Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Think your comic can improve? Whether it's art or writing, composition or colouring, feel free to ask here! Critique and commentary welcome.

Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Bookwyrms2 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:07 pm

For a webcomic, cost really isn't a consideration on deciding between black and white and color. Time can be a factor, but digital coloring makes that less of an issue. Generally, webcomics are done in black & white for stylistic reasons, which is perfectly viable. In my case, I chose too make Bookwyrms a black and white comic because I felt I needed improvement in my line work, and drawing in black & white removes the temptation to 'fix' drawing problems with a splash of color (which was a bad habit of mine when I started).
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Phact0rri on Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:29 pm

well I'd like to point out there's this little comic called The Walking Dead, that is black and white and does pretty well.

All kidding aside, I think that you have to look at what sort of atmosphere, and feeling you are trying to bring across. I mean simple "scrawling" comics that are zanny and simple do well in black and white. As do moody horror comics, and comics that are supposed to have a "dated" look do well in black and white.

I don't think there's any "hate" on black and white, and it can do a disservice to some comics to be in color. And I've been turned off many times from comics with horrible colouring. "friends don't let friends use Lensflare" I believe the saying goes.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby McDuffies on Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:51 am

Actually B/W is a sort of natural state of comic. It's not the question of "what kind of comic benefits from being in black/white", it's the question of "does a comic benefit from being in colour?" So, a comic benefits from a colour if it contains a kind of vivid imagery that requires colour for full effect, or if the author has a vision how to utilise colour to add another layer to the story. In most of other times, colour is added because a) artist isn't a very good inker and his comics look decent only when they are brightly coloured b) comic has more chance of being popular when coloured, c) majority of comics are in colour and d) and the most important, artist is more interested in colour than in line. (I myself am leaning towards colouring my next project because of b)
You can notice that I'm drawing a strict line between line/ink-oriented and colour/surface-oriented comics. I think that's fair, and that authors very often prefer one of those two approaches and think of other as a neccesary evil. I believe that if a comic has good inking, good spotting of blacks and shading, it can be as attractive to an untrained eye as a coloured comic, and in fact colouring it means covering up many of it's best bits. Fans of moebius or mezieres still bemoan not being able to get their hands on b/w prints of their albums, which are significantly better than coloured ones.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Phact0rri on Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:23 am

McDuffies wrote:Actually B/W is a sort of natural state of comic. It's not the question of "what kind of comic benefits from being in black/white", it's the question of "does a comic benefit from being in colour?" So, a comic benefits from a colour if it contains a kind of vivid imagery that requires colour for full effect, or if the author has a vision how to utilise colour to add another layer to the story. In most of other times, colour is added because a) artist isn't a very good inker and his comics look decent only when they are brightly coloured b) comic has more chance of being popular when coloured, c) majority of comics are in colour and d) and the most important, artist is more interested in colour than in line. (I myself am leaning towards colouring my next project because of b)
You can notice that I'm drawing a strict line between line/ink-oriented and colour/surface-oriented comics. I think that's fair, and that authors very often prefer one of those two approaches and think of other as a neccesary evil. I believe that if a comic has good inking, good spotting of blacks and shading, it can be as attractive to an untrained eye as a coloured comic, and in fact colouring it means covering up many of it's best bits. Fans of moebius or mezieres still bemoan not being able to get their hands on b/w prints of their albums, which are significantly better than coloured ones.


I can say that I can't imagine your comics Coloured. It is sort of like seeing Peter Bagge's art colored. It is sort of hard to get use too. Sure it will be great, but hopefully its time well spent. I enjoy colouring, but I don't know if helps my art. For my next comic I want to try to play around will way more muted coloring styles.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:09 am

I will admit, one of my problems is that I color because I don't know how to color. It probably sounds nonsensical but it's true. I don't know how to use color effectively, so I just color the whole thing semi-realistically and hope that it suits the purpose :(

I have another comic I want to work on that I want to practice using positive and negative space and black and white. I guess it's discouraging because it seems like the sort of thing that should come naturally to a person somehow, like I feel as if I should just be able to KNOW what's important and what's not important, and why haven't I figured out how to do that yet, type of thing.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Phact0rri on Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:27 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I have another comic I want to work on that I want to practice using positive and negative space and black and white. I guess it's discouraging because it seems like the sort of thing that should come naturally to a person somehow, like I feel as if I should just be able to KNOW what's important and what's not important, and why haven't I figured out how to do that yet, type of thing.


