@HannahCan asked: In your opinion, what’s biggest hurdle to starting your first comic?

(For the record, I’m approaching this primarily from the webcomics angle of things, but this advice can be applied to a lot of areas of comics.)

Resist trying to make your comic marketable.

It’s extremely tempting to sand off the edges of your comic ideas to make it more palatable, especially when it’s easy to go onto sites like Webtoon™ and see the most bog-standard romance (complete that one 3D castle asset everyone uses) near the top. And in an era where people want to be in creative fields more than ever (even comics!) competition for attention is fierce. When newer artists hear about the success of works like Heartstopper, Tower of God, Sweet Home, One Punch Man, Pop Team Epic, and Lore Olympus it seems less like a pipe dream.

Firstly- success on online platforms like Webtoon (or Lezhin, or MangaPlus, or SaturdayAM) doesn’t directly translate to any actual financial security, and that’s what most people think of when they think of what it means to ‘make it’ in comics. Changing your ideas to suit a platform that may or may not pay your bills is a fruitless endeavor.

Secondly- webcomics, or even shorter projects like graphic novels or just a zine, are a lot of work. The aforementioned Heartstopper is almost a decade old. Comics are absolutely a long game! It’s extremely easy to get burnt out even on passion projects, more so if you’ve removed some elements, hoping their absence would make something more successful only to not meet your goals.

Essentially what I’m saying is: don’t get tripped up in the process of starting your first comic by the need to be successful. It can be really scary starting down the barrel of a decade-long idea when you want your efforts to actually go towards something (especially if going full-time is your goal) and that may make you not want to make comics at all. There’s also always the chance that, despite the frequent advice of ‘if you build it they will come’ re: creative careers, no one will read your comic at all. But getting comics in front of eyes is a whole other discussion that isn’t necessarily tied to the actual content of the comic itself, surprisingly.

Of course if there’s something you really love that is exceptionally marketable by all means, live your bliss.

Originally posted on Cohost. I’m answering questions over there once a day and will be crossposting ’em here as well- don’t want to lose these in the event of a brand new social media collapse, am I right?

You can also send questions in directly via nero[at]itsnero[dot]com.