Archive for the 'Lessons' Category

Ivan Brunetti’s 22 Panels That Always Work

Here’s Ivan Brunetti’s 22 Panels That Always Work.

Note that the subject 2200 Panels That Always Workhas been added to the ongoing online jam section of the message board… add your own!

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Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work

You can download a huge scan here of the original of “Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work,” which is a widely used cartoonist “cheat sheet.”

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Using Blogger to Syndicate Your Comics on the Web for Free

I’m using blogger to post my comics on the web (soapythechicken.com)… it works great, for my purposes. It makes content management extremely simple, and makes it easy to offer subscription via rss feeds.

It is totally unnecessary to have any knowledge of web page building or anything to use this system… the blogger system is extremely easy to set up, and they will host all of your content for you if you want them to (or you can host it yourself, as I do, but that takes a wee bit of work & knowledge).

It is well worth picking up a bit of basic html tagging knowledge for posting to your blog… there are only a couple that are absolutely necessary to know though… the “a href” tag for linking, and the “img” tag for adding images to your posts. Here’s a good “cheat sheet” for html. Really, this stuff is easier than pooping… don’t be intimidated by it. You just put one tag at the beginning of the area you want to affect and one at the end with a / to close it. And you can look at almost any page on the web for examples of how to do this by going to the view> source option in your browser. EASIER THAN POOPING!

Blogger will set you up with a basic template for your site to begin with, but you’ll most likely want to alter it. Again, a little knowledge of html goes a long ways to making your site more useful. For example, you will probably appreciate it greatly if you make the width of your content wider so you can do larger comics without breaking your page. The Soapy site is built off of the main default Blogger template, minima, with alterations to make the page wider, add a header, and to have some useful menus down the side. View the source and you can probably figure out how I did anything if you want to copy it for your own purposes. You may want to copy and save the template in a blank text file before you make any changes to it in case you accidentally make a change you don’t like.

My experience with the feeds produced by blogger hasn’t been so good. I tried hitting the feeds with myYahoo, and it didn’t work. However, I found a good solution… I set up another free account on feedburner.com to produce an alternate feed, and that one seems to work everywhere so far. It makes it so folks can go to the page and click on a button for their preferred news reader, as well, which is nice. See the Soapy the Chicken Feed here:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/SoapyTheChicken

Here’s the blogger feed to compare it to, if you’re interested:

http://soapythechicken.com/feed/atom.xml

The blogger/feedburner combo is definitely the slickest free solution for cartoonists to syndicate themselves on the web that I’ve seen.

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Self-Publishing Resources

Here’s a terrific new resource for information about self-publishing comics.

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Picasa

Speaking of Picasa… I downloaded it yesterday and it is easily the best thing I have ever used to browse images on my computer. Picasa is a free image browsing/searching/editing tool that has come out from Google… it is pretty mind-blowing how much better it does this task than anything else I’ve seen previously. You would think they would build this sort of functionality into operating systems. I can see all of the Conspiracy jams at a glance with this thing… it’s really amazing. It also has quick and basic image editing that does a nice job of simplifying photo editing tasks. I highly recommend it.

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Web Comics Growing and Making Money Sometimes

Here’s an interesting article on webcomics from the Washington Post. Good to hear that some people are starting to make some sort of a living doing comics on the web… hopefully this is a trend that will continue to grow.

If you are a web cartoonist, here is a site that is organizing comics on the web, thewebcomiclist.com

Here’s what their “about this site” area reads:

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The Webcomic List primarily helps you keep track of which of your favourite comics have updated. To do this we monitor over 4300 comics, checking them several times a day; this enables us to keep you updated as fast as possible.

Some things you should check out while you are here:

* Latest Updates – Check out which comics have updated recently. See it really does work!
* Comic News – Want to know what’s going on in the comic world? Well look no further this is the place for you.
* Comic Profiles – Over 4300 comic profiles, go check them out. You might find some hidden gems you never knew about!
* Register – Once registered you can grab yourself a personalised favourites list and change how the site works to suit your needs.
* Submit Your Comic – Do you have a webcomic that isn’t on this list? Well get it added!

