How to Digitize Your Comic Strip

November 3, 2022 | admin

The mainstream comics industry in the US dates back to the 1930s when popular comic strips and cartoons appearing in newspapers caught the eye of the two existing publishing houses. These houses then brought them out as collections, before commissioning original content from comic creators. By the ’40s, almost every American child and a large number of adults too were reading these comic books.

According to Jean-Paul Gabilliet who documents the rise and development of this industry in his book, Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books, almost a billion comic books were sold in 1952, garnering approximately $920 million.

After that, however, the market narrowed down to fans and collectors. This was done through a channel constituted by Diamond Comics Distributors and a network of approximately 3000 comic book specialty stores.

According to sales estimates from John Jackson Miller’s Comichron.com, Diamond sold just over $99 million in comic books in 2016, with approximately $581 million in sales across all product categories.

Following the digital revolution, comics, cartoons, and memes are no longer restricted to just print or film. You can create your own digital comics on a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or even a piece of paper. You don’t have to be an artist or a comedian, if you have something interesting to say, you can become a comics and cartoon maker sitting in the comfort of your home and aspire to be the world’s best in this field.

Plenty of software to choose from

First, decide as a comic maker online if you want to express yourself with a single-scene cartoon, a comic strip with two, three, or more panels, or a comic book. Then, choose the right software.

There are many available for free like MakeBeliefsComix.com which offers 25 preset characters which can be used to fill two, three, or even four panels and produce a comic strip in 10 minutes flat. Child’s play!

Pixton is a comic strip creation website for artists which moves beyond preset poses and emotions, giving users the creative leeway to customize eyes, ears, noses, and hairstyles and even add images from Flicr and Google.

Another most-reviewed comic creator app ToonDoo strikes a balance between user friendliness and creativity while Strip Generator allows users to save their tweaked images in a personal library and use them in community-themed galleries.

MediBang Paint, a digital-painting and comics-creation program that runs on computers and phones, is also popular with artists. Another option is Comic Draw which gives them a fully-equipped digital studio that comes with drawing tools, page templates, a script editor, and perspective guides for just $10, preceded by a free 14-day trial.

For young children, Printable Paper is the best as they don’t have to strain their eyes peering at a laptop or phone screen. They can work with paper and pencil on comic-book templates which can be downloaded and printed and when complete, scanned for digital saving and sharing.

Caught in the web

All the best comics have their own websites for promoting the comic series and the artist. To create a comic website, the first step is to get a domain name. This is the website’s URL or online address people will use to access your site. It can be easily purchased at any major domain name registrar such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, Namecheap, and DreamHost.

To take your own custom-built platform, you have to rent space on a web server. The major domain name providers like DreamHost, HostGator, and BlueHost also provide hosting services. While BlueHost is the most affordable, SiteGround is the best option overall while Kinsta offers premium, high-speed service.

Next, you need a CMS (Content Management System) or a pre-built website platform to help you manage your site. It is usually supported by an all-in-one site (such as Wix or Weebly) and helps you set up and design your site without coding knowledge.

Webcomic artists often choose Tumblr, Blogger, or Tapas to create a webcomic website. WordPress is also highly recommended as you can customize freely and it allows you to self-host. WordPress is also user-friendly and has a large plugin library.

Get mobile with these apps

With comics going digital, there is a growing number of mobile apps that allow users to read their favorite digital comics on their phones and organize their electronic collections. It’s not overly complicated to develop a comic mobile app. Just hire a good comic mobile app development company. Once they deliver the app made to your specifications, publish it on different app stores like Google Play and iTunes.

ComiXology is one of the most prominent digital comic platforms online, with content Image, DC & Marvel. Its mobile app, Comic, is available on both iOS & Android platforms, allowing users to download the comic and read it in-app. The ‘Unlimited mode’ subscription encourages users to read all they can, but they can’t import existing comic collections or make an in-app purchase on iOS.

Comics Plus allows readers to purchase and read e-comics from various publishers like DC, Archie Comics & IDW. Users can choose to import their own DRM-free comics into their personal collection, and also rent a graphic novel for 24, 48, or 120 hours. It also offers in-app parental control.

Some publishers like to have their own digital marketplaces like Dark Horse Comics which may not have Comic Plus’ uView enhanced reading technology but feature a panel zoom reading mode and support for right-to-left reading modes. Apart from paid comics, Dark Horse also offers free samples and introductory issues to reel in the reader.

At $10 a month and $70 annually, the Marvel Unlimited app gives its subscribers access to 13,000-plus issues from the Marvel archive, with new issues being added weekly.

The DC Comics app gives its users access to the entire catalog of DC Entertainment, from Superman and Batman to Wonder Woman. The guided view reading mode makes the app easy to use on all devices.

You can develop a comic mobile app with average features that can cost you between $15,000 – $30,000 for either Android or iOS. For more features or a cross-platform, the cost goes up by $20,000.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a spike in the consumption of comic content to relieve anxiety and stress. The global webcomics market was $6.70 B]billion in 2020, with a growth of 52.45%. It is projected to grow from $7.36 billion in 2021 to $11.12 B in 2028. So, if you can raise a laugh, you can laugh all the way to the bank.

Want to start making your own comic strip? If you’ve got artistic thought and a penchant for comics, we can help you create your own webcomic website. Our experienced team of web designers will show you the way. Write us an email at team@sdi.la or call us at +1.408.621.8481.

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