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How To Post Comics On The Web

Jul 22, 2011
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How To Post Comics On The Web

I see a lot of cartoonists on the web bemoaning not getting credit for their work on Tumblr, and for good reason—Tumblr users are quite possibly the laziest bastards on the internet when it comes to properly crediting images. (Kudos to Tumblr for their efforts to address the problem.)

That said, here’s three simple things cartoonists who are worried about attribution can do that will help a little bit in making sure their comics are credited and look good wherever they find themselves on the internet:

  1. Embed your web address somewhere on the comic
  2. Optimize your images for the screen (and consider breaking long comics into chunks)
  3. Fix your title tags so they include the comic title and your name

Let’s take John Martz as an example of how to do it right:

Because of his good title tag structure, when you click the Tumblr bookmarklet on John’s site, his comic title and name are already filled out in the caption field:

Here’s how it looks on the screen with a generic, standard Tumblr template:

Even if somebody lifts the image off my Tumblr, as long as they don’t open the image in Photoshop and crop it, John’s machinegum.com address will be embedded right there in the image for people who want to find him.

Now to pick on one of my absolute favorite cartoonists, Kate Beaton, as an example of how not to do it. (I’m picking on her because she’s a superstar and has a bazillion fans and has an awesome book coming out and is doing just fine and doesn’t need any help, but is also one of the most widely uncredited and misattributed cartoonists around.)

When you use the Tumblr bookmarklet, you don’t automatically get Kate’s name or the subject of the comic in the caption, only “Hark A Vagrant” and the comic number:

When the comic gets posted to my Tumblr, it’s pretty squished because it’s such a long image (some of Kate’s comics are way longer than this one):

But worst of all, let’s say someone grabs this image off my Tumblr and posts it to Facebook — there’s no name or web address to signal where the image came from.

Ultimately, of course, it’s up to all of us who are sharing artist work to stop being lazy and track down a creator name and a link for every image we re-post on our blogs. If you can’t find the source of an image you’ve found online, try a reverse image search through Tineye.com or Google Images. And you should also always consult the "Should I post this image?" flowchart.

More on attribution →

Need to vent? You can holler at me on Twitter →

UPDATE: wanted to include Kate’s response, below:

180 notes

  1. nhmortgagebroker reblogged this from austinkleon
  2. craghead reblogged this from austinkleon
  3. meanderingwhales reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    A good guide to posting almost *anything* on the web.
  4. codeit reblogged this from burningfp
  5. burningfp reblogged this from austinkleon
  6. austinkleon posted this
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