken off in the decades since then, it’s clear that stripes are the way to go. Still, the symbolism in this one is excellent, and sets a high bar.

And the lipstick lesbian flag, designed by Natalie McCray in 2010:

You’ve probably seen a version without the lips used as “the lesbian flag”. And let’s be clear, it has a great aesthetic. It just doesn’t translate so well to everyone in the community who isn’t hella femme.

So here’s my Lesbian Pride Flag proposal:

If you want a specific name to distinguish it from its predecessors…call it the lesbian community flag.

And here’s what it means!

Pink stripes:

  • Shoutout to the gradient design of the lipstick lesbian flag; represents femme lesbians
  • There’s two of them to represent pride in f/f couples
  • And to represent the harmony between “liking women” and “being a woman”
  • And, because the lighter shade echoes the pink from the trans pride flag, to represent that this includes both cis lesbians & trans lesbians

Pale yellow stripe:

  • Echoes the nonbinary and intersex flags, to represent that this includes nonbinary & intersex lesbians
  • Echoes the middle stripe in the pan flag, to represent our attraction to nonbinary lesbians
  • It’s a sandy, beachy shade of yellow, because Lesbos is an island

Lavender stripe:

  • Shoutout to the color of the lesbian labrys flag
  • Honoring the reclamation of the “lavender menace” symbolism
  • Represents the importance of lesbians being feminists, and lesbian issues being part of feminism

Blue-black stripe:

  • This one’s for the butch lesbians
  • It’s at the base of the flag because it’s buff enough to hold all the other stripes up
  • I experimented with plain #000 as another shoutout to the labrys flag, but a brighter stripe worked better with all the other colors, which represents how when all different kinds of lesbians band together we look awesome

Also available: labrys/triangle variations! You can click all these flags for stupidly-high-res versions. (Thanks to Pride-Flags for the high-quality labrys.)

So there you have it, the lesbian pride flag, circa 2018. Just in time to celebrate the third anniversary of the US legalization of same-sex marriage. Maybe too late for any of this year’s Pride parades…but there’s always next year.

If you like it, feel free to use it — put it in graphics, print it on a shirt, knit it into hats, whatever — without restriction.

#LGBTWIP 2018 recap/roundup post. With pictures!

#LGBTWIP 2018 recap/roundup post. With pictures! published on 3 Comments on #LGBTWIP 2018 recap/roundup post. With pictures!

In case you don’t follow me on Twitter, or even if you do: here’s the complete-and-expanded version of everything I wrote about Leif & Thorn for the #LGBTWIP question meme this month!

May 1: Introduce yourself!

I’m Erin Ptah, overworked & underpaid lesbian. I have well-managed depression, several webcomics, and a weakness for time-travel stories & vampires. (Separately or together, either’s good.)

May 2: Pitch your WIP

Leif & Thorn is a cross-cultural fantasy m/m romance w/a big ensemble cast. Really big. Current arc-in-progress sidelines most of the regulars, to focus on Hamilton with magic reincarnated lesbians.

Continue reading #LGBTWIP 2018 recap/roundup post. With pictures!

Leif/Thorn Soundtrack – Shelter From The Storm

Leif/Thorn Soundtrack – Shelter From The Storm published on No Comments on Leif/Thorn Soundtrack – Shelter From The Storm

We build castles with our hands / On a solid ground they stand / They’re our shelter from the storm / Keep us safe and keep us warm

An all-Eurovision Leif/Thorn mix.

(It had to be done. Multilingual songs are thematically on-point for obvious reasons, and “sparkly, magical, gay” is this world’s whole aesthetic.)

Featuring lots of language switches, steady heartbeats, and stormy seas giving way to bright skies.

Continue reading Leif/Thorn Soundtrack – Shelter From The Storm

Should My Webcomic Ads Explicitly Say “BL”/”LGBT”?: a case study

Should My Webcomic Ads Explicitly Say “BL”/”LGBT”?: a case study published on 10 Comments on Should My Webcomic Ads Explicitly Say “BL”/”LGBT”?: a case study

A month ago I set up a head-to-head comparison on some ad banners for Leif & Thorn, and figured other queer-webcomic creators might be interested in the results.

