View Full Version : Preparing a Collection of Existing Work

Stewart Vernon
05-29-2015, 09:52 PM
Say you have existing work, whether published in print or online, as individual things... and over time you decide to compile a collection (or a series of collections) of this. You might decide to add behind-the-scenes stuff like sketches and unused/unpublished art, or share stories of how your particular thing came to be...

But, say when you look back... and you see how you have evolved over time... and there are things you would do differently now than you did originally. I'm not talking changing the story or the outcome... but improvements to bits of the art or reformatting the dialog, perhaps even some minor coloring changes.

When you compile your collection... do you:

1. Use your originals as they exist and were originally published.


2. Improve the earlier work to match the appearance of later work.

This is something I've thought about as a "what if" exercise. If I one day decide to collect any of my Web comics. I'm by no means famous enough that anyone is going to accuse me of George Lucassing my work. ;) But it is a question I haven't decided the answer to...

The purist in me wants to just collect them as-is because that is how they originally were presented. The perfectionist in me finds it tough not to make those corrections.

For what it's worth... I have used some bits from older Web work to make flyers for self-promotion... and when I do that, I always make the corrections so that my flyers represent what I'm doing now, as that is what someone new to my blog will see... but promotional material is different than my actual creations.

So, long story short...

If you were collecting your older stuff for potentially a new audience... do you make improvements? or re-publish it as you originally created it?

05-30-2015, 04:16 AM
I'm not sure if I'm the best person to offer perspective on this subject. HOWEVER, I'm pretty guilty of doing this with everything I've ever written. I write it and years later I look back and do little tweaks here and there. I don't think it's a big deal. I know DC and Marvel like to correct some art or little dialogue tweaks post-print for the trades. It's different for every creator though. Some prefer to let the past stay in the past.

If there are stories that you feel really strongly about after that long break, I don't think it would hurt to revisit your old ideas and words. Maybe don't stop working on your new stuff though.

Anyway, I hope that was helpful.

Stewart Vernon
05-30-2015, 05:35 AM
Thanks... that was helpful.

I would most likely fix outright errors... like if I had misspelled something or used the wrong kind of "I" in my typing... or if something was behind something that it should have been in front of instead. Those kinds of things were unintended errors.

The stuff I wrestle with... I changed the coloring on a couple of my characters. It is subtle, but noticeable if you compare old and new side-by-side. I also switched the font I use for the dialog a while after I started. The new font looks better and is center-aligned instead of left-justified. So, these weren't errors... but things I improved along the way.

Also, I'm working digitally rather than pen-to-paper... so it is fairly easy to make these fixes/updates. Much more so than if I had paper originals to correct. IF I did correct anything, I would keep a copy of my original file unaltered for archival purposes so it wouldn't be lost.

The other aspect... if someone has been reading something of mine on my blog for a while and likes it... especially if they liked it enough to buy a collected edition... I wonder if they would want the version they originally read? A "fixed" version? Or a "deluxe" version that actually contained original and "fixed" in the same collection?

05-30-2015, 06:52 AM
I reckon you're over thinking it.

If you're under the gun to publish to a deadline, leave it as is until an opportunity presents itself.
If you've got all the time in the world, publish it as is and move on.

05-30-2015, 11:16 AM
Fix and change whatever you'd like. If you have typos you definitely should!

Think about it this way: the cleaned up version in the collected form might give your old readers a good excuse to revisit your work. New coloring/lettering could be used as a selling feature. Embrace it!

Stewart Vernon
05-30-2015, 03:50 PM
Thanks... if I was sure of anything, it was that I was probably overthinking it!

There's no rush to do anything in particular, but as I started thinking about the possibility, I began looking into what work I would need to do to get everything in order, and that's when the "do I fix stuff" question popped into my head.

05-31-2015, 08:36 PM
I've been intending to collect my early works into a single volume. Mostly for myself, but I ran into the same question. I decided to mostly leave the art alone, because that shows me how far I've come. But there were certain areas outside of that that I've made choices to improve.

The lettering: My first comics were hand lettered with ink pens, the next ones had computer lettering, but it was printed out and pasted down. Lettering has always been a sore spot. I don't want that to detract from this collection, but I also want it to still look the way it could have looked. My decision, re-letter with a Comicraft font that was actually available all the way back in 1994.

The coloring: My goal with the archive is to future-proof this stuff by making digital copies at the highest resolution I can manage. Unfortunately my early coloring was only done at the the minimum resolution for print rather than something that would allow enlargement. So I'll go back an recolor those, at higher resolution, but not change the character of the color.

Missing inking: Some of the comics were finished with out inking, because I ran out of time. I'll probably ink those where it makes a more seamless reading experience.

Then it gets weird. I had a comic where each part was done in a different class and I changed the design of spaceship in between part 1 and 2. Do I change it to match. Maybe?

So my approach is to fix things that could have been that way from the beginning if I'd had the time. I'm not fixing things just because I have more skill. The point of my archive is to show myself what my artist journey has been like.

I don't think there's any objective rule for updating older works. It's your art, you should do what you think is best. That's a question you can only answer for yourself.