Drawing Comics and Graphic Novels-Exaggerate! Exaggerate! Exaggerate!

photo of artist
Photo of artist, Richard D. Burton, posing for watercolor painting: Pappy’s Break”

It is important to remember when making drawings for a graphic novel or story is that if it is natural and normal, it will appear dull and uninteresting. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate it, and it will seem normal.

Graphite study for watercolor painting: Pappy’s Break

Let your characters over react. Make them bigger than life. Have you ever gotten heated with a friend, or “not so much” a friend? What was your body language. How close were you? Have you ever been face to face with someone with a little temper flying? Were your faces almost touching? Were you nose to nose? Were your hands clinched? What was the expression on your faces? Imagine this and use it when drawing comics or graphic novels. Exaggerate! Exaggerate! Exaggerate!

Willie Mae knew her relatives were telling little white lies when they said all the animals were doing was playing. They weren’t playing…they were making life!

Also, keep this in mind: Remember, you are the director, so set the stage properly–the surroundings of your characters. Treat it like you’re making a movie. Let it flow, but let it flow with action! If your drawing has two people walking together, let them be talking with their hands, their body language, and the expression on their faces.

Sometimes, you have to do much planning and loose sketching before you can get the drawing that you want. I’m terrible at this. I sketch and sketch and sketch. I experiment by changing their sizes with the printer and place them next to each other to get the proper relationship with them. When I finally have it right, I trace over them and start the drawing. As far as I’m concerned, it often isn’t perfect, but it works.

Artist planning drawing

One thing I try to remember when trying to create my story with passionate prose is to relate to the characters as people. In the words of the greatest of all, Stan Lee: “If you can’t relate to the characters as people, you don’t have anyone to empathize with, to cheer for, or to sneer and jeer at.”

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