The Growth of a Webcomic
I’ve spent the past few weeks preparing to launch my new webcomic, A Pug Named Fender (APNF). What started as a coping mechanism for the sudden loss of my dog, has evolved into a project that has resurrected my love for drawing and elevated my web design skills. Creating this webcomic has also uncovered talents within my inner circle and opened my mind to a wealth of new information, kindess and growth.
APNF was initially built on a ComicPress (CP) wordpress theme in which I was never totally comfortable. The developers and user community seem cool – and the majority of webcomics out there use this platform – but the vibe didn’t seem right for me. I was getting discouraged because it looked like CP was the only show in town. . . until I discovered Webcomic plugin, developed by Michael Sisk and friends. The documentation, video tutorials and accompanying Inkblot theme was so comprehensive and easy to learn — I stripped my APNF configuration and started from scratch. The process of installing Webcomic onto the APNF website allowed me to be more creative in my design approach in addition to sharpening my CSS skills more than I could have imagined. Now the site is exactly how I pictured it in my mind.
My online presence is deeply rooted in my affinity for music (i.e., indie, soul, progressive hip hop, etc.) through my podcast and musical endeavors. I’ve been borderline obsessive in my tweets about this pending webcomic, but only because it’s been so helpful in processing my dog’s death while retaining so much of his character and environment in this webcomic. My wife is a dynamic photographer and the first person to hear my crazy ideas and sit with me during my sketching sessions. She lets me know when I’m going too far or if no one will get my jokes. Maurice Cherry has been my “brother-in-blogging” for many years, yet we never connected on the comic tip until now. He continues to share great background and thoughts on the webcomic world as a consumer and creator.
Philip Clark, whom I share a connection with musically, has been very instrumental in sharing his knowledge / resources as a professional comic letterer (who knew?). My musical partner-in-crime, Todd Kelley, is my go-to tech guy in all matters, but he’s been great in checking out my sketches and bouncing ideas via IM. There’s also a myriad of webcomic sites, tutorials and communities in which I’m immersing myself via RSS and forum comments.
With the official launch coming soon (June 21), I’m confident that I will contribute to the webcomic community with a concept that is unique, fun and representative of who I am as an artist and dog lover. I’ve entertained the possibility of merchandising, book creation and developing a strong distribution of APNF, but my main goal is to celebrate the life of my dog in way that keeps his memory in the forefront of my mind. It’s exhilarating to build stories around him, and the other animals in his world, to create personality traits (e.g., his love for Lalah Hathaway – which I’ll get into in another post) and infuse my musical tastes. APNF is and will continue to be, my therapy and expression of love for the coolest dog ever. I encourage you to subscribe to what I promise will be witty, music-based humor dipped in chocolate & hardened to a crispy shell of artistic goodness. . .
Until next time.