My Manga is going into print, it’s going to be limited (around 100 copies).
I want to include 2 (maybe 3 pages depending on the amount of extras) of fanart, so I am asking you, my followers, if you’d like to help me out and draw some fanart of my characters.
The requirements are as follows:
- Black and White/ Greyscale only.
- 600 dpi
- No pornographic works.
- BL/GL is acceptable but keep it soft.
- The deadline is until the 20th of January (sorry about this, but it only got approved now). This date is not flexible.
- Tag it with “red project” if you want me to see it please.
Depending on the number of fanarts I get, I will have to select a few. There will be no winners, no losers, no 1st places or runner-ups, just nice artwork published in my book and sold in Japan, plus my book will be in an art museum for the Japanese public to check it out, so you also have that. :)
Those I select will get a free, signed copy of my Manga, plus some extra goodies from Japan. ;)
If you’re interested, please check the cut below for character references and information regarding the story:
I want to talk about something that might be slightly taboo.The role that readers play in making webcomics. Not that it’s touchy topic, not that it’s something that hasn’t been talked about—but the vast majority of the talk I have seen is either about how awesome readers are or how horrible readers (I don’t like to use the term ‘fans’ because not all readers are fans and I think it’s a bit cocky to call them that) are and the pain they cause. Hardly anyone talks about why readers (even the ones that leave nasty comments) are important in driving the creation of a webcomic.
First off, a disclaimer: I am in no way complaining about the people that read my comics. I eternally appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my stories through—whether it’s out of love, morbid curiousity, or hatred. What I’d like to talk about is the difference in audiences that I’ve experienced and how those differences have impacted the making of our comics (at least, for me. I don’t want to put words in Nuu’s mouth).
The internet has created quite a new kind of reader. The Anonymous. The Lurker. Readers who may check a webcomic or story every week, maybe follow a blog, and maybe (just maybe) are even huge fans. But they’re silent.
“But that’s how everyone read before the internet,” you might say. True, but they were reading physical books, and just by investing money to purchase those books, they were supporting the authors and showing their existence through sales numbers—and no matter what anyone says, everyone appreciates money. It’s a harsh way to look at it, but it’s true. Plus, they had good old fashioned snail fan mail (what comic creator hasn’t dreamed of getting a bag of letters from their editor?). The internet has done something interesting in regards to this. People don’t have to buy your book to read it. They can leave comments and draw fan art instead of sending you letters (now I’m dreaming of a sack of fan art). AND your audience is so much bigger. The internet allows anyone with access to a connection access to your story and the power to spread it around and read what they might not be able to afford. That’s awesome. But the internet also allows what I think of as “ghost readers.” Lurkers, watchers, etc. A silent audience.
Imagine your job was to be locked in a room in a building with no one else, where there were no cameras, and no one monitored your work or your results and no one praised you for a job well done or admonished you for not doing your work——would you do it? After a few weeks or months or years, would you still properly do your job, knowing that no one cared about the results or whether you just up and left the building?
The thing about creating for a silent audience is that you have to trust they are there, and yes, they do like what you are making. This is what everyone faces when they first start a comic and have no reader base. This is the true test. How much do you want to make this comic? Can you continue creating something for an audience that might or might not be there?
I’ve had an interesting experience with readers. The first comic Nuu and I ever created was far more popular than we ever could have imagined. The readers were highly active—fanart, forums, fanfics, soundtracks, you name it. Honeydew Syndrome was big with young, exciting people who were excited about it and wanted other people to be too. Hit counts (which are very important to webcomic artists—-all of them—no matter what they tell you) directly correlated with reader participation. If there were people reading a page, you can bet there were almost just as many comments on that page as people reading it. We were very lucky. Most people do not have that experience with their first comic. And, I am afraid, it rather spoiled me.
Two Keys, our current comic, is quite different. It is serious, darker, more complex. We put a lot of thought into it and I believe that it naturally attracts thoughtful people. The readers are generally more introspective and older. Or, that’s what I’d like to think. Whereas page hits correlated with reader activity for Honeydew Syndrome, there’s an odd discrepancy between the amount of activity readers show for Two Keys and the hit counts. People are reading it. Oh, many, many people are reading it, according to site stats and unique hits. But interaction is sparse at best. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE the readers of Two Keys. The ones I have met at cons are amazing and the people that do speak up online put some damn good thought into what they say. But the vast majority are very quiet. This is enjoyable but disconcerting. I can only imagine what it would feel like for people who have only made one comic and have a readership like Two Keys.
Unlike any other long-form digital medium (besides free prose), webcomics exist for completely free consumption (legally). They usually begin purely from the love and desire of the creators to create their story. And they like it so much, they want to share it with the world. The problem is that webcomics take a lot of effort, time, and usually personal money. It’s like working for free—-no, working for negative money. Webcomic artists usually can’t feed themselves with what they make from their comic—their sustenance is the readers. Er, not in a cannibalistic way. I reluctantly admit that webcomic creators—all of them—are glory hounds. By glory I mean anything from love and praise to flames and hatred. We need validation. We need to know that people other than our moms or grandmas are reading what he create and coming back to read it, whether out of love or hatred. Sometimes I like hatred more—-it’s more passionate and the people that hate always tend take a lot of time to write out exactly why and I appreciate that. But readers also give webcomic creators something else that is just as important as praise and urging: responsibility and a sense of being held accountable.
