Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Topic of Partners...

Awhile ago, one of my readers asked me how the whole comic thing works with a partner, as she was thinking about starting a webcomic with a partner. Well, the short answer is: it depends on the partners.

Hear me out before you dub that the cop-out answer. There are numerous ways for people to work on webcomics together. For example, a group might decide to do things the Western way, with one person writing, one penciling, one doing flats, and one doing the coloring. Teams of two might have one writer and one artist - if you go to OnlineComics.net, you'll see a lot of postings looking for either a writer or an artist in the forums. It's a great way for writers who have a great idea for a comic but perhaps not the most talent in the art department or an artist really wants to do a webcomic but can't write. Other teams may have less defined roles.

When it comes to Koni and myself, Koni's role is that of "creative collaborator." Essentially, she's my muse. When I need a sounding board, get stuck on something, or need to work out the story lines, I turn to Koni. Waaaaay back in 2006, Strawberry Syrup got its start when Koni and I were watching a vampire anime and wondered why all the half-vampires always side with the humans. From there, one thing led to another, and next thing we know, we were in the nexus of creative fusion. We tossed out a lot of story ideas back then, ones I still have to get to. My role is to then take those ideas, flesh them out into chapters with dialogue and plots, and then do all the art.

Some things to consider when you take on a partner or partners for a webcomic:
  • Make sure everyone understands and is comfortable with their role.

  • Make sure this is someone you can work with for the long haul if you plan to do a long-run webcomic. Consider doing a trial run - a short one-shot story of 10-20 pages to make sure the two of you can work together. It's also a good idea with groups, to make sure everyone's happy with their roles.

  • Make sure everyone understands and is capable of meeting the deadlines. Your writer has to have the final draft of each page to the artist in enough time for the artist to finish the page in time for that week's post. Having a sizable buffer will help here.
  • Be flexible and open to change. If your partner has some ideas regarding your area, at least listen. It could make your webcomic all the better.

  • Consider a legal agreement defining who owns what and how any profits will be split. This is especially important when you don't know your partner, only have a professional relationship with them, or have plans to get your comic published. The last thing you want is for legal squabbling to get in the way of things.

Those are just a few of the things to keep in mind when starting a webcomic with partners. And remember, webcomics are supposed to be fun! Whenever more than one person is involved in a creative project, chances are there will be conflicts. Just try not to let them get too blown out of proportion, and you'll be fine.

No comments: