Ara Carrasco is a talented artist and writer, whose graphic novel, a collection of short stories, will be released in a few months.
In this series, Ara shares with us the process of writing and creating art.
If you’re a writer or artist, hopefully you’ll be inspired by her words.
Creating Graphic Novels
Drawing a story for a comic book requires a certain vision of what is going to happen next, and why.
You have to keep what you just draw and what you’re going to draw next in your mind, as well as how the two panels are going to fit with each other.
Every drawing has to be not only correct and easy to read. It needs to maintain narrative continuity.
That’s why it’s essential to do thumbnails first.
In those first thumbnails I always try to strike a balance between close-up, detailed frames and the more general ones.
It’s more attractive to the eye and makes the page a lot more interesting. I also go to great pains in order not to break what I’ve established.
For example, in my last story the protagonist walks towards a fixed object in almost every panel.
She always goes from left to right, so the reader doesn’t get confused about where she stands and where she is moving to.
Those are some of the basics and they apply to many other media, especially cinema and animation.
What makes a graphic novel different? The answer is the other two key elements: text and framing/distribution, and how they interact with the story.
If, for instance, I want to communicate a lack of freedom, I try using very rigid and regular panels, in a symmetrical grid.
If I need to give a sense of something breaking free of that oppression, then I wouldn’t use any framing at all, or as little as possible.
This is only an example of what you can do with framing.
As for text, I must say I’m rather minimalistic. Since in my stories it usually represents the inner thoughts of the main and only character, I favour very neutral and unobtrusive lettering.
As for colour, I don’t use it in my graphic novel, but I do use textures. The idea is to give a rather grunge feeling to the illustrations, as if they were only sketches or even collages.
Again, I prefer a minimalistic approach. The text and the situations are sometimes rather abstract and I want to keep it this way, because I believe it’s what fits best with the tone of the whole graphic novel.
This is one of the reasons why I think comic books are such a great expressive medium – there is no end to how many things you can say, just playing with a few simple elements!
Check out Ara’s previous article in the series!