Every webcomic artist has had those “when are you updating, I deserve an update because I take time out of my day to read this!” comments that we all complain and gripe about. And they are rather infuriating sometimes. However, if anything will motivate you, it’s knowing tens or hundreds or tens of thousands of people are waiting to read your next sentence. And if you slack off and don’t do it (which you certainly don’t have to if you don’t want to, no one is entiitledI to an update) you will be held accountable by the readers. And, at least for me, I generally really love the people that read Two Keys and I want to make them happy and give them an update because I love them. And if I miss one, I feel bad. Readers are not only support and validation for what you have done, but continuing support and drive for making more art and striving to improve that art so that you can keep them entertained. We love you, we love hearing your thoughts, your complaints, your guesses. They let us know that you are there and you will read what we make and you will hold us accountable (or at least make us feel guilty) if we start to slack off of start feeling self-pity.
Nuu and I missed I believe, maybe two updates once Hondeydew Syndrome got going. We soaked up the reader participation and hate mail and threats if a page was late. It was almost like a huge group effort. Two Keys does not have the same kind of community. Because of this, it has become a very internal effort for me. It is something that I have to make myself do and it is much more difficult that way. Two Keys faced a very long hiatus (for which I was mostly responsible) due to personal issues and doubt and a loss of desire to create something so long that not nearly as many people seemed to appreciate. However, when we came back and began updating again, the support was great. It helped so much to have people welcoming the comic back and sending notes of encouragement. I am now in the process of writing Chapter 23 and I have never been more excited about the story. However, many people would not have come back. If you are a creator facing this problem right now, just do it. Come back, test the waters, you may be surprised.
So, TO ALL READERS OF WEBCOMICS, especially if the one you are reading is fairly new or a first attempt, take a few seconds to write a comment. If you really love it, write a fic or draw a piece of art. It may be a tiny action, but if all the readers do that, you create a support community. And, heck, you might have just made the next update possible.
Power to the readers. The readers are power.
AH Schumie, you’ve nailed much of how I feel about readership with webcomics.
First, I can’t complain about my readership. Y’all are beautiful, intelligent people. I mean, I’ve never gotten any flames or hurtful, ignorant remarks before. I’ve gotten really thoughtful comments over the years. There are times when the stats go down despite my updates; all the silence makes me wonder if I’ve done something wrong. But then, there’s that one reader who takes the time to leave one nice, thoughtful comment that makes me believe I’m creating something of value. And I plow on with the next page.
I’ve had readers that I think about every once in a while, too, who inspire me to draw another page. For that, I’ve been really thankful. I’ve also been really fortunate to befriend other amazing artists (like Schumie and Nuu, haha), whose esteem and kind words always help me reconfirm that my work is worth pursuing to the end.
But most of all, I really appreciate the readers who share my work with their friends. To me, it’s okay if people don’t leave comments on the page! I understand why you might not want to talk to the creator about your fan theories, but I always hope my work will inspire some sort of conversation between readers! Maybe inspire them to express their own opinions about it. Schumie makes an excellent point about how just contributing a tiny bit of fan work is enough to push a webcomic artist back on their feet. And if the Homestuck fandom is anything to go by, it’s a fact that when readers contribute their own headcanon to what already exists, they can make a work that much more compelling, and even influence the original content.
This is so perfect, and really sums up my feelings, especially after running a webcomic for over four years now.
I am compelled to work on the comic all the time out of love for the characters and the fact they can only live if I tell their story, but when the audience engages, then it becomes so much more. After days of working relentlessly on a page- forsaking other hobbies, a social life and even sleep- having people react to it is the best reward that no money can buy. So please, if you can’t support a comic financially, consider leaving a comment acknowledging that you are there reading it and supporting and it helps so, so much!
This is the forum in which the nominations are hosted.
Just in case you forgot, Here are the rules:
- Comic has to have 30 comic pages. This means actual comic pages not Filler related or cover pages.
- Has to have been updated in the past 4-6 weeks. I also can’t be 6 months dead. This will be decided on a case by case basis.
- You can’t nominate your own comic. Same as always. It just wouldn’t seem right.
- No judges/SJ award organizer’s comic can be nominated. We had issues with that before so it’s better that they are left out.
Smackjeeves awards have started once again! Don’t forget to show your support for your favorite webcomics by nominating and later voting for them.
Children of the Night updated with a filler sketch.
Sorry everyone, still no update this week so here’s a colored sketch of Kenneth for those who miss him. Mid-terms, back problems and art block make for bad productivity, but I’m working on building a buffer this week so hopefully I won’t miss so many updates.
Oh gosh Yuugi, feel better soon! ;u; AND GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR MID-TERMS!
I’m all done with Mid-terms Raya-chan :D! I finished them last week and I think they went quite well! I finally have this week of vacations to work on the comic *uguuu* ;D;.