Monday, July 8, 2013

Action Part 4 - Visual Vocabulary of Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Okay, let's change gears a little bit. I've discussed action as you normally perceived it, which is movement of figures. I've also discussed it as active lines, which you may not have thought of before.

Before I move on I want you to understand as a cartoonist you are responsible for everything on the page. There is no line that you put down that should not be there for reason. Everything has to be justified as helping to tell the story.

Characters have emotions that are expressed not only by their faces, but by their body language. You make your character more believable if the body language matches the emotion they are having at that point in the story. You have to put some thought into the body language of the characters generated in the various story circumstances and situations. You must understand your characters and interpret/express their motivations and reactions in your drawings.

So ask yourself some questions to figure out what is important to give the reader information about your character.

The emotions - anger, fear jealousy, envy, happiness, etc. -  are the driving forces behind the action, which reveals itself in the mood, personality and attitude of the character. The two questions to ask are "What is it?" and "Why is it?" The answers reveal how the character will perform.

The answers bring us to our next question "How will I draw the character to tell this story?" or another way to think of it, "How do I visualize the physical expression of the emotions?" You also have to consider the shape, size, gender, weight, intelligence and age of your character. A short, petite  female will express anger much differently than a big dumb brute of a male.

Action thought of from a storytelling perspective is now not just movement, it is the manifestation of body's emotional expression. It reveals personality. Be sure you know the trigger that compels the action! A character's inward feelings will determine their outward action also. An amused character may smile, laugh, giggle, snort or buckle over uncontrollably.

Remember to think about what you are drawing. So go out and Just Create!

copyright 2013 H. Simpson

to be continued...

read next - Action Part 5 - Visual Vocabulary of Graphic Novels and Comic Books
previous - Action Part 3 - Visual Vocabulary of Graphic Novels and Comic Books

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If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

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copyright 2013 H. Simpson

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