My Webcomic: https://madisonroby.wixsite.com/webcomic
My Process and Inspiration
In my own personal experience, I have preferred screen reading over physical reading in the realm of comics due to things like intractability, color quality, and the ability to easily take and view things wherever I go. Using a website like Wix over, maybe, WordPress allowed me to be more free in how I placed my images and gifs, meaning that I could better control how my readers would interact with the work that I created; while this is true, there were still some limitations to using this rather than HTML, for instance, I had some difficulty lining things up exactly, as the website’s auto alignment would sometimes not let me move things how I wanted them. With these in mind, I decided to go the linear route and simply make mu comic a top to bottom read, inspired by traditional comics as well as a lot of “endless scrolling” webcomics.
Given this, the comic is relatively easy to navigate and be guided through, minus some longer panels where it may require the reader to scroll back some to read the panels beside it (see panel 4 of my webcomic). Along with this, there are gifs in my comic that require the reader to linger on them for a moment before continuing, my primary way of interacting with the reader. The other way I hoped to interact with them was through using simple characterization in order to allow them to better relate to the character I have created, as McCloud stated. Other than the simple iconography, looking at who is going to read my comic (primarily the people in this class) I chose a familiar theme pertaining to this particular time of the year: finals.
In the creation of my comic, using Wix allowed me to change how my comic is read on both laptops and phones, while that excludes tablets, I assume they would behave similarly to a phone. Since my comic is top down, it gets easily resized no matter what device is being used. A slight formatting problem that I had was, as stated above, panel 4 being long and having to scroll back some to view the next panel, however, on phones, that isn’t a potential issue.
While there are moving images and he considers comics to be pictures instead, McCloud himself embraced the use of gifs in some of his own webcomics which leads me to believe mine would still be considered a comic. I used simple iconography to better relate to the reader which, in my opinion, seems to have worked decently well, the character being somewhat anonymous in terms of looks.
My Experience Creating the Comic
For this comic, I wanted to include textures and movement, meaning that Photoshop was the best choice. The variety of brushes allowed me to create the feeling I was going for, using mainly charcoal type brushes. Illustrator, in my opinion, is better for creating smoother graphics, reminding me more like smooth plastic or metal compared to Photoshop where I can create something rougher and darker. Alongside this, using the timeline feature in Photoshop allowed me to create video or frame timelines and create gifs; I ended up using video timelines solely, as I didn’t feel as comfortable with the frame by frame timeline and not being able to move and time things in the same way. It was a learning curve figuring out how to use the timelines alongside making the transition between layers smooth in panel 8 (as panel 16 is meant to not be smooth in motion).
In order to share my comic, I saved all my panels as individual JPEG files and uploaded them to a Wix site that I created, dragging and sizing them to how I needed them to be viewed. Using Wix felt smooth and efficient. While I had some issues with resizing my images exactly right, getting them to line up even when the auto align made it difficult, the finished product feels smooth and easy to look at and read. This will not have been my first time using Wix which is why I ended up using it rather than attempting HTML or WordPress as I was already teaching myself the Photoshop timeline function. For the gifs, I used Photoshop’s “Export>Save for web>GIF” function in order to save my files as gifs rather than JPEGS and be able to upload them effectively to my site.
This project helped me to learn some new things about Photoshop including manipulation of textured brushes, video timeline animation, and being able to upload these things to a Wix site. It pulled me from my comfort zone and allowed me to experiment with things that I don’t usually do even without having to learn HTML.