Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

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Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Bobadventures on Sat May 29, 2010 12:05 am

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.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Sat May 29, 2010 2:17 am

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.


Notoriety usually comes from subject matter more than anything else but I think you're more after fans than true notoriety.

That said I think colour would help your comic as at the moment (at least the few pages I just flicked through) it looks more like line-art than a complete comic.
Black and white comics, in some ways, are more difficult than colour comics as you have to use black and white together to create shading and fill in objects and backgrounds to create a sense of substance.
A mistake many people make with black and white comics is the "big white void" which can lead to a world of floating characters and objects.

So I'd recommend the switch to colour (which is free since you work digital) or if you're determined to work in black and white you might want to check out this thread which could give you some tips on improving your techniques.

That said the art looks good it just need a little something more, after all we're all constantly improving and fine-tuning our works.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Bobadventures on Sun May 30, 2010 8:29 pm

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.

Your comment about color and money seemed odd; certainly money isn't the issue, it's time. To quote Malcolm McDowell, time is the fire in which we burn. I've often wondered whether, if I had some extra time, if it would be better to do a third update per week, or to start coloring, but it's a moot point, since that time has not materialized. All I can do is try to get faster. (Certainly if I had the money to pay a separate colorist, that'd be awesome, but if I had such money, my world would be very different...)

I am considering finally putting in some gray tones, but if I go that route, it won't be until the conclusion of this story arc (in... oh, at this point I'm guessing about four months), since I don't want a drastic art style shift in the middle of the arc.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Mon May 31, 2010 1:19 am

Bobadventures wrote:Your comment about color and money seemed odd; certainly money isn't the issue, it's time.


Merely pointing out the big advantage you digital guys have over traditional guys like myself.

But honestly once you've got your specific colours sorted out, colouring doesn't take that much longer in the whole process.

Only advice I can really give is use any spare time you have while you're completing this story-arc to try/practice any techniques you'd like to add to the comic (that's what I do, kind of).
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Samuli on Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:25 pm

RobboAKAscooby wrote:Merely pointing out the big advantage you digital guys have over traditional guys like myself.


Since I work with both digital and traditional media, I have to say IMHO the only real advantage to colouring in digital is more choice and undo. As for cost, I would have to go through a truckload of paper, watercolour and / or gouache and brushes to equal the cost of my cintiq. Where I actually notice the difference is in sketching – I can go through twice as many ideas in the same time in PS as I would with pencil and paper. Colouring takes about the same time and inking is far quicker with a brush on decent paper.

As for Bobadventures's question, I would definitely go with colouring. Judging by your banner, you've already got that down – the flat colours work like a charm for your style. Throw in some hard shadows with 50% opacity and you're golden! That should take about 30 minutes per comic. And I would definitely change into colour right now, even if you're in the middle of a story. It will do wonders for your style. If you find extra time, just go back and colour the previous comics as well.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:16 pm

Samuli wrote:As for Bobadventures's question, I would definitely go with colouring. Judging by your banner, you've already got that down – the flat colours work like a charm for your style. Throw in some hard shadows with 50% opacity and you're golden! That should take about 30 minutes per comic. And I would definitely change into colour right now, even if you're in the middle of a story. It will do wonders for your style. If you find extra time, just go back and colour the previous comics as well.


I second this motion. No need to get fancy with the shading and luscious textures and so forth. Just bloop bloop bloop colors.

Say, why don't you share some of the black and white technique versus some colored images just for a comparison?
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Bobadventures on Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:12 pm

Well......... Okay. I think I will try going to color after this story arc is complete. But not till then, for a few reasons: 1) It would break the flow of the story. 2) I want to spend the time between now and then practicing so that I will be both good at it and reasonably fast. 3) This storyline has some pretty complicated images, and I'd like to start with something relatively simple to color.

I think one thing in particular that has held me back is the prospect of coloring Voluptua's butterfly wings, which one character described as "like unto the stained glass of a cathedral." Yeah, I've had a hard time settling on a color scheme for that. :)

Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Ohemgee on Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:38 am

I originally went for black and white with traditional media and shading + some black areas and generally no backgrounds, as I had plenty of time to work on it in class. Since switching schools I've reverted to what is basically just line art. I'm sort of wondering what sort of magical colouring methods you guys use to color a comic in... 30 minutes? Always takes me over two hours, and I don't have that kind of time. :(
Could you perhaps point me in the right direction or post a link to this bloop bloop bloop... or do I just need to practise more?
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:00 am

I'll have to time myself next time I go to color. Mine's colored by hand though, I dunno if that would make me faster or slower. I color really sloppily and don't give much of a toss about the quality of the coloring which isn't something that anyone should really strive for, which could explain how long it takes me to color. I'm sure that simple hand coloring takes more time than simple computer coloring, but I've never done the latter so I can't really say for sure.

