Tonight’s #webcomicschat was inspired by the Webcomics Weekly Podcast Episode #72 – Quittin’ Time. As I took it, a large part of their discussion involved how cartoonists should become more self-aware. It started because a cartoonist had contacted Kris Straub asking for feedback. The podcast boys mused that looking for praise and/or artistic affirmation, especially from established pros, is misguided. They advised instead that it’s more productive to be self-motivated and develop a passion for the work. That passion will sustain cartoonists through the many ups and downs that are sure to come throughout one’s career. While the Webcomics Weekly episode trailed into other topics for tonight’s #webcomicschat I thought it would be interesting to hear what drives us to make our comics.
Speaking for myself working on my webcomic has never been work. It flows very naturally. That’s not to say it’s easy but I can’t consider something I love so much work. I think one of the reasons it’s so satisfying for me is that it is one of the few areas where I have complete creative control. What’s more, it is immensely gratifying when other people appreciate the work and enjoy it. I was recently contacted by two different fans. Each had discovered Super Siblings on their own and from entirely different sources. Both made a point of telling me how much they enjoyed it. That sort of unsolicited feedback really makes it worth it for me. A casual review of tonight’s comments confirms that many webcartoonists feel the same. In order of importance they put personal creative satisfaction first, fan feedback second, and monetary gain at the bottom of the list. It’s no surprise that financial gain is at the bottom because most webcomics don’t make a profit.
Monetary success was also a point of discussion for Scott, Kris, Brad and Dave. To them it seems that predicting and securing financial success is almost impossible. It really comes down to a strips loyal community of fans. My main read on their discussion and as it relates to #webcomicschat, is to say that there is no secret, there is no magic bullet. Success in webcomics requires hard work and sustained effort and at it’s core if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will have a reason to.