Drawing Lies - Deception, Insincerity and Sarcasm
Stories and characters have many contexts where emotion is needed - the happy and sad and angry and scared of it all is a big focus of my own comic drawing - I keep it cartoony (with as few lines as possible) and maybe slightly exaggerated - I don't think I ever go over the top with physics-bending exaggeration.
Drawing one emotion of excitement, happiness, disappointment, fear, sadness or whatever is one thing, and usually simple enough, but what about when there's a second layer required by the story or scene? What if there's a more complicated level to it? That kind of thing is needed on the regular.
Say, if someone is faking happiness, or being sarcastic, or pretending to be afraid, sad, or to be in
love? What if they're lying and you want to show it somehow?
Of course, a liar can say one thing in dialogue, and then a narrative caption or thought bubbles can tell the truth. That's the most straightforward method and probably the right approach in certain situations, but of course, I'm talking about creating this effect without doing that. And that approach strikes me as something that would work against you in many situations anyway - it might do for a complicated spy/espionage thing, or in certain deceptive relationship stories -
But I think it could hurt the likability of the character who's lying. It would come across very calculating and villainous much of the time. Which is fine if that's the effect you want, but not if you don't!
The big method that comes to mind, and that I use regularly, is to have the dialogue not match the facial expression (and body language, but I'm not as practiced at drawing that). So the dialogue will be the fake thing, and the expression will be the real thing. Someone says “Funny,” with a half-lidded side-eye expression and no smile. That right there is rampant in my comics, and can be seen everywhere in cartoons. That expression is often what makes me laugh in a ‘toon.
This would encompass where the eyes are directed I guess. Eyes directed away from the other character (or just pointed to the side and maybe downward) I think would show insincerity or some kind of deception. It could also show disappointment or something - the context of the story and scene would fill in the blanks there in many cases.
As interesting as this is, I believe the budding cartoonist is set up for success in this area: we humans are wired to interpret facial expression and body language to spot these things; that’s a big help to the artist and the audience!
There is probably much more to this! What are your thoughts on drawing insincere emotion, sarcasm and not-being-honest?
Let me know how you do it, and don't lie or I'll know.
Have a good one!
Banes at 12:00AM, Dec. 10, 2020
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