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Webcomic Creator Grants

What are some of the most common challenges facing aspiring webcomics creators who are trying to publish quality work on a regular schedule? Well, webcomics doesn’t pay much out of the gate, so most creators have to work “real jobs” to pay the bills, then come home and get their webcomic work done. Some creators have managed, over years, to get their work to be self-sustaining and are able to work on it full time.

I am a person who can’t help but see the potential in people, concepts, ideas, anything… and it just keeps occurring to me that there are untold numbers of great stories never seeing the light of day because of the potentially huge obstacles in the way of creating one’s webcomics work as a full time gig. Have you ever thought along the same lines? Are you a creator who would like the chance to really try to make a go of it, but the financial realities are just holding you back?

I wonder. We have an ever-improving technology structure available to us via the web, to act as a social network and accomplish things by acting together. People into webcomics also tend to be into Web 2.0 technologies and other concepts to enable people to connect in really interesting ways to information and to each other. Can this raw power we possess collectively be driven in a way that would remove some of the obstacles from perhaps the most aspiring, driven, talented, passionate creators out there that lack only the financial resources to push them over the edge into greatness? Is there some way we could each do something simple, like chip in a buck or two, and put together a Webcomic Creator Grant, from which a creator chosen by his or her collective peers would, after going through a review process along with other competitors, could be “granted” a job as a Webcomic Creator?

I’m not the one to implement this. I’m just the idea guy. But it seems like an exciting idea to me, that in a sense we could all benefit from.

After going part time at

Unityflow's picture

After going part time at work so that I could concentrate on drawing comics and other freelance work, I've decided that I do my best work when I have a day job.

Perhaps it is working for a boss you don't like or maybe it is having 8 hours a day to think about something else you would rather be doing, but in my case, my output practically halved when my time to draw doubled.

That said, I like to support other webcomics/comic creators in a non-monetary way. I work as a typesetter and I can help people sort out getting their work into print. I can provide advice based on my experiences and I can increase an audience number by one... just like the many people that helped me when I was starting out.

I guess what I'm saying is that a supportive community is worth more than just grants.

 

 

www.flowfieldunity.com

  Visit The Flowfield Unity - www.theflowfieldunity.com – it's OK.

I'm one of those guys who

mooncity's picture

I'm one of those guys who has to rush home after work and do his webcomickry. I think it's possible I might be able to do better work if I didn't have to work a regular job, just because I could take more time drawing the comic. But I dunno if a grant would cover enough of my expenses (like health insurance), so I could quit my day job. I like the idea of a grant, though. I'm kind of surprised big corporations haven't done that yet for the tax break. They give tons of dough to PBS, arts foundations and the like. But we still have that stigma to overcome. You know, the one which makes people like the guys at Wikipedia dismiss our work out of hand. Despite the huge success of Penny Arcade, PvP, etc., The Man still doesn't want to share his dough, and won't until he's convinced he might somehow gain from it one day (in positive PR if nothing else). They can say, "Hey, we sponsored that documentary," or "Hey, we funded this sculptor's work," but none of them want to say they sponsored or funded a webcomic yet. Hopefully webcomics will soon make the jump to "legitimate" status in the public/corporate mind, like online retail, and the rewards and recognition will follow. If I ran a corporation, I'd start doing it today and get ahead of the curve.

Mooncity

Autumn Lake

Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!

In theory, a grant is a nice

Ryan Sohmer's picture

In theory, a grant is a nice idea, but I don't think it will work in this medium at all.

If you want to make it in webcomics, you'll have to do it the old fashioned way.

Well, All I have to say

DumokDuvalles's picture

Well, All I have to say is...
"SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!"

A Call to Destiny an Adult Sci-Fi webcomic.

My Online Store At LuLu
Check out My Comics!!!.

