Widdershins: Piece of Cake. Victorian-era adventure stories, set in a magical version of Yorkshire, England. Cakes, time travel, and wizards await! By Kate Ashwin. Running til Wednesday 27th August.
Kate Ashwin writes,
Webcomics are pretty important to me. I mean, I’ve always loved comics, of course, but there’s something very different about webcomics, and that’s accessibility.
I think I was fifteen or so when I realised that people were putting comics on the internet- just putting them out there! For free! For anyone to read! For someone who was still saving their pocket money for the next Ranma ½ volume, it was pretty much magic to find free comics, and wow, did I tear through as many as I could find. It took me even longer to realise that literally anyone could do one of these if they felt like it, just make a thing and put it online and perhaps entertain someone else who’s waiting on their next pocket money, too. Maybe even I could try it!
So I scribbled a few pages, just for fun. I didn’t consider myself a “comic artist”, as such.
A decade or so and four books later, I have to concede that perhaps, yes, I may actually be a comic artist.
The fact that it’s possible to just fall into the role like that is incredible, and it’s due to the brilliant resources we’ve got on the internet right now. I mean, never before could you host your comic for free, or build a site with free resources like WordPress and various comic plugins like Webcomic or Comicpress. You can pick up free fonts from Blambot.com, and even relatively cheap image editing software like Manga Studio for less than £50. All the advice and tutorials you could possibly need are a Google search away, and even vast communities of other comic artists to support and encourage you.
And then, when things get serious, there’s crowdfunding. Sweet, wonderful crowdfunding. What a gift it’s been! I’m currently lucky enough to be receiving what amounts to an actual monthly wage via Patreon, a site where people can sponsor their favourite artists for a couple of dollars or even cents every month. A dollar or two from each reader can really add up, and as a freelancer, it’s a serious relief to know that the gas bill is going to be paid.
I’m sure most people have heard of Kickstarter by now, but it’s hard to put into words how useful it is to the modern small press comic artist. I don’t know if I’d have dared bring my current project Widdershins: Piece of Cake, to a publisher, as the concept of an accidentally time-traveling baker blasted into the Victorian-era by a haunted, hungry hotel can be a hard one to pitch, but with Kickstarter as a resource, it met its goal in fourteen hours! So soon, the webcomic will be printed up into a fine volume to sit alongside the other Widdershins adventures that I’d previously printed, and with the total still rising I can have fun with stretch goals, too!
What I’m saying, really, is that now is the perfect time for readers and creators- enjoy the work on offer, support your favourite artists, and even make something yourself. It’s a pretty amazing time to be a fan of comics. Take advantage of it!
Read Widdershins online for free, updated three times a week, at widdershinscomic.com.
Twitter – @katedrawscomics
Back it on Kickstarter- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1403226937/widdershins-piece-of-cake