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    • CommentAuthorarvandor
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2009
     (7043.1)
    As online comics become more popular and prevalent (as I'm sure they will), how should artists and writers adapt.

    I believe they really should think about adapting to suit the new medium. The current style is unsuitable. What looks good on a page doesn't look so good on a monitor, and is virtually unreadable on a handheld device.

    The Freakangels style is a good start, but even this comic has too many splash pages to be fully suitable. There has to be more focus on individual panels in online comics.


    What do you think? Should artists adapt their style for digital reading, or create for the page and leave computers as an afterthought? Should new and up and coming artists think about learning and developing new, digitally-focused, styles, for the new age and abandon the old way of making comics?
  1.  (7043.2)
    The Freakangels style is a good start, but even this comic has too many splash pages to be fully suitable. There has to be more focus on individual panels in online comics.

    You're advocating the single-panel cartoon as opposed to narrative flow, then.
  2.  (7043.3)
    I can't remember the URL but doesn't Diesel Sweeties have a mobile spin off now? And I think the Bunny website has been pretty heavily tinkered with so it can be looked at with a mobile browser.

    There has to be more focus on individual panels in online comics.


    Eh? The trend I've noticed is for web-comics to have a fixed number of panels per issue. Normally between three and five. Sometimes horizontal and sometimes vertical depending on the image size. I think this is a mostly solved problem.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMrSmite
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2009
     (7043.4)
    I believe there's a lot of room to experiment still. Right now one major issue is formatting, since print mediums are traditionally portrait and video is now firmly established as landscape.

    On the one hand, scrolling still engenders the traditional top-down viewing experience and can be quite effectively used to illustrate timing, pacing and anticipation, which could be less effective in other formats, even in print.
    But I still wonder if one answer is for the more adventurous webcomics to abandon print entirely, and experiment as much as possible with the constraints and benefits of the digital medium. It's good to see that some have, and it's mostly a matter of just how out-there they want to get with their craft.
  3.  (7043.5)
    But I still wonder if one answer is for the more adventurous webcomics to abandon print entirely, and experiment as much as possible with the constraints and benefits of the digital medium. It's good to see that some have

    Yeah, this is hardly a new idea. A lot of people use "infinite canvas," and have been for eight years or more...
  4.  (7043.6)
    What do you think? Should artists adapt their style for digital reading, or create for the page and leave computers as an afterthought? Should new and up and coming artists think about learning and developing new, digitally-focused, styles, for the new age and abandon the old way of making comics?

    I think an important issue here is that we don't know what all of these devices are going to look like yet. 6 months from now, there are going to be numerous book-sized tablet-style devices out there. If they catch on, the kind of panel-centric model you're suggesting (which is most useful on handhelds, I think) will be less compelling. And in a year, two years... who knows?

    I do see what you're saying, in a sense -- comics formatted for print parse a bit differently when broken down and reformatted for the iphone/ipod (for example). Looking at that, it's tempting to start thinking single-panel-centric and building out from there as needed (as in, 4 ipod panels might make a printed page). But my sense of it is that people are going to want a comic that works on their ipod, their apple tablet, their laptop, and in a book -- and that pages are still going to be very important, whether for print or the screen.
    • CommentAuthoruwspub
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2009
     (7043.7)
    This is a very interesting discussion, I'm sure it could only happen on this thread. Glad I caught it.

    Underwater Samurai Studios makes comics specifically for the digital format. Oh, we'll go to print eventually, but we figure it's easier to scale up to a full page than to scale down to a mobile device. SOLDIERS was made this way. We advocate the use of the Frame, which is a unit based on the 3x2 ratio of mobile devices vs the 6x10 of the printed page. This has grown to have much more of an impact that we had thought when we first started. The first issue is still pretty standard fair -- very similar to what you see in print -- but the next few issues are much different. You can do a lot more when what you see is strictly controlled by the creative team. We are very excited about it.