The question is, does it actually entice more people to click on your m/m comic ad if it says “BL” in the corner? Or could that label be a turnoff, since some people have bad associations? What about a more neutral label like “LGBT+”, does that help or hurt?

(…in case anyone doesn’t know, Boys Love is the term used in Japan for m/m comics, so it’s geared to appeal to the manga crowd. You mostly see it on ads for webtoons.)

So I threw together a Project Wonderful campaign and let it run. I’ll explain all the terms for readers who aren’t in the ad game. Or you can skip straight to the end for the final data.

Continue reading Should My Webcomic Ads Explicitly Say “BL”/”LGBT”?: a case study

New interview published on Art of Webcomics!

New interview published on Art of Webcomics! published on No Comments on New interview published on Art of Webcomics!

Go give it a read. I talk about the process of making the strip, advice for artists, and what I would do if I won the lottery.

By the way, if you’re looking for free ways to support Leif & Thorn: send a message to your favorite webcomic site or review blog, telling them to check it out and make a post about it! Webcomicry.com compiled this list of review sites a few years back; many of them are still active, and more have sprung up since. (Some of them take guest posts, too. Just in case any of you want to go the extra mile and write a whole review yourself. Which would be awesome.)

One more thing: vote Leif & Thorn in this poll to help it score some free ad space!

Quickie poll: What color should I make this character’s hair?

Quickie poll: What color should I make this character’s hair? published on 24 Comments on Quickie poll: What color should I make this character’s hair?

I’ve recolored this panel a dozen times and haven’t loved any of the outcomes, and it’s driving me nuts. Readers, what do you think?

The only serious limit is that he’s of United Islander descent, so the color has to be relatively bright and saturated.

He’s the head writer for magical-procedural drama MCLIS, if that helps. (In the criminal justice system, magically based offenses are considered especially heinous.)

ETA: After a few days of voting, #5 is the runaway winner. I mean, wow, none of the others even came close. Blue-tinted hair it is. (Keep an eye out for him in a few storylines!)

How To End Your Webcomic, for #WebcomicChat

How To End Your Webcomic, for #WebcomicChat published on No Comments on How To End Your Webcomic, for #WebcomicChat

Technically I’ve ended 3 webcomics. They’re all Hellsing fancomics — And Shine Heaven Now, The Eagle of Hermes, and Sailor Hellsing — so the full archives are collected on the same site.

Continue reading How To End Your Webcomic, for #WebcomicChat

Webcomic Buffers And You, for #WeHeartComics

Webcomic Buffers And You, for #WeHeartComics published on No Comments on Webcomic Buffers And You, for #WeHeartComics

I keep turning up new webcomic-related Twitter discussions. This one was an (irregular?) offering from WeHeartComics, a product of the SpiderForest collective. (Think “Hiveworks for artists who aren’t into bees.”)

Last Friday was a chat about buffers. Which was a striking thing to jump into, because I’d just been listening to the ComicLab episode where the hosts go “ahh, regular updates are so 10 years ago! Just update whenever you draw something. Readers will be into it.”

And that works great if you’re Kate Beaton (of Hark! A Vagrant) or Sarah Andersen (of Sarah’s Scribbles), where your whole thing is random self-contained standalone bits. (It also helps if they’re Really Good standalones.) But, listen, it’s all wrong for a comic with any kind of continuity. If you slack on the updates there, readers will forget where they are in the story, and end up losing interest.

I don’t know if if strict update times are necessary in the social-media age. Nobody knows when Webcomic Woes is going to update, and it doesn’t matter, because as long as you stay on top of your Patreon/Deviantart/Tumblr feed, it’ll be served up to you.

But for those story-based comics, you’ve got to keep a regular update rate (e.g. “twice a week”). So you may as well keep the posting dates and times consistent too. Keeps your life simple, makes it easier to track your to-do list.

And with that, on to the questions…

Continue reading Webcomic Buffers And You, for #WeHeartComics

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