Want to make a webcomic, but with everything else going on, you don’t know if it’s a good idea? Turns out there’s a lot of valuable job skills you end up learning as a side effect of being creative! And no, I don’t just mean job skills you’ll need in the comic book industry. I mean job skills that would be valuable to any employer: multitasking, customer service, editing and copy writing just to name a few.
As much as we would like to make a living exclusively by creating art, we’ll still need a day job until we get to that point. Thankfully, this is possible WHILE doing what you love.
Back in February, I started a comic called Dragonrider’s Dance. Here are some job skills that it helped me improve (that have nothing to do with art):
Sticking to a Deadline
Making my webcomic online with regular readers motivated me to stick to a deadline.
The thing about webcomics is once they’re online and gaining readers, there’s an obligation to keep it consistent. Having a regular deadline for me really helps motivate me to keep working on my comic. My readers know when to tune in. If you’re first starting out, even sticking to once a month should be fine, as long as you stick to it and you’re consistent.
Another side effect from improving my deadline is that you have to let go of being a perfectionist, and embrace that not all your pages are going to be perfect, and when you don’t do as well as you’d like, there is always a next time, and it will be better next time.
Attention to Detail
Attention to Detail can be a bit of a struggle.
By creating a comic with one goal being to improve your art skills, you start to notice areas where you could have improved (details not being colored in, colors not matching exactly, line work that was just a bit sloppy), but then when you get to the next page, you start to pay attention to details. I found that since I started my webcomic, my attention to detail everywhere else in life improved drastically.
Since there are thousands of webcomics out there, it had me thinking about how I can make mine more favorable to search engines.
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is a skill that is worth learning, because no matter where you go, or what industry you end up in, they are going to need someone who knows SEO. SEO is how you get your website to rank more favoribly in search engines so that when people search for the content you provide, you will be one of the first things they see. After all, what’s the point of sharing your comic on the internet if no one reads it?
Social Media Marketing
Let’s face it, you can’t just put your art up online and expect overnight success and a huge readership.
I wanted my comic to reach as many readers as I could, so I learned how to use social media, and just a pinch of psychology to figure out how to not only make my comic reach people, but how to keep them invested. This meant using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and even Pinterest most effectively. Even during the quarantine period, social media coordinators are still in high demand. When you have a webcomic that you’re trying to promote, it’s a good motivator for really learning about the various social media platforms from a marketing standpoint: what are people looking for? How does the algorithm work? How do you use data to promote your content most effectively?
Sometimes, I don’t feel like working on my comic to reach the deadline. But I learned some strategies to help me do it anyway. For example, there’s the pomodoro method, where you break your time up, there’s promising to spend 5 minutes on the comic (which is just to help you get started, after that, it’s easy for an hour to go by and make a ton of progress).