    As for what the future screens/devices will look like -- no one knows for certain, but ergonomics dictate a certain predictable size and shape. The apple tablet is rumored to be a 7" diagonal screen -- much the same as the early netbooks. So is the Crunchpad and the Asus Tablet. The Kindle isn't much smaller. We did a lot of tests, and even when scaling up to a 9 inch screen the Frame held up much better among the test readers than the full page. Scrolling is unnecessary -- just go to the next screen. As processors and connection speeds become faster and faster, the screen change is almost instantaneous. We actually slowed it down so the reader could notice the subtle changes from screen to screen.

    We have found no need to lose narrative flow. Far from it -- making comics this way is a lot more like film, actually.

    SOLDIERS is up as a webcomic now, and our iphone app is imminent. Our model is much like the Freakangels model -- serialized for free on the web, monthly Kindle/iphone apps, print a trade when the story arc wraps.

    From our experience, making comics for digital is a LOT different than making them for print. We learned a lot of lessons making the first issue of SOLDIERS and I'm sure the learning curve will continue as our different artists and writers continue to work in digital. Mr. Smite s right - until you make the plunge, you're not going to get it. I'm not exactly sure how we're going to translate everything from digital to print -- we'll figure it out -- but digital is a game changer.

    We have learned that infinite canvas isn't that great. Interesting idea, problematic execution. Because digital is without limits, placing limits is a necessity. Force yourself to an issue "page" length, stay within the size ratio (2x3), write a complete script, plan your arcs. You need to set some type of common, standard reference for yourself, your art team, and your reader.

    It's a grand adventure, that's for sure. But we felt going digital was really the best way for a small, indy publisher to compete.
  5.  (7043.8)
    Technology should adapt comfortably to the wants of the user, however I'm unconvinced that handheld and electronic reading devices are anything more than gimmicky toys. After all a comic book or a book doesnt break down or need recharged when you are reading it. Sometimes simplicity is best and I think a lot of demand for E-reading devices etc is for people who are toy junkies and having purchased them realise that of themselves such devices are superfluous try to convince others of their worth to justify buying something that is un-needed.

    I won't be adapting my comic layout for my readers, if that means I lose them, fuck them, I'm not pandering to people justy so they can show off how useful their latest handheld twat machine is.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.9)
    ^ I'm sure they thought the same thing about the "personal computer"
  6.  (7043.10)
    For a long long time "they" were right. But if a PC is like a Aeroplane, many of the new gadgets are akin to the C5 or Segway.
    • CommentAuthorarvandor
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.11)
    I thought they were just gimmicks too, until I broke and actually bought an e-reader.

    I love this thing. There is no way I'm going back to paper and ink, now. I just wish I was able to read my comics on it.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.12)
    @Audley Strange- In the end you could be right, only time will tell. All I know is that there are many people who ARE comfortable with reading digital comics and I don't think it's wrong that there are companies are experimenting. I don't see any future for motion comics but sales seems to be proving me wrong so far with astonishing x-men and spider-woman. I see it as evolution. You'll have lots of variants but only a few will survive and flourish

    @arvandor- Seems like that's what everyone says about them. I haven't tried one out myself but I have yet to hear anything bad about them from people I've met who have gotten one

    I feel like in these types of debates I am in the middle. I started reading comics in both digital and physical formats. I feel very comfortable with both and have been waiting for companies like longbox, drivethrucomics and others to pop up and at least attempt to give me what I want. Anything to strengthen the comic industry and help the creators
  7.  (7043.13)
    @gzapata. Exactly. I recall on holiday earlier in the year someone was showing me his phone thing and he had "The Incredibles" stored on it and was enthusing about it. I was I must say impressed that it could do these things, but I don't know why one would feel the need to watch a movie on a screen so small. I see personally as a hype cycle, someone flings out some new tech without really wondering if it has any long term utility because they know people will buy their new "RED" model with a 60 watt speaker the gadget junkies drool get it find it's not as great as the "Blue" model and so rather than going back they perservere until the "Black" model comes along and so on and so forth. With e-readers though, the utility seems to be lacking in comparison to picking up a book or comic. How useful is it going to be if I'm out camping, or sitting on the beach or stuck on a 12 hour plane journey?

