H-P Lehkonen

comics artist from Finland

Make Webcomics NOW!

18.08.2019 5:51

New eBook ”Make Webcomics NOW!” available on Preorders right now! Launching in 26th of August 2019!

Preorders in half the price! Preorder here: QUEERWEBCOMIC.COM

Here’s the first chapter so you get a sneak peek into the content!


I met my girlfriend in a graphic design university. I often asked the people in my class to come to the Helsinki weekly comics hangouts with me. Sara was also interested in comics and one day she agreed to come.

We went to the meeting, met up with some comics people and left home. Sara happened to live in the same direction as me and one other woman, so we took the train together. While we were waiting for the commuter train in the Helsinki main railway station, I asked Sara: “So, what do you want to do after school?” and she gave me an answer we all know you’re supposed to give:

“Well I’m studying graphic design, so something like that, maybe an advertising agency?”

But I heard from her voice that it wasn’t her real answer, it was just what she knew she should say, so I asked: “No, what do you really want?”

To me this moment wasn’t remarkable. I just said what came to my mind, I wasn’t trying to be clever or impress her. But years later me, Sara and my boyfriend Paju are living in a condo we own together and it’s my birthday. I’m a professional lecturer, so I’ve given speeches to both Sara and Paju on their birthdays. They’re not professional speakers, so they don’t normally do that, but this time Sara says she wants to give a speech. In her speech she tells me that moment meant a lot to her. She told me she never actually replied to my question back then, because to her it was huge! The thing stuck to her and she started really thinking what she wanted in life. Not what others want her to want, but what she really wants.

I have no memory of this event, I wrote it all based on what Sara told me. Like I said, to me it wasn’t big, but sometimes you end up accidentally saying something meaningful to someone else.

So this is what I’m asking you now: “What do you really want?” You have bought this guide because you want to make comics, but that’s only the surface! What makes you want that? Why do you want that? What are the parts of it you really want the most?

 

Let’s find out.

Here’s how I personally find the reasons behind the things I want, the core needs I have. I ask myself why. Here’s my own example.

I want to be a famous comics artist.

Why?
Well because then I could make money from comics and use that to help others in my spare time.

Why?
Because I don’t want to have to get a job with a schedule that’s too hard for me with my ADHD and that takes time away from other people.

Why?
Because I don’t want to feel like a failure if I can’t do a 9-5 job.

Why?
Because I don’t enjoy feeling like a failure.

Why?
Because I want to feel good about my work that I love. If I hate myself all the time, I can’t make the kind of comics that I really want to do!

Why?
Because I want to make very specific comics about queer things.

Why?
… because… I just want to.

A-Ha! When you get into the “Because I just want to!” you have found your reason. My reason for wanting to be a famous comics artist wasn’t that I actually want to be famous, but the fact that I felt that by being famous I’d have the permission to draw anything I want while still making enough money to survive on.

When I realized that, I knew I could start working on actually reaching the goal of surviving while making the content I love, instead of becoming famous.

While I was trying to become famous, all I did was gathering a bigger and bigger social media following. It could have made me famous, but I couldn’t support myself with likes and retweets and I sure as hell couldn’t make the content I wanted, because I always had to think “What would get most shares?” I wasn’t nowhere near my goal!

So I changed my approach. It took me a lot of time to get to the point where I can have what I really want, but here’s how I do it now.

I have a webcomic on Patreon. It has about 100 readers, but they all pay $3 or more to read it! That gives me enough money to make that passion project! It’s not a comic that would necessarily do good on social media, because it’s too serious, but it is paying for my mortgage! (Besides, here’s my best tip we’ll get to in more detail later: the Patreon money is only the first round of payments I get from the comic!) Apart from that I started doing more lecturing tours and gathering my lectures into small PDFs (and now this one big one!). This is something that I love. I also started a small comics publisher DigiComix!

