How do you get better at making comics? Well, hard work and pratice, obviously. But getting feedback can be crucial to understanding how your work impacts other people. And that’s what it is all about!
Getting the right readers is not easy. You reach out to the person closest to you, you end up getting criticism from you Mom or your girlfriend. Not always a great idea! You need someone you can trust to give their honest opinion. And someone who will not completely destroy your ambitions and self confidence in the process.
Set some ground rules before you have someone read your script or look at sketches. Be specific in what kind of feedback you are looking for. Have them ask questions like “What are you trying to achieve in this panel?” rather than tell you what they like and don’t like. You want their opinion, sure, but you must have some sort of idea what it is YOU want to do. It’s YOUR story, not theirs!
When you ask someone to look at your work and give feedback, be aware that you are asking them to spend their time trying to help you. So the most important thing during their feedback is to listen. You don’t have to agree with everything, but have the courtesy to take notes and ask questions, resisting the urge to defend or explain.
Lastly, you need to understand that whatever feedback you get, is not an assault on you. You are not your story. Don’t take it personally. And getting feedback from the people closest to you, is a surefire way of making it personal. Ask a stranger on the bus before asking your Mom! Ask several different people for feedback, knowing you will get several different answers! People are not confirmation machines. They will tell you stuff you don’t like, some of it helpful, some of it not.
Listen, take notes, think about what they said. And then get back to work.
And remember: you’re the boss.
Related video: Episode 2: How to write your own comic