Pictures vs. Words

It is often assumed that drawing a picture is much easier than writing — that it takes less effort and care to draw a panel of a comic versus constructing a paragraph that has a purpose. Comics are essentially thicker picture books and aren't often allowed to use in literature. This shouldn't be a surprised since both mediums seek to send a message but in their own respective ways.

Considering I watch anime, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I read manga as well. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, manga is essentially a Japanese comic book read from right to left, most often drawn in black and white. There are also webtoons which are comics often drawn to be read vertically and almost like a movie or cinematic feeling attached to it. Webtoons tend to be fully colored and the most I’ve read were originally in Korean.

Now these books take a lot of effort to make! As a writer, creating an entire book is already an exhausting and strenuous experience! (As we’ve heard from both Orwell and Sugar) Perhaps mangakas or artists in general don’t need to worry about their diction or their narration. I mean, it’s quite literally a book filled with inner and outer dialogue and some pictures in place of descriptions, right?

But similar to making those descriptions and making sure that they hit just the right sounds — pictures in these comics are carefully done to emphasize a similar, if not same emotion as what’s trying to be portrayed. In writing, if your description falls short then the mood is ruined. In comics, if the expression you’ve drawn and the effects you’ve included are misleading or generally out of place, then the mood is ruined.

The mood is very important because although you can directly empathize with a character through the dialogue and what’s currently happening, you should be able to tell the mood of each scene without looking at the words. That’s why whenever I see a raw scan (meaning if hasn’t been translated yet), I can easily tell which part of the story is the climactic part and which are the comedic parts and so forth.

The artist uses effects like screen tones on mangas and facial expressions and body language to illustrate the mood and how the character is feeling. There’s a reason why mangas that fall stiff in both sections are not celebrated or praised for their art. People are more impressed when you emphasize the wrinkle lines when a character gets angry instead of just changing the angle of their eyebrows and calling it a day.

I don't really do comics but when I do, it's usually for comedic purposes and tends to be a quick sketch. But even with the quick sketch, I find it so tiresome for some reason. I can draw an entire art dump filled with 50 doodles but I can't draw a three panel comic. It's ridiculous. I don't know what about it makes it so difficult or tedious for me. I considered maybe it was the fact I was drawing the same scene twice in a row? But I don't see why that would tire me out — if anything I would think that it might be easier for me.

I think it might be because my drawings are still stiff, but with really short, brief comics I didn’t think it would matter. (Especially since most of them do not depend on anatomically correct figure. They’re literally just like thicker, 3D stickmen) Well, I’ll try drawing short comics more in the future — hopefully whatever is hindering me from drawing as many comics as I wish can stop bothering me.

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