Posts By: Michael Yakutis

Underdog Self Promo Sunday Recap – September

In this month’s Self Promo Sunday Recap for September we asked the following questions over in the Underdog Facebook Group and got some great answers. Check out the responses!

And if you want to participate in the monthly event, just join the Facebook group and keep your eyes and ears open during the first weekend of every month, which is when we hold Self Promo Sundays. (more…)

If You Don’t Stand Up For Your Work, Who Will?

It’s understandable why self-deprecation is so common among amateur creators. People are afraid of being seen a certain way — full of themselves, oblivious to their own faults, practically inviting the harshest of criticisms. Making fun of your own work, belittling it, downplaying the bits you are actually proud of…this often gets used as a self-defense measure. (more…)

Underdog Self Promo Sunday Recap – August

Keeping with our new feature in the Underdog Facebook Group, we held another Self Promo Sunday last weekend allowing folks to share their url with the community. Yet again, it was a huge success! The idea behind this is to give everyone the chance to plug their link in an fun yet organized manner. On the first Sunday of each month a special thread is opened up in the Facebook group where people can post their link, but in order to do so they have to answer 3 questions. The thread is then taken down after 24 hours so it doesn’t keep getting bumped up in the group. We then copy the content into a blog post so nothing is lost.

If you would like to participate in next month’s Self Promo Sunday, simply join the Underdog Facebook group! (more…)

Webcomic Success Through Advertising

Carbon Dating has been online for almost a year. It is featured in two national magazines and in the past few months it’s readership jumped from 8k to 25k unique visitors per month. This big jump in readership was not the result of links or interviews, it was the result of a targeted campaign that cost about $200 dollars in total.

I see this all the time, there is some stigma or pride in the webcomic community:

“If you make great art, people will notice.”

“Draw hard for two years, then you’ll start to gain an audience.”

“Word of mouth is how comics get popular.”

like its title. There are several things to consider when choosing a title for a webcomic.


I’ll Have A Grain of Salt With Those Comments, Please

There are three types of comments you will receive when you start your webcomic (well, four if you count no response at all.): The short affirmation, the critique or constructive criticism, and the nasty remark.

The short affirmation is what you will get most of the time. It is when you ask your friends or family what they think of your comics and is usually only a few words that basically mean, “I like your work and you should keep doing it if it makes you happy.” The short affirmation can also come from fans that read your comics and want to tell you how much they like it. These comments are the most wonderful thing you can receive as a comic artist, especially if you receive one every other day. Cherish them. Whatever you do, no matter how busy you are, you should try to respond to every single one of these even if it is just to say “Thank you.”

Tweet: Whatever you do, no matter how busy you are, you should try to respond to every single one of these even if it is just to say “Thank you.”

Artist Comments: Supplement or Essential?

I have always mistrusted the common practice in webcomics where artists include their commentary directly beneath new pages. Often reading this extra material is comparable to watching a movie or television show with the commentary track turned on… and who elects for their first viewing to include commentary? It does a (sometimes minor, sometimes major) disservice to the work when you don’t allow it to speak for itself, and I’ve seen far too many comics lean on those blocks of text to actually convey what’s going on more than the page above does. This is a dangerous trap to fall into. When a comic simply doesn’t make any sense if I ignore the commentary I usually stop reading altogether. “It’s part of the presentation,” some say. So are indexes in books, and like all supplementary materials they should never be required reading to understand what the supplemented work is saying.

[Tweet “When a comic simply doesn’t make any sense if I ignore the commentary I usually stop reading altogether”]


I’ve Been Framed! – Framing Comic Panels

Panels are a vital part of a comic page. Without panels, virtually every page of a comic would be a splash page, and comics would essentially be storybooks. Many creators tend to frame each panel inside a border, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Let’s take a look at a page that has 5 panels, each with a border.



It’s Called Freelancing – Part 3

Missed the first installment of this article series? Read it here.

So what exactly are fair rates? This is the million dollar question. It’s very difficult to get a straight answer, and everyone will give you a different one. Here are page rates as determined by the Graphic Artists Guild from a few years back:

  • Writers (plot and script) $75-120
  • Painted art $150- 350
  • Layouts/Breakdowns $35-100
  • Penciled Art $55-200
  • Background art $10-25
  • Ink Art $45-150
  • Lettering $18-35
  • Lettering on overlay $20-35
  • Coloring art $75-150

Those are some pretty wide ranges, but it gives you an idea. Depending on your abilities, some employers may offer more, some may offer less. If you’re new to professional illustrating, these rates may be a little bit lower for the first few years as you gain experience. After looking at these, I feel that my rates are are actually rather low in a lot of cases, but they do fluctuate a lot. I take different variables into account before submitting a quote: the time frame involved, the complexity of the art, what style of coloring is needed (digital vs watercolor), who keeps the original art, what my other commitments are at the time of production, and anything else that may be a factor. Don’t forget that communication can eat up a lot of time, too. Sending emails, making phone calls, creating invoices – these things will eat up your time faster than you can imagine! Sometimes my rates are higher, sometimes they are lower. But I always quote what is fair to me based on the needs of the project. And see, writers should be getting paid a fair wage, too. But that’s a story for another time…


It’s Called Freelancing – Part 1

[Tweet “What do you charge for your freelance illustration work? The answer – probably not enough! “]

What do you charge for your freelance illustration work? The answer – probably not enough! There seems to be a growing trend in the indie comics community in which freelancers are not getting paid fair rates for their work. It sickens me when I peruse Deviant Art and see countless artists offering their talents for a measly $5 per page. It’s infuriating when I look through job offers on Digital Webbing that offer a whopping $20 per page, yet come with a list of complicated demands. It drives me to the brink of insanity when I spend all day on Craigslist only to uncover ad after ad ending with “I can’t afford to pay you at this time, but you can add the work to your portfolio and we can split the profits (if there are any – which there almost never is).”


DIY Comics: Cutting Out The Middle Man

[Tweet “…comics are about story, art, and innovation.”]

When I committed to creating a comic, I knew that publishing with one of the big companies anytime soon was not a reality. I was introduced to web comics as a serious avenue at Comic Con New Orleans 2010. I’ve since created two web comics. Comics have been in my life as long as I can remember. For me, comics are about story, art, and innovation. I rarely bought for the sake of collecting. Coming to terms with that, I had no problem with the web comic medium.