And I think it depends on, when you're coloring digitally, how much detail you're putting in. Which is what Samuli was talking about, really simplifying the coloring process to just the basics in order to cut time and improve the way the comic looks.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:48 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Which is what Samuli was talking about, really simplifying the coloring process to just the basics in order to cut time and improve the way the comic looks.


Yeah when I started colouring my comics is was just basic flat colours and then as time passed (and I got faster/better at it) I added simple shading and then more shading

It is always about small steps, don't try to make massive changes all at once.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:25 pm

RobboAKAscooby wrote:It is always about small steps, don't try to make massive changes all at once.


NO NO MAKE MASSIVE CHANGES MAKE THE ENTIRE COMIC IN EMBROIDERY :D :D :D :x :D
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:43 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:
RobboAKAscooby wrote:It is always about small steps, don't try to make massive changes all at once.


NO NO MAKE MASSIVE CHANGES MAKE THE ENTIRE COMIC IN EMBROIDERY :D :D :D :x :D


Now THAT I would read 8-)
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Samuli on Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:38 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:And I think it depends on, when you're coloring digitally, how much detail you're putting in. Which is what Samuli was talking about, really simplifying the coloring process to just the basics in order to cut time and improve the way the comic looks.


Yeah, that's exactly it. The 30 minute process is as follows, when inking, make sure your lines connect. After you've scanned it in just make two layers, one for colour, one for inks. Use Threshold on the inks layer to get rid of anti-aliasing. The top one has to be in multiply (there are other ways but those would take time to explain). Then select areas to colour from the ink layer with magic wand (with anti-aliasing ticked off) and expand the selection by two pixels or so. then just use the Paint bucket tool or whatever to fill the areas. After all areas are filled, lock transparency of the colour layer and paint in shadows with whatever tool you like.

Simple as that. If you've done the inking meticulously this should not take more than 30 minutes.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby jam on Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:49 am

I personally tend to prefer B&W, monochrome, or otherwise simple art in comics. Juicy digital painting looks snazzy, but I find it frequently interferes with the flow of the story.

Sinfest, Cat and Girl, and Hark! A Vagrant are all excellent examples.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby peterabnny on Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:08 am

I'm glad I found this thread. Makes me feel better about the B&W strips I do for Critters ( http://www.crittersonline.org ). I do have some stuff in color, but most of it is in traditional crosshatch and pointilism B&W shading that I do by hand. Time is just too short for me to color my comics, which I do by hand as well.

I admit, if I was more proficient with digital coloring I probably would do my strip in color; I like the rich, even tones that can be had with it. But I'm not, so B&W it is. I guess I have a place after all! :)
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby weirdcrimetheater on Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:33 pm

I certainly hope they are still viable, because we don't have the manpower to color our comic on top of the rest of the workload.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Lostmind on Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:48 pm

I've tried to switch to color a few times in the past. But with only a mouse to make curves I've never liked the end result. I do however agree that one of the worst part of doing a B&W comic is finding ways of representing walls without ending up with the white void. Many of the walls in our lives are plain light colored without or little adornments (schools, shopping centers, homes, etc.) Still with its limits I prefer B&W over color. In the end I think to make a viable comic you only need an entertaining story and an art style that matches well with it (comic book, cartoony, manga, whatever.)
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby VinnieD on Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Black and White is certainly a valid style. As a traditional artist myself, I apply my shades with ink brushes, a process that takes about the same amount of time in color or grays. The choice of gray is strictly stylistic. I do venture into color sometimes for highlights or for certain features that need to stand out, but mostly it's gray.

Walls are always tricky to deal with. You can throw some detail on them like wallpaper, cracks, spots, pictures, light switches, outlets, and such to liven them up, or a simple gradient will help, and give a sense of directional lighting to the whole thing, helping to add mood to the scene.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby McDuffies on Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:12 pm

Black and white webcomics have definitely been going out of style ever since this recent invention called Technicolour internet.
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Re: Black & White Webcomics Still Viable?

Postby Wendybird on Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:13 am

@ OhEmGee

Here is how I used to color comics in Paint. http://knol.google.com/k/basic-image-ed ... Paint_Well

Now I generally use GIMP to ink, so I can duplicate my ink layer and use the pencil tool to enclose sections on the lower copy. I set my paint bucket to a tolerance of about 130.

It's possible to do this with scanned inks, but you have to turn the white to transparency. One way to do this is apply a threshold, select by color (white), and cut.

Yes, guys, I know this is a super cheap way to do flat color. That's kind of what I like about it.
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