If I want to reach the widest possible audience, I can’t let technology or format stand in the way of a new reader.
The past decade of online publishing has shown that…
- Screen sizes will change (it seems that every larger device is getting smaller and every smaller device is getting larger.)
- Screen proportions will change and are flexible (there’s a multitude of desktop, tablet, and mobile screens sizes and many operate in both landscape and portrait orientations)
- Resolutions will increase (I want to support those resolutions yet I don’t want to give away print-resolution files)
- File formats may change and some may become obsolete (less applicable but still worth noting – I’m thinking of Flash webcomics and also some panel-by-panel presentations now appearing on Instagram)
What I’m doing to address this: I work at a high resolution in a flexible format. I design my comics with rather big lettering to work in three basic shapes – horizontal, squarish, and vertical.
Nowadays, I reformat The Middle Age webcomics in five different sizes in three configurations:
- Full-resolution stacked format for print
- High-resolution stacked format (~900-pixels wide) for my Patreon site
- Standard-resolution stacked format (~600-pixels wide) for this site and for social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
- Horizontal format for GoComics – this was the starting place for my design. It’s the exact same shape as a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.
- Scrolling vertical format for Webtoons and Tapas
I recently added the vertical, scrolling format and the response from the mobile-centric Webtoons audience was overwhelmingly positive.
(BTW: This thinking isn’t really new. The format of the classic Peanuts comics was even more rigid in that it was four equal-sized boxes which were sold to newspapers as a ‘Space Saver’ meaning it could be run horizontally, vertically or stacked as a square.)
In the end, if I want to create stories that last, I must create them in a format (or formats) that will last.
In other words, the only acceptable reason for someone not reading my comics is that they just don’t like my comics.
— Steve @theSteveConley
I hope this occasional bit of shop talk will be useful to others working on their own webcomics. If you find it interesting or helpful, let me know!