There is a lot of debate out there, regarding the “future of webcomics” and how comic artists/illustrators can make a living from them. Especially with the current tools available, which let anybody with a computer suddenly become a publisher &/or a comic creator.
The ability to push out a webcomic, regardless of it’s quality, is within the reach of practically anybody.
(Side note – I dislike the term ‘webcomic’. In the present online world, there is a massive crossover between comics delivered in print format, or online. So, for the rest of this blog post, I am just going to call them ‘comics’. You will notice that it makes little difference, and is still relevant, despite the delivery medium)
For me, the answer to being able to make a living from just creating comics, is to do one of these things:
1. work hard and produce comics that are of great quality, which will then attract the readers/publishers.
2. create a great product, but pick a niche to work within, where there is less competition.
The first option is something you should do by default, as a comic creator regardless. It is the second option that I feel is the best path to follow.
The idea is nothing new, and smart artists have been doing this for a while.
Hugh McLeod talked about this approach in a recent article. He describes targeting the High-End Microaudience in order to make a profit from his art.
Very recently, I stumbled across this work by Carly Monardo. She has created a piece called Marc Jacobs In Space which I feel is not only great looking, but is also a very smart direction to take. The niche she has begun to target here is the fashion industry, and I can see how something like this could really blossom into a fantastic earning potential for her.
As artists, we should be thinking of the old adage “work smarter not harder”. In our case, this often means thinking about where we can apply our skills, rather than pumping out a heap of stuff that has already been done & hoping someone sees it after it has been tweeted, retweeted, voted up on reddit & facebooked to death.
So, why not take some time very soon, and think about how you are going to “work smarter, not harder’“.
It could really pay off for you.