How do you become a well-known webcomic artist? What is the quick trip to success?
Short answer: There is none. If you want to make a webcomic to become famous you’re in the wrong profession. The main way have a famous webcomic is to be doing it a really long time or get lucky. But beyond that, the best way to become popular is to be good, and there are a few tricks that the pros use:
Write to a Niche Audience; or really write to an audience you relate to. Penny Arcade, and Ctrl+Alt+Delete are some of the most popular video game comics out there. And Piled Higher and Deeper is a well-known comic about graduate students and the struggles they face. These webcomic artists write to a topic they know, and do it well. People in similar situations can relate to the experiences of the characters and therefore enjoy reading it.
Make your characters compelling; There are a billion video game comics out there, what makes comics like Ctrl+Alt+Delete stand out is the storylines of the characters woven in with video game commentary. Other stories create fantastical situations and then insert very human characters into it; such as PvP, and Questionable Content. Questionable Content in particular focuses on the conflicts and emotions people deal with through sad and complicated situations; focusing on topics such as alcoholism, suicide, depression, OCD, and a number of other things. We don’t always like the characters, but we can always empathize with them and what they’re going through.
Have something unusual: Even in the most true-to-life comics, there’s usually at least one character or aspect that is fantasy-like. Girls with Slingshots has Pedro, a talking cactus. Something Positive has Choo-Choo Bear, a seemingly liquid cat. And Dumbing of Age has Amazi-Girl, a student who acts as a superheroine but definitely shouldn’t physically be able to do what she does.