At some point in our lives, we all come to realize that we spend too much time as passive consumers. It could be the way Game of Thrones ended (or the mere fact that it ended), or the pandemic-enforced dearth of live sports entertainment. Or maybe you’ve finally run out of K-dramas to watch on Netflix.
Whatever the trigger might be, once you realize you can’t satisfy that craving for entertainment, what do you do? The answer, if you’ve got a latent creative side, is simple: start being a creator, not a consumer.
But if you can only spare a couple of hours each day without quitting your job, what sort of creative project can you make on the side?
Well, if you can doodle and write, you can start a webcomic to scratch that creative itch. Here’s why this simple hobby can prove so useful:
Most people who get inspired to start a creative passion project will proceed to make plans. And from there, the dream slowly fizzles out and dies. They start comparing themselves to everyone that has achieved success before them doing something similar. They realize that they need to level up in many different skills first.
Start thinking about all those prerequisites, and you’ll dither away without taking any action. Webcomics take away that problem. Some of the most successful webcomics are also the simplest in terms of execution. Hark, a Vagrant, and xkcd, for example, prove that you can tell a story with loose or minimalist line art. Dinosaur Comics doesn’t even require drawing skills, using T-rex clip art instead.
As for the words themselves, the shorter the story, the better. If you take one of the above strips and paste the contents into a Word document, they would probably number less than 100 words on average.
Webcomics are a short-form medium, which makes them incredibly accessible not only to readers but to creators themselves. You’re under no pressure to deliver more than one page or panel’s worth of content. You can get something done in an hour or two, but you don’t have to release content every day.
The barrier to entry is really low, so there’s no need to over-plan and kill your momentum. You could start making a webcomic right now. Even if your laptop crashes and you have to take it to the computer store, you can sketch on paper, take a picture with your phone, and upload that. It’s easy to be a consistent creator with this medium.
But webcomics also have the potential to go further. Often, creatives have used their webcomics as a springboard for their professional success. They have been able to grow their fan base, attend conventions, and network with other creators.
Many creators are also able to monetize their webcomic. They can sell printed merchandise, such as T-shirts, or raise funds through Patreon or similar channels. With more traffic to your website, you can explore advertising as a means of bringing in revenue.
Exploring growth potential
This growth potential is what makes the simple webcomic such a promising option for a side project. It gives you many opportunities to learn various skills through practical application.
Never considered being a marketing professional? Well, if you keep on experimenting with the formula and platform of your webcomic to increase your viewers, that’s like trying to connect with a target audience. In the same way, learning about topics or keywords that seem to drive traffic will give you more insight into what’s trending.
How about UX design? As you consider the best way to format your content and layout your website, you’ll have the reader’s experience in mind. When you engage with fans in the comments section or any communities you participate in, you’re also managing the consumer experience.
And, of course, there’s the inevitable growth that comes with consistent practice as a creator. Because you’re applying your skills with intent, you’ll get better as a storyteller. You can write an entertaining dialogue with 100 words or fewer. You can draw a cohesive sequence over just three panels.
How much more, then, could you accomplish if given a 24-page spread? This builds self-confidence while making others believe in you as well.
Simply start creating, and don’t look too far ahead. Embrace the process of discovery. Find your voice as a creator through constant experimentation and tinkering with your webcomic. Who knows where it might lead? At the very least, it will take you away from being a passive consumer of other people’s content.