Actually learning the value of positive and negative space is quite important in understanding colour theory-- I got a rude awakening when I was experimenting on a sharpie comic a few years back. Its a lot harder than it seems as you have to concentrate outside the box. Lines disappear in solid blacks so you have to really strengthen the forms or they get to narrow and you loose your drawings. Its really good practice.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby McDuffies on Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:05 am

Phact0rri wrote:[ed. It is sort of hard to get use too. Sure it will be great, but hopefully its time well spent. I enjoy colouring, but I don't know if helps my art. For my next comic I want to try to play around will way more muted coloring styles.

I'm not a particularly good inkert tho, I only invest a lot in details, which is not something webcomics with prominent colour do. Little White Knight would certainly lose something with colouring, and if I had to colour it, I'd probably have some aquarel wash or something with a light touch like that.

I will admit, one of my problems is that I color because I don't know how to color. It probably sounds nonsensical but it's true. I don't know how to use color effectively, so I just color the whole thing semi-realistically and hope that it suits the purpose

I have another comic I want to work on that I want to practice using positive and negative space and black and white. I guess it's discouraging because it seems like the sort of thing that should come naturally to a person somehow, like I feel as if I should just be able to KNOW what's important and what's not important, and why haven't I figured out how to do that yet, type of thing.

I dunno... it was kinda one of my early preoccupations, so now it's there even when I'm not paying attention to it. I've never seen it properly explained in a book, all you can do is find a lot of examples and study them. Henry Moore and Giacometti are the obvious choices.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby homsaphallucination on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:39 pm

Bobadventures wrote:Do you think it's still possible to achieve any sort of real notoriety with a black and white webcomic these days? Naturally, I ask this because my comic is black and white.


Some of my favorite comics are still in black and white, the content is more important to me than the delivery.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby gtopawb on Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:42 am

Thanks! Well, as soon as I read your post, I sat down and started fiddling with different shading techniques. I've always been poor at "spotting blacks" (that is, recognizing spaces that would look better in black). And I'll have to try and avoid doing these minimalist backgrounds; I've known that for a while, but I seem to need a reminder now and again.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby MichaelYakutis on Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:16 pm

I will say that for me, personally, I am more likely to check out a black and white webcomic rather than a colored one. This is because most comics are in color and I feel that black and white (when done WELL) stand out much better than color. All of my favorite printed comics are black and white (Cerebus, Halo Jones, TMNT, Usagi) and I feel that most comics use color as a crutch. Not always, but often. I think that if you do a really good job doing black and white art, people who appreciate that kind of thing, such as myself, will be more interested in it. That being said, colored comics do tend to fair better than black and white and they catch most people's eye better, especially people who don't ordinarily read comics (if perhaps you post on Reddit or something).
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby djracodex on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:59 am

I really appreciate when a fantasy comic is in full color. I think color immerses the reader into the setting a little better than if it were in black and white. Not saying that monochromatic comics can't, in fact, sometimes it's more appropriate than color based on your setting i.e. http://www.lackadaisycats.com/comic.php, a style which greatly influenced my choice in multi vs mono chromatic. I think setting is the most important factor in the color conundrum. My characters' cultures use a lot of intricate colorful patterns, and though it would be nice to have in color, I believe it being in color would distract the reader from the pattern, and the story (can't have that.)

Also, I am way lazy, and that's the biggest reason I do monochromatic :roll:
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