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4300 comics!

If you are doing web comics, I imagine this is probably a very good place to register.

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Joey Manley’s new column

Joey Manley’s new column on webcomics looks like it will be interesting to follow:

“there are more creator-owned webcomics generating full-time incomes for their creators than there are independent comic books doing the same.”

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Why Dreamhost.com is a good option for webhosting for cartoonists

A number of you have asked me what I recommend for a web host. For a long time I was using yahoo webhosting, which worked fairly well but was quite overpriced, and had some other annoying aspects that I won’t go into. I recently switched my sites over to Dreamhost.com, which I definitely highly recommend for your webhosting needs.

First and foremost I recommend it because they pay generously for new customers sent their way, which will hopefully pay for our hosting expenses.* However, beyond the dirty, filthy lucre, they are offering a pretty amazing deal, they have by far the best deals on webhosting I’ve ever seen. I would strongly recommend them without the monetary incentive (that said, I would recommend them even more strongly if they offered me money and chocolate and a flat screen television with surround sound and a porkpie hat).

If you have the cash to pay 2 years in advance you can get hosting for $7.95 a month, which is extremely cheap… prices vary depending on what you want, but the $7.95 account (or $9.95 a month without the 2 year prepayment) will give the average cartoonist much more than they need for webhosting (note there is a $49.95 setup fee on all accounts).

The basic account includes 4800 MB of storage space, which increases weekly by 40 MB. It includes a very user friendly web panel that greatly helps for managing your website. You can ftp to your sites in your browser. You can install all sorts of components into your site very easily (with the click of a button, basically), like a blog or a phpbb discussion board similar to the one on this site. You can have up to 600 email accounts at your domain, and you can set up webmail. You can set up email lists and email discussion lists. You can host as many different domains as you want with no additional cost (other than the cost of registering the domain, which you can do there for $9.95 a year… the initial account comes with one free domain). They have extensive support information. They have all kinds of other stuff that you can read about in detail on their site.

Most importantly for cartoonists, they have no problem with smut! Here is their policy:

Can I have an adult website or dreambook?

Of course!

DreamHost does not restrict the content of sites hosted on our servers, except if that content is illegal in the United States. Illegal content includes:

blatant copyright infringement
libel
child pornography
Other than this, go crazy!

This is not the case with most hosts… like Yahoo, for example, which could have shut down the Conspiracy site at any time based on some jam comic with a wee willy hangus johnson dangling in it, had they ever took notice of one.

I would guess most of you would be very happy with this service… I defnitely am. Anyhow, if you are looking for hosting, and want to benefit this site in the process use this link.

If you are looking for hosting and don’t want to benefit us, just go directly to dreamhost.com.

*Full disclosure: How generously will they pay us, you may wonder? Either a one time payment of $97 (plus $5 for each person the person I send their way sends their way), or 10% of each of the payments a person I send their way makes to them, and 5% of the payments the people they send to them send in.

You can easily do this as well if you use them when you inevitably end up recommending people to them.

Disclaimer: I just started using Dreamhost in July, so my opinion could change. Finding negative posts in google by putting the words “Dreamhost” and “sucks” in the search field isn’t hard (which is true of most companies, I’m sure)… However, I think you are highly unlikely to find more bang for your buck out there, and for a cartoonist on a low budget- which is to say: as a cartoonist- this seems like a pretty ideal solution.

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Some Tutorials and Useful Information For Cartoonists Around the Web

Here are some nice tutorials and other info I’ve run across:

RE: A Guide to Reproduction: A Primer on Xeorgraphy, Silkscreening and Offset Printing

Printing Comics

Overview of Copyright and Fair Use

10 Ways to Promote Yourself (there are other good articles down the right hand side of this blog)

Cheap Screen Printing Tutorial

Seven Steps to Getting Published

We have some other useful tutorials and information in our resources section. I’ll be adding links to some of the above resources there as well.

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