My new webcomic “The Webtoonist” is now up for you to read for free here. It’s primarily aimed to encourage creators to enter the Challenge League. Episode 2 will post on January 1st.
One of the interesting things about Webtoons.com is that they love the scroll down format. A format that was shunned a lot in early American webcomics. Way back in 2002 I did a brief stint with Zombieopolis on MoviePoopshoot.com that was scroll down format and people would complain that they had to scroll! Oh, 2002 internet. People also poo-pooed the idea of using WordPress or a blog CMS to release a regular webcomic, and now it’s one of the most used webcomic hosting platforms around. It’s nearly 2015, don’t be afraid to scroll! You might actually enjoy it!
Of course just stacking your pages one on top the other is fine and allows for that “slow reveal” as to not spoil a few panels ahead, but a better use of scroll format is to abandon the “page” all together and just let your story flow downward. Even write it and lay it out that way. It’s actually really fun.
Too many comic creators I know are afraid to abandon “the page” thinking they MUST stay in a format that could be collected into a book….
but really it would serve many comic creators better if they realized more people will read them online and you don’t need a book format. Ever.
The past couple weeks I’ve done some experimenting beyond “The Webtoonist” comic I’m drawing for LINE Webtoon, and I posted SPACE APE for fun, using old panels from our old newspaper style adventure strip. Then Ally wrote up a great PegaSquirrel comic and I had to draw that too in between things. That was a lot of fun to monkey with!
Scott McCloud is best known for championing the scroll down format for webcomics. Well, he was actually all over the place with infinite canvas experiments.
Very cool stuff. If you haven’t read his books “Reinventing Comics” and “Understanding Comics” you should probably pick those up as required reading for being a comic creator. 😉
Back to using Webtoons.com to post your comics… they make it VERY easy. Just login with either Facebook, Twitter or LINE username and then hit the PUBLISH button. You’re then prompted to upload a cover image for your series, a title, brief description, e-mail confirmation that you’re a real person, and you’re off! The next screen allows you to upload “Episodes”, and if you’re wanting to do the scroll down format you’ll need to chop it into chunks that are no larger than 800×1280 pixels. You can then drag and drop your pages that will stack and then make your comic live or save it as a draft if you’re not ready yet.
You can tell Webtoon did it’s UX homework because everything is easy to find, publish, rank other comics and navigate the site fairly quickly.
There are times in overall webdesign when a lot of white clean space isn’t your friend. Case in point, my friend at work (who actually does web design all day) was confused when I sent him to the main series page, didn’t realize you had to click the individual episode link to bring up the PegaSquirrel comic. If it’s a series that has a whole bunch of episodes it’s easier to see, but if you have just one episode hanging out, you may have friends you send the link to who will say “the comic isn’t loading.” not realizing they need to click the individual episode. If you do publish comics there, I suggest shooting the links to your direct episodes to get readers to the meat.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways, that you can always pay to host your own webcomic somewhere else. I wrote a tutorial that shows you how here.
I think one of the major pluses to using a “hub” site to post your comics is the built in audience there (for better or worse sometimes!)- especially if you are unknown or just starting out.
I personally like Webtoons so far because it’s not filled with ads.
It’s clean and easy to use and puts the focus squarely on reading the comic without distractions.
I do wish there was a way to post links to your other websites or social media for your comic, but I understand them wanting to keep readers there as a destination and not just another social media pit stop.
Now that I think about it, I don’t recall in the history of webcomics an easier to use system to load up your new comics and hit the ground running. Maybe DrunkDuck or SmackJeeves was like that, kind of? To me, Webtoons feels very different from those. I hope it catches on.
A couple of my favorites so far is SpaceBoy by (he does a great job of utilizing the scroll format) – And over on the featured comics is .ClusterFudge by which is simple and makes me laugh. Especially comic #1