Paycheck Idea

Iain Hamp's picture

Interesting discussion, which was exactly what I hoped would happen. So do you think the Xeric Foundation's work is unfounded, or that it translates poorly to webcomics? And one thing I want to throw out there, is I pictured you could hold the winners "accountable" by releasing the money in stages, essentially almost like a paycheck. There are a lot of legal, tax, and accounting ramifications, so I get that the work involved might be too steep for it to work, but I still think the concept might be worth exploring further. One way or another, I would like the people pclips mentioned above to have a better shot at success.

Xeric Foundation

[quote=Iain]So do you think the Xeric Foundation's work is unfounded? [/quote]I'm going to show my ignorance here (again!)

Has the Xeric Foundation actually identified and funded any previously unknown comic which, subsequent to being awarded a grant, became successful? That's the criteria by which this should be judged, I guess.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Even if you could fund them...

Sean C's picture

Having the money to do comics does not necessarily mean that the quality of the work would remain the same. In the case of webcomics, I see it as if a cartoonist can make it on their own, they will be motivated to continue to do what they do - there's a sense of personal achievement, as that cartoonist has reached a broader audience who has embraced his/her work. An artist that recieves a grant might just go, "Well, not too many people like it, but this guy does, and he gave me money, so I'll just do enough to keep him happy, and work on other things." See what I mean? Money might only motivate enough to keep a status quo. There are some comics [I will not name name(s)] that don't put much effort in as long as the money's coming in. Struggling for that meager income that only a small fraction of webcomics enjoy is something that can really make an artist strive to do the best work they can do.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

I would argue that even

djcoffman's picture

I would argue that even though you might want to see more from them, even if you gave them money, they might not produce what you'd want to be paying for. Chances are they didn't have the drive to continue their projects, it has a lot more to do with discipline than it does money.

Believe me... money DOES NOT magically make you hit deadlines or get a good work ethic down. That's something you totally have to work at and GRIND out.

I know some WAYYYYY talented mothercrunkers, who were HANDED cash and funding for their comic books, and they STILL BLEW IT and couldn't get their shit together. It happens all the time.

Support your favorite cartoonist through his sponsors or buying his merchandise or spreading the word, yelling the word even. And if they don't want ads... or merchandise... or whatever... chances are they aren't serious about doing this as a money making career.

Sounds noble--- but I think

djcoffman's picture

Sounds noble--- but I think the best cartoonists are made from blood, sweat and tears. Work hard, be passionate, never give in.

And let's be honest--- it doesn't take all that much money at all, IF ANY to publish comics online. Giving someone a grant to quit their crappy day job probably wouldn't be the best suited thing I think. Could be hazardous actually if you really think about it.

Work harder..... you can sleep when you're dead.

The hard equations

pclips's picture

The problem is, there are a handful of people I have seen start a webcomic and display absolutely exceptional talent. But the hard economic equations of doing one made them go off and apply those talents to some shitty day job and drop out. I think of people like Scotty Arsenault of Commander Kitty, Matt Gidney of Mitch in Wonderland, Elliott Hoffman of Spelling the Vacuum, and a few others. I would simply like to see more of their work, and paying them the equivalent of a salary to do what they do best would make that happen.

Lottery Fantasy

pclips's picture

This has long been my primary "If I won Powerball" fantasy. I would fund a hand-selected group of talented people who'd been beaten down by financial reality--pay them to pursue their craft. And not only in webcomics.

However, I don't see it happening without the lotto win. I mean, it's great to be "just the idea guy," but if the idea has any relevance it's got to be grounded in reality. Who do you see as providing these grants?

It seems to me that you're saying the community at large would chip in to support a small handful of creators. That's more or less happening now, isn't it? The community is simply doing the selecting.

Of the couple dozen "this is my full time job" creators, about half that I know of rely heavily on subscription/donation support, and most of them get a major "grant" from having a working spouse.

I just don't see where arts funding would come from, if we're talking about an area of endeavor that has chronic problems proving its "notability" to fucking Wikipedia editors.

If the funding were corporate, you'd ultimately have to make the case that the positive PR exceeded the value of the grant money. That might be possible, in some cases, but it would be tied to the popularity of the comic you were "saving."