Avoid Subtle Action Sand Traps – TIP

A great artist can capture just about anything in comic art… but some subtle actions are a definite challenge.

These subtle actions can give a good artist a run for their money and are likely to cause a lesser artist to fumble the ball, either delivering a bad visual or abandoning the direction and substituting something completely different.

Whenever you’re adding some kind of subtle motion to a panel description, think twice about how the artist is actually going to capture it. (Don’t tell him how in the description, just think it through yourself.) If you’re having trouble seeing a single panel visual for the action, try something else.

Here’s a couple examples.

  • A quivering lip.
  • Closed mouth grinding teeth.
  • Tensing (not flexing) a muscle (especially one underneath clothes).
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Gently squeezing something.

Again all these can be done, but they are visuals with a high degree of error for an artist not on his A game.

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.