During the lockdown period earlier in the beginning of 2021, I decided to take my hilarious comics to a whole new platform, YouTube.
You see the thing about comics is, they’re meant to delight people and leaving them wanting for more. As a comic artist, you feel really good when people start taking notice of your work. You’re thrilled when they start commenting or interacting with the posts. This further motivates you to draw more, create more, and further provide more for your audience to indulge in. Such is the entertainment value you get from comics.
Being a comic artist is definitely not easy. At the very least, its not an easy career choice to take on if you’re looking to do it full time. There are so many challenges you have to go through to even get yourself recognized. With so many talented and inspiring comic book artists in the world, it takes more than just good drawing skills to survive, what more to make a living out of it.
Starting From Scratch
As with everything else in life, you get to choose if you want to do it on a full-scale basis, or just a part time hobby. You are in control of putting your spare time in doing something you love. Passion and enthusiasm is a must if you’re looking at following the footsteps of successful comic artists. If you’re really looking to attract the attention of your audience, you’ve got to be special, or find something other creators don’t possess.
This led me to finally deciding on creating my YouTube channel (which in fact I had thoughts on doing one ever since YT was even a thing) where I could bring my comics and stories to life. Being someone whom loves comic book adaptations to the big screen (Think Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe – The way they bring their comic book adaptations on to the big screen is absolutely phenomenal). That further convinced me that I’d be happy to try my hand on animated stories. And for the love of creating something I always wanted to do but lacked the opportunity to do so.
Starting out wasn’t exactly easy. Besides having to learn everything from scratch (scripting, storyboarding, illustrating, animating as well as voiceovers) I had to learn how to create an online presence for my art and my brand. Apart from the artistic ability and a natural knack for storytelling, it became clear you’ll need to have a good sense of imagination and a powerful sense of motivation to be able to do this on your own.
A Style That is Truly Yours
Starting out on YouTube was never going to be a walk in the park. Especially not as an animator. First off, animation takes a lot of time to produce a video. Depending on the length it could range from weeks to even months. There are also many talented animators on YouTube that have done such wonderful jobs in crafting their stories. Their visual representations of themselves and works are simply amazing. One of the most popular animations on YouTube would definitely be the Storytime Animations, in which popular animators like Jaiden Animations, The Odds1Out, Domics, Swoozie and the OG’s have created a staple in an industry as niche as animation.
These household names have paved the way for other animators to begin their animation journey and many have excelled in garnering an audience for themselves. Truly a remarkable sight to behold. Yet each and everyone of them have their own unique style.
If you’re well versed in art you may have noticed from one look that all the animators look nothing like each other. The general public however, may see the “YouTube Animator Style” as similar. Mostly of them follow a simplistic and minimal type of line art to form their characters. In my case as well, my drawings originated from a Western style. Over time it evolved to fuse in Asian Anime style elements, which I ultimately settled for in my animation styling.
The Importance of Storytelling
Animated videos have one important element that separates each animator from one another. Their personality and storytelling style. The art of animating is vastly different from comic book drawings. It isn’t only about creating beautiful visuals and making jokes in few panels. It’s about injecting your personality into the stories you tell, brought to life by your wit and craft.
Your audience must be able to follow the flow of your narrative. From the opening hook, to the meat of the matter, and finally culminating in a satisfying finale of the video. You need to be engaging enough to allow the audience to learn a thing or two, and crave for more. Your story must be able to pique the interest of the audience no matter what niche you define yourself.
Patience is a Virtue
Only a handful of people are blessed by the YouTube Gods and the mystical algorithm to be able to find success overnight. The rest of the 99.9% probably have to work hard, persevere and not forget why they started out as artists. Patience is one thing everyone knows by heart, but often lose sight of because of various factors. It’s so easy to look at other successful people and compare it against your own works.
It takes experience and also a good amount of patience to be successful, while working hard at honing your craft and learning as you go along. I have only been doing YT for a couple of months, yet I’ve learnt so much through research and watching other informative videos. Its important to understand everyone grows at a different pace, and its imperative not to let the success of others get over your head.
Success also depends on how you promote your material for the world to know who you are. It’s a known fact that you may have the greatest video or best content in the world, but if no one sees it, it’s just another buried treasure that only you know where it’s hidden. I’ve recently started my Instagram @Wengsome and I have hopes of gathering an audience who loves my comics and videos.
Showcase your works on relevant social media platforms, and network with fellow animators or audience who fall in the same genre would be the best way to start off. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and learn as you go along.
Enjoy The Journey
Part of the process is having fun in doing what you love. If you don’t love or enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to burn out real quick. No one starts out with a lot of experience. As you go along you learn how much you can produce within your own pace. Starting out is often the hardest, and you consistently need to produce genuine content your audience would crave for.
With every video put out to the world, I gain more knowledge and experience in content creation. At the same time I know I’m improving on the art of visual storytelling and making better videos as I go along. Looking back at my earlier videos, they indeed look crappy, but those are the signs of improvement. One look at the latest productions would instantly tell the story. Check me out on YouTube if you’re looking for a good laugh!
Big Dreams Start Small
I truly enjoy animating my comics to life, because of the fact it gives me a fresh breath of air. It’s a big step forward from comic panels to moving graphics. In particular, I get to provide voiceovers to my videos, injecting a personality that was previously absent in my comics.
It’s gonna be a long road to be a successful animator. The right drive and motivation, combined with the love for entertaining the audience – is key. Know that there’s no such thing as being left behind and don’t compare yourself to anyone else in your journey. The best way forward is to better yourself at everything you do. Enjoy your progress as an artist while presenting the best version of yourself to the world.