One of the aspects of being famous that I liked was that I’d be able to talk to more people and help them with the privileges I’d have as a “famous comics person”. Well, I don’t need to be famous to help people! I knew I could just start helping people there and then! And I was able to combine the “support yourself” goal with the “help others” dream. I am now making about 75% of my living with just lecturing tours, teaching and writing PDFs! Except during the time I work for Webtoon… I have chosen to stay with Webtoon as long as they let me draw the comics I personally love! I’ve been a featured creator there, and if you’ve read my webtoons, you know my series tend to be a bit shorter than your average Webtoon series. This is because I want to do shorter coherent stories that are exactly what I personally love!

And this is all part of my dream of NOT DYING OF HUNGER while still making exactly the kind of comics I love the most.

 

So… What do you REALLY want?

If you now realized you actually don’t want to make comics after all, it’s okay. I’m sorry you spent money on this course material. I wish you all the best with the thing you actually want.

But if you still really want to do comics, great!

This course is all about comics! I hope you’ll love all the things I’ve written in the following 9 sections!

Here’s the contents of the first batch of the course materials!

  1. Introduction – What is it that you REALLY want? (You’re now here!)
    2. Social Media and Your Online Presence
    3. Pitching to Publishers and Negotiating Your Contract
    4. Crowdfunding from Kickstarter to Patreon
    5. How to get seen? Marketing Tips to Small Creators
    6. Networking for the Shut In Cartoonists (You just do it online if you can’t see anyone.)
    7. Work on Comics by Not Making Comics?
    8. Go where Webcomics have never went before.

    9. Time management and Self Care.

 

Assignments!

When on lecturing tours, if I have more time than 2 days to teach all of these things to the students, I tend to give them some assignments! I’ll have the assignments here too, just in case you want to use them in your own work!

The point of these assignments isn’t that much to teach the students, or you, to make perfect webcomics, perfect social media posts, perfect portfolios… it’s to make something.

Often the biggest obstacle preventing us all from achieving our dreams is that we fear failure. We fear not being perfect. “Why build a portfolio if it’s never going to be as perfect as you wish for it to be?” This is why I have a very simple way of giving scores for the assignments. The scores have nothing to do with the quality of your art or stories. The scores come only from the things you have finished. Quantity over quality. Quality can come later, first we need to get the students, and maybe you too, past the fear of not being good enough!

 

Have you seen that post on Tumblr where the person tells a story from their school? They were studying pottery and the professor split the class in half. Other half was going to get their grade according to the quantity of the pots they made and the other half was only allowed to make one, but they’d get scored by the quality. So the class started to work. Others churned out hundred pots! And the others researched the best pot making tips in books and online, watching hours of videos and asking help from older students. But when the time came to give the scores, the best quality pots were made by the Quantity group. Why? Because practise gains you more exp. points than planning. It’s better to put practise before research (except in things that involve chainsaws… then first research enough to not lose an arm, then practise, practise, practise.)

 

So the first assignment is this…

10 Ideas a Day!

Write down 10 ideas every day. Just make a list of them. They don’t have to be comic ideas, anything is fine!

“Maybe I wanna put ramen inside of a pie!” That surely is an idea!
“I wanna travel to Sweden!” Sounds like an idea to me!
“What if I made a comic of an Immortal Nerd!” Hey, that’s my idea! But for the sake of this assignment, I don’t care if you steal it for your list!

You can make even more, but you should do this 5 days a week (you can and should take a weekend off). The scores go like this:

5 points: 50+ ideas by the end of the week
4 points: 40-49 ideas by the end of the week
3 points: 30-39 ideas by the end of the week
2 points: 20-29 ideas by the end of the week
1 points: 10-19 ideas by the end of the week

For under 10 ideas by the end of the week I guess you could get half a point for trying

0 points: 0 ideas

My goal is to teach the students that there’s nothing to lose by trying out something absolutely ridiculous! You can only either learn or win.

When you choose what to do, ask yourself. Will the outcome be Negative, Neutral or Positive. If there’s only Neutral or Positive possibilities, just go for it! If it may be negative, think “How can I do this in a way that the possibility for the negative outcome is smaller?” And when you have the answer, go for it!

So the base line: Go for it.


If you liked it, preorder it for only 15€ now! After 26th of August 2019 it’ll be 30€!

Preorder here: QUEERWEBCOMIC.COM