WOW this weeks been amazing. I was expecting this day to come for the last 6 months but I have to say today has been pretty emotional . So i thought I’d write a little (well not exactly little) blog entry to cover my journey of the years in brief.

I never really took Beast Legion seriously until late 2009 after i was inspired by several webcomics including the likes of The Meek & Phoenix Reqieum, which were huge at the time & I still love them to date. It’s at the time that I decided that in order to get my stories across to people the web was the best option. Not only that but I was determined to take the manga styled approach not only because I absolutely love the medium, but it would be the first manga styled venture ever to take place in India. So I started to work on it completely solo aside from my regular freelance work. One thing I learnt was it’s never a good idea thinking about doing some thing & waiting, JUST DO IT! (No pun intended to Nike)

I have no regrets that I started doing this comic. Sure the first year was a bit harsh having to spend on the promotion, website hosting etc but it all turned around so quickly with the creation of the new site look thanks to Dylan Cook, who was so amazing & gracious enough to create the site once again from scratch after it went down for 2 months & to one Brandy Dixon who has shown her support from the get go for hosting, until last December when I joined the Rampage Network who have been Awesome.. It’s thanks to the comic that my art has been noticed & appreciated. not only here in India but across the world. Not bragging, but very few sites that originate from India get over 4000 in views a day within the first 4 months & I was very happy that happened. It motivated me even more & I decided to update twice a week. I will always thank my followers on Deviantart who helped me initially create an Awareness for the comic.

It’s because of this comic that I got involved into the world of social networking just 3 years back & before I knew it I had so many awesome friends, met so many great peers & some amazing gurus who have been following me to date on Facebook. Not only that I started the Beast Legion Facebook page exactly one year before & it has now reached 3000+ fans. Apart from that I have developed an interest to read so many other great webcomics that surpass mine in both art and story & I will get to them a little further down.

But before that I decided to set up a few tips for aspiring webcomic artists. They are not the norm & may depend from person to person but I entered this field without much research. That was in a way both a good & bad thing. Good part is a learnt from the experience thanks initial mistakes. Bad part is it may have taken a bit longer than I expected. So here’s a little Dos & Don’t list:

1) Make sure you refine the art of the first issue before publishing it. IT will have the most impact as readers would obvious;ly love to read from the start.
2) Make sure you plan out the story properly so that it can seamlessly transferred onto panels. I’ve seen alot of comics that have the panels completely messed up & despite the great art the story pacing sometimes looks really fast.
3) Be sure you have every character planned out. Character formation & interaction, for me is very critical aspect of webcomics.
4) Let there be humor in bits and pieces. Here’s where I fumbled a bit with the first issues. Despite the Glitch/Gorgo stuff.
5) GET a Project Wonderful Account & a Project Wonderful ad banner placed at the time the site starts. Despite monetizing not being your primary motive, you will need funds to advertise your site. Try not to keep to keep changing the placement of your ads as it can really distract the reader.
5) Despite having an archive page, make sure you have an archive drop down box below the comic page display.
6) Advertise intensely after you’ve reached a good page count. Keep a decent budget ready to advertise even if if it’s $1 a day on popular sites. It’s a mistake I made & probably regret the most. Most readers get intimidated by huge archives hence it is best to get them involved early on. by that I mean when the comic reaches 15-20 pages. People will only come to your site if you bring it to their attention.
7) Use Social Media. I’m glad I started an Facebook page. now Beast Legion gets almost 20% of it’s traffic from Facebook. I have yet to harness the power of twitter so I can’t really comment on that.
8) Conventions. Be sure not to miss out on these as you get to meet so many great people who are more than happy to share your passion & determination. I have only been part of 2 conventions so far & there have been a plethora of opportinities that have opened up especially after winning the Comic Con India Awards this past Feb which was probably the best moments of my life.
9) Reader Engagement: Heres where you create a relationship with people who actively cjeck out your comic & leave their Awesome feeback. I know BL is still struggling a bit in this department but I’m glad we have some regulars like Darwin(creator of Gemutations) as well an Mat( creator of Evan Yeti) who have always been active with their support an feedback & do some Awesome stuff themselves.
10) Web Comic Lists: This is a must. Make sure to list your webcomics on as many webcomic listing sites as you can. They will bring on the most prospective readers to your site. Sites like The Webcomic List & Belfry Webcomic Index simple list your comics where as sites like Topwebcomics & allows users to vote for your comic & it is ranked based on the votes it gets. Inkout breat & Just the First frame are again two creat reasources for readers to read your comics as they update. There are several other but I leave it to you to do that research.

1) Do not advertise your comic as soon as it begins. It the simplest logic & webcomics rule 101.
2) Never start off your comic until you have a long term story planned. If it’s gag a day strip that’s fine.
3) Do not expect to earn alot money in a little time. Infact you will have to spend more than you get initially. The only exception to this rule is Homestuck. I may not be fan of the story or art but I respect the Amazing fan base this comic has & & the way the comic is handled. That being said, Webcomics are all about passion not about instant money.
4) Do not expect readership to grown instantly & then get discouraged.

That’s about all I can recall for now. I just decided to create this blog entry a few minutes back. However I always believe that sharing your knowledge & what you love will always earn you more respect than keeping to to yourself. So heres the part where I share my current webcomics top 10 list. I read over 30, but I thought I’d share the once that have the most respect, so please don’t hate me for not listing the others. The first five are in a very tight race.

1) Spindrift: Mesmerizing art, brilliantly laid out story, Amazing character designs. This one has it all
2) Tales of Aeria: This comic started almost along with Beast Legion & I think even they completed two year earlier. It’s one of the best Artist write collaborations I’ve ever read. Sadly it only updates once a week
3) Mystery Babylon: Probably one of the most stylized , fun & entertaining comic I’ve ever read. It has everything from characters that people can relate to, crazy action scenes, evil valkyries you name it.
4) Carciphona : It is truley one of the most amazing illustrated manga series. I have always been a big fan of the artist but she outdoes herself with this comic.
5) The Meek: It’s always been my favorite webcomic of all time, but it’s on no.5 atm as the updates are very scarce & it’s understandable cause the author Der Shing is living out her dream of becoming an Animator.
6) Evan Yeti: An all out fun adventure of a Yeti who ses out on his quest to rescue his parents & ends up in the most weirdest of situations.
7) EverBlue: The comic is fantastic masterpiece of emotions, trials & struggles of a girl named Luna & her adventure to discover the Everblu world.
8) B.I.B.L.E ( yup Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth): Had to type out that. The comic has some of the most Amazing & wacky character designs & quirky dialogues while still maintaining a strong story plot
9) 2-Masters : This comic has a perfect manga feel & story pace. A must read for fans of the fantasy genre.
10) REMIND: Another Epic piece of perfect storytelling through brilliant art.

So check these out to get an idea of what the world of Amazing webcomics has to offer before entering.

I want to end this entry with a big thank you yo all of you who drop by week after week to check this comic out . I already know a few of the regulars now but it would be great to know more of my readers personally so if you gt chance do leave your feedback through comments or our newly installed shoutbox. I promise to keep improving on the art ( infact I plan on opening my newest WACOM Intuos 5 in a day or two) & provide the best story telling experience I can offer at the moment. But as an independent comic artist, I have to rely on you the readers to help me spread the word.

Thanks for taking the time to read this & my heartfelt thanks for your support. And expect a little more news to follow in the coming days. :)

Jazyl H.