    @arvandor. They are gimmicks. I don't even have a mobile. Most of my friends don't either but one of them goes through them like heroin and is constantly updating, showing me all his new apps etc etc, but all he ever uses it for is to text or to call. So what are you going to do if they support for them dwindles since you have already decided not to go back?
    • CommentAuthorRyan C
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.14)
    I think half the fun of all this is waiting to see what artists do. Adaptation can vary and I hope the digital comic does not conform to one major style like the printed form has. I know some of the printed form's issue is cost and printing in general but it seems we've reached a point where a crafty artist can make a comic in 4 dimensions. It's being done and been done and I look forward to the variations in adapatation. Comics are the Galapagos medium right now. So much is opening up and I hope we do not come to "how" they should adapt. Artists should grow, not adapt.
  8.  (7043.15)
    Personally, I think that distribution will ultimately come back to the familiar old format of the "page", regardless of whether that's e-paper or real paper. I think over the short term, artists should experiment with composing for different aspect ratios, and get used to making comics that look good at both high and low resolutions, if only for the purposes of exploiting the largest possible audience.

    When it comes down to it though, every medium of presentation boils down to a rectangle within which your comic can be framed, and some form of interaction (clicking, scrolling, flipping a page, whatever) that moves the narrative along. The most successful pieces, as always, will be made by a mixture of good storytelling (in which both the art and text is integral, interdependent and free of redundancy) and high accessibility/readability.
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      CommentAuthorpurly
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.16)
    This is like people who want to redefine the form of poetry. Sometimes it comes out great and sometime you just get teenagers who don't want to learn how to write poetry but still want to cry on paper.

    If you don't want to use comics as your medium, perhaps animation would be better. But I think a lot of people just like the format as it is, and would prefer that it remains the same.
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      CommentAuthorphorgan1
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.17)
    Digital, I prefer one frame/page in a wide aspect ratio. It's a bit annoying to go to a page, scroll down through the page to see all the panels, then go to the next page, et.al. two different kind of actions, scroll and click to page as opposed to only one for print, just page. But--if the same art is meant for both mediums it's clear that some adaptation must be made, and if you went with one panel/page, reading it in print would be very annoying. Of course it could be adapted differently for the two media, but that would be extra work.
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      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009 edited
     (7043.18)
    What do you think? Should artists adapt their style for digital reading, or create for the page and leave computers as an afterthought? Should new and up and coming artists think about learning and developing new, digitally-focused, styles, for the new age and abandon the old way of making comics?

    Print comics will exist in one form or another and, believe it or not, there will be people still making comics exclusively in print (Just like there will undoubtedly be more people creating comics exclusively for handhelds/web/tablets). Therefore there won't really be an OLD WAY to make comics. New and existing comic creators will format there books for which ever way they want to distribute it and as time moves forward and we actually figure out how these devices will be able to present comics they will take that into account. Those that want to still have a print end goal will format and lay out their book with that in mind and will also be aware of how else they can distribute their books (Web/tablets might be alble to present their book in the intended way where as an iphone probably wouldnt - I trust them to understand already and pick the ways that tell the story how it needs to be told).

    It's not really WEB VS PRINT or DIGITAL VS PRINT... it's DEVICES VS PRINT. Some devices are on prints side, though, and others while still not really against print don't work well with it. Comic creators, I'm sure, already understand this.
    • CommentAuthorPia Guerra
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.19)
    Came across this digital comic experiment that kinda blew my mind: About Digital Comics by Balak01
    I like it because it's simple and dynamic without the passiveness of a reading 'motion comic'. You control the progression just as you would reading a comic. My brain has been stewing over this format for a few months now. I may have been doing some tinkering...
    • CommentAuthoruwspub
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
     (7043.20)
    Pia,

    We've been taking that little demo to heart over at Underwater Samurai for a few months now and have been incorporating it into our books. It takes some getting used to, but the results really set digital apart from print in a way that is still complimentary to the art of comics. Techniques like those are what I alluded to in my comments above. You should see the fight scene we have planned for the third issue of SOLDIERS!

    By using the increased control over what the reader sees that digital allows, creators can dictate time and space to a much larger degree than they can in print. I think it's a pretty exciting time in comics right now thanks to the "outside the box" thinking that this new medium provides.

    I'd love to see what you've come up with during your tinkering...

    Rob