Carlo Vergara shares an interesting point of view in lieu of the recent discussions on the komiks industry in his blog here. It’s a point of view that I really haven’t considered that seriously before, hell bent as I am on being an artist first and foremost, and to heck with other considerations.
But coming from an advertising background, Carlo’s views on marketability is something I’m starting to think more about. It’s a fine line between telling your story as honestly as you can and compromising your story for the sake of attracting readers. I’ve always been of the belief that if you trust your instincts as an artist strongly enough, and write and draw a story as best as you can, it will eventually find an audience. But is that enough? Clearly this is something I’m still figuring out and how I can best apply it to my own work.
Jonas Diego continues his unrelenting quest to make webcomics a viable and profitable alternative to print comics in the Philippines. With the komiks industry struggling to revive itself, people used to the conventional way of doing things have a difficult time wrapping their heads around doing comics, seemingly for free, online.
It requires a different way of looking at things, not only from a creative point of view, but from a financial point of view. As I understand it, one of the ways to make money online is through the integration of ads into your site. The provider of the ads gives you money the amount of which depends on how much traffic the ads get. You don’t get paid for the work you do directly, which is the case in print. You get paid when someone who visits your site clicks on the ads and he buys something. It’s like a commission.
I tried it myself. As you can see, I now have ads on this blog, and on another review blog of mine elsewhere. And I’m proud to say that as of today, I’ve so far made US$ 2.47 through the Amazon Associates program, and US$ 0.40 from Google Ads in the last several months! Pretty pathetic, but I’m convinced that I’m just going about it the wrong way. It has been revealed recently that a Filipino blogger makes 5 figures, in US dollars a month, just by blogging. Which is quite mind boggling when you think about it. Certainly it depends on what you are blogging about, so I’m not completely sure Philippine komiks has the potential for that kind of Internet audience that could generate that much income. But Jonas seems to have make it a goal, a crusade even, to prove that it can be done. I’m optimistic that it can, and I give him props for having the balls to try.
Of course, I’m in this online comic thing myself, with Rudy Florese’s ORAS MO NA! being serialized 4 pages a week. It’s in Tagalog, so I’m sure that affects accessibiltiy, but it’s a project that I’ve committed myself to follow through to the end. Tomorrow! Part 4 of Oras Mo Na!
With Leinil, this is just another tool that allows him to explore his own talent and creativity within the boundaries and time constraints of creating comics on a monthly basis. I have no doubt that given time, he has enough skill and ability to do this on his own. The tool simply allows him to do it faster and more efficiently.
My concern comes from the use of this tool by budding artists who utilize this tool not to help them express their talent, but to let the tools do the actual work for them. This is a fine line that in the application of technology into our daily lives. Is technology simply a tool, or is the tool doing the actual work for you? It’s easy enough to determine, as far as artwork is concerned.
In any given artwork, if you can create the same thing given enough time without the use of computers, using only conventional tools, then yes, for you the computer is only a tool. But if you cannot create your artwork without the help of the computer, even if you are given enough time to do it, then it’s not YOU who is doing the work. You are not using technology as a tool. You are using it as a crutch, and you are ruining your chances of becoming a good artist before you even start.