So I know I got two pending articles to finish up my Religion and my Catharsis series but I'm too tired right now to talk about anything that requires sociopolitical analyses and extrapolations.
So let's talk about hands in comics!
One of the easiest way to mitigate the dreaded “talking heads” panel is to use the character's hands. A dry ‘just the head" panel becomes more animated, interesting, and relatable if you include the character’s hands doing some kind of gesture that enhances or underlines what is being said or what the character is feeling.
Consider this panel. When is it more interesting (besides the hopefully interesting expression), with or without Etan's hand in the frame?
Also, when do you feel more confident about the range of emotions Etan's feeling? With or without the hand?
Without the hand, it's clear he's shocked and/or surprised (I hope). But with the hand, there's (hopefully) an extra nuance of him feeling dread at what he's about to hear.
Hands enhance our expression and often are the way we express things left unsaid. Someone who speaks calmly and steadily may have hands that shake or may be wringing them, and that's how we know he's masking stress. Or perhaps, the old-faithful go-to of kdramas when a character is silently angry, balling hands into a fist around fabric:
Of course, there are also gestures that can underline a character's ethnicity:
Yes all of the above are rude gestures so uh, don't use without due diligence. XD
Using a gesture that codes for a specific ethnicity can add authenticity to your character- if of course it's used sparingly and doesn't devolve into ethnic stereotypes that may be overdone and get you the opposite effect- telegraph to your audience that you haven't done research and/or are flirting with racism.
Don't use this. Just don't. Unless you really know what and specifially when you're doing.
Having a character gesticulate can also be a form of comedy or a great boost to the sheer magnitude of a character's emotional state.
Hands are beautiful, expressive, and incredibly versatile. Hands speak. So as creators of visual mediums we should do our best to employ the language of hands and let them do the talking whenever we can.
How do you use hands in your comics?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Nov. 11, 2023
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