That gurgle underneath Thea’s feet can’t mean anything good.

National Cartoonist’s Day

Credit: B. Kliban

Credit: B. Kliban

Believe it or not, there’s something to celebrate today — besides the gentle gurgle of your blender as it churns out its next margarita. It’s National Cartoonist’s Day — or, as some are calling it, Ink-o de Mayo. On May 5, 1895, the first color comic — “The Yellow Kid” was printed in the “New York World” newspaper.

Credit: Richard F. Outcault

Credit: Richard F. Outcault


Harvey Awards

Speaking of cartooning, the nomination process for the Harvey Awards ends on May 9. If you do a webcomic, you are eligible to participate in the nomination process. Please consider Evil Inc for Best Online Comic and for Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation.

And speaking of…

Webcomics-dot-com_white-WOn this National Cartoonist’s Day, perhaps it’s appropriate to take a moment to say a little something about, my site for information, tutorials and advice for independent cartoonists. Since 2010, I have posted five-times-a-week with valuable information for cartoonists. These articles were the building blocks of The Webcomics Handbook (available in print and PDF), and they will be the basis for the upcoming second edition.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the last 30 days:

Hot Seat critiques: We wrapped up our “On The Spot” Hot Seat critique, which evaluated participants on a random day, based on that day’s content. And we launched a Hot Seat critique series that has turned out to be fascinating — a Patreon page critique.

Kickstarter — The Add-On Reward: Whenever a Kickstarter campaign attains its goal, it’s expected that the creator will announce a Stretch Goal. But I didn’t have a good Stretch Goal lined up. Besides, adding all of that stuff to the mix means accounting for extra shipping expenses, and I wasn’t certain that I was going to be able to hit a Stretch Goal if it accounted for all of the extra money that would be needed. But I made an extra thousand dollars… with an add-on. The add-on is where it’s at — especially if it’s a digital add-on!

kickstarter-logoUsing Kickstarter and Patreon Together: In preparing the Hot Seat reviews of participating members’ Patreon campaigns, I’ve seen a common error in which the creator confuses a Kickstarter reward with a Patreon reward. For example, he or she might promise a copy of an upcoming book to Patreon backers once that book is successfully Kickstarted. Not only am I going to argue that it’s not necessary, but it’s downright counterproductive — for three compelling reasons.

How Many Pageviews = Success? A reader wrote in saying that friend of his said that a webcartoonist could quit his/her day job once they reached a thousand pageviews a day. That friend was batshit insane, and I explained why. But then, we got down to the Bigger Issue… you’re looking for a Magic Number. And there just isn’t one.

Is the SumoMe plug-in Worth It? It’s promoted heavily on WordPress sites, and its free — except for the Premium features. But is it worth installing on your site? I reviewed it after using it on my site.

brainstorm-creativity-writersblockFive Writing Mistakes Webcartoonists Make: Writing is the bedrock of good comics. Readers will forgive a surprising amount of artistic “defects” if the writing is superb. It rarely works the other way around. So it’s important to identify some common writing pitfalls — and discuss ways to avoid them entirely. In hosting critiques — both here and with my Sequential Art students at Hussian College, I see many of these mistakes committed repeatedly. These are five most prominent.

The Thing That Makes You a GOOD Cartoonist Makes You BAD at Social Media: We webcartoonists rely heavily on social-media. We use it to promote our comics, our Kickstarters, our Patreons and ourselves. It’s how we talk to current readers, and its how we try to entice new ones. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, or — heaven help us — Google Plus… you’ll find a webcartoonist there telling you about his or her new comic. And that’s where we go wrong.

The Poll: We found out that the issue of selling unlicensed prints at comic conventions was almost as divisive as this year’s presidential race. The new Poll asks: What are your update days?

Your final gurgle of the day