Hi guys! It has been some time since I blogged because I was busying growing my new comic ITGuyARTgirl, if you haven't already know. :) For the past 2 years, I have been drawing moments between my boyfriend and I in our animal form (I'm a horse and he's a polar bear). It was just for our entertainment and I kept them in sketchbooks. We were engaged earlier this year and I thought it's a good time to start a relationship comic after my break from completing RSJ. The comic is only one month old and you can also read it on all of my social media platforms!
This post is not going to be about illustration career tips, but rather the things I learned after starting ITguyARTgirl.
When I was drawing RSJ, Webtoon was the only place where I post. (Because it's a featured comic and I was not allowed to post elsewhere.) I have little knowledge of how webcomics go about on other websites. Then when I started ITguyARTgirl, I have the freedom to post everywhere. After reading tips about reaching a bigger audience by posting on websites such as Imgur and Reddit, I excitedly shared my comics. The result was way beyond my expectations, and here are a few things I learned:
Webtoon is a very friendly community (albeit with limited audience)
Not until I share my comics on different platforms did I know that their cultures can be so different. Webtoon is probably the friendliest community I know, everyone is so nice and cheerful. The only issue with this platform is that it's challenging for new comics to breakthrough. From my experience, Webtoon tends to favor comics that already have a massive following, and selectively promotes featured comics. Only the most popular comics on Discovery have a chance to become featured, and not every featured comic gets promotion on the front page. RSJ was never promoted. But thanks to RSJ and its lovely readers, some of them came to support my new comic and it's so good to see you guys again!
The internet can be a dark place
ITguyARTgirl generally received positive responses, however sometimes things can get a bit complicated , especially on Imgur and Reddit. These two communities have a huge reader base and some users tend to be more critical and unforgiving when giving feedback. I received all sorts of criticisms and personal attacks: terrible storytelling, copied from MGNB, laziest form of comic, not caring about homosexual couples, starving artist who relies on boyfriend's income, bragging about my muscular calves... etc. These can get really creative. Such criticisms can easily bring down anyone who want to share their hard work online.
Relationship comics - love them or hate them
Another fun thing I found out after starting a relationship comic is that, the response to this kind of comic is usually in two extremes. People either really love it or really hate it. People who are in a relationship or carry a positive attitude, they love relationship comics because
they are relatable and make them feel happy. On the other hand, people who are single with a passive/negative attitude tend to despise relationship comics, because they are not relatable and therefore does not appeal to their taste.
Dealing with haters is hard. Especially when you never really had any before. While I rejoiced over the unexpected popularity of ITguyARTgirl, I also cringed at the hundreds of negative comments. Although my friends and family told me to ignore them, it's easier said than done when you/your work are assaulted and your self worth is often linked to your art.
So I searched the internet for help and found tips on how to deal with haters.
Here's what I learned:
Focus on your fans
I'm the type of person who wants to make everyone happy (I bet you know this from reading RSJ). However, the world is full of different people with different values and tastes. For example, my friend loves horror movies, but I'm just horrified by them. It doesn't make us right or wrong. So instead of trying to appeal to those who doesn't like your work, focus on making good stuff for the people who already love it.
Don't feed the trolls
There are so many people in the world and sadly, some of them are trolls and they only love putting others down. Attacks on your work and person feel really bad, but don't get carried away and fight back with emotion, because that's what the trolls want - it feeds their hunger for drama seeing you being provoked. Instead, ignore them or respond with kindness (reminds me of Master Elephunk), and state whatever fact that they were wrong about. For example, someone on Imgur said my boyfriend is the bread winner and I am the burden. So I responded nicely informing that I earn as much as my boyfriend. The trolls will eventually goes quiet if you stop paying attention to them.
Learn to be humble
A lot of criticism seem to be pointless trolling, but some might actually help to reflect and improve the comic. After getting past the initial state of fear and anger, try to take a step back and think what the nay-sayers actually mean behind their words. Maybe the art could be better. Maybe the story could be funnier. Use criticism to improve your work.
Try to sympathize
I believe there is a reason behind every action, and a story behind every person. Haters say hateful words, maybe it's because they are having difficulties in life. Maybe they don't have a life or lover, so they envy and hate on people who have a happy life or happy lover. Maybe the environment they grew up in shaped their negative personality. Try to sympathize and forgive them.
Lastly, celebrate haters!
The best thing I read about dealing with haters is that, having haters is a sign that you are successful. Because if you have no accomplishments, no one would hate on you. The more successful and popular a person is, the more hate they will get. It's natural for people to feel jealous of other's success because it reminds them of their own failures. It's the least thing I expected: success brings haters. So why not celebrate both?
That's all of my venting and learning - I just want to thank everyone who read my comics, I will keep making them, improving them, and learning from Master Elephunk.... all is well.
Hello! I'm Bonnie Pang and I'm an award-winning illustrator and comic artist.