Mac McCool - Children's Book Illustrations and Graphic Novels

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Tip: Writing The Soundtrack of a Comics

Every time a comics becomes an animated show, some long-time readers upon seeing it for the first time will say, "Huh?... That's not the voice I had in mind for [insert character name]." It's one of the magical dimensions of comic art! Graphic novels do have soundtracks, only they play in our mind's ear. The writer and the artist work together in making the otherwise silent book object turn into a decibel-filled experience. For the writer, this magic resides in crafting natural-sounding dialogues with unique voices distinguished by speech patterns, hints of accents, and authentic jargon. Listen to people speaking, pick up rhythms, inflections, and selectively hand them to your characters. Next, the writer provides the first draft (or first spelling) of sound effects (onomatopoeias) for those sounds that should break past a scene's normal auditory landscape. You can use conventional spellings (WHAM! POW! ZAP!) for typical sounds, but you're creative, right? So why not add your own sound effects to the sequential art soundbank?

Next tip: how does the artist transform marks on the page into sounds in our heads?


Blogger sruble said...

Good reminder on voice Mac! I'm hoping that writers that are switching over from prose novels will bring their voice strengths with them when they start writing graphic novels - it will make them more fun to read.

BTW, I like all the sketches you've been posting recently! There's lots of character in those faces.

10/23/07, 8:42 AM  
Blogger Mac McCool said...

Thanks for the kind words, Stephanie! Regarding my sketches, I've always loved drawing faces. Everybody is so different -- it's fascinating!

10/23/07, 1:37 PM  
Blogger annamlewis said...

Great info to remember while writing.

Love the WHAM! POW! and ZAP! --- Especially the !!!s

10/23/07, 5:53 PM  

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