Comics Prompt: Animal Sounds

See a demo of a comics prompt: create a comic showing animal sounds and movements. Useful comics techniques such as point of view, the “foot rule,” panels, speech bubbles, spreads, and pages in order to communicate a narrative.

Drawing demo by Teaching Artists Cat Huang and Alex Rowe.

Video Walkthrough

  • Prompt: What will get an animal to make a sound?
  • Example: a person steps on a cat’s tail, so the cat yowls.
  • You can create a comic of any length, any number of panels.
  • You can use keyboard symbols for this prompt: numbers, letters, punctuation.
  • Alex’s character is a bison minotaur cowboy, using bison reference photos from our Flickr page.
  • Alex’s cowboy reference photos
  • Cat is using peacock reference photos from our Flickr page.
  • Consider pacing, the number of panels.
  • Creating a comic is an ongoing editing process.
  • What is the difference between comics and graphic novels?
  • Digital is convenient for comics because you can copy/paste.
  • How do you verbally write the sound of the animal?
  • Think about the difference between “Purrrrr,” and “Prrrrr,” and “Rrrr.”
  • The spelling of the onomatopoeia impacts your comic a lot.
  • Know that onomatopoeia varies a lot between languages.
  • Design the text of the animal’s sound to look like the sound itself.
  • Large, bold text implies a sound that is very loud.
  • Small text in lower case letters comes across as a quiet sound.
  • Mechanical pencils vs. wood cased pencils.
  • Using an existing novel to practice drawing comics is a great way to focus on the drawing without worrying about writing a story.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

I’ve always thought that at art school, students who want to create comics should take a writing class to accompany a comics or character class.

Often it’s easy get super immersed in the look of a character. However, no amount of visuals will help if there isn’t a story or rationale to back up those visual choices you are making.

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