I really, really love drawing. So sometimes, when I work on a panel, I get overexcited and lose some of my judgment. Here’s a few dynamic composition tips I thought would be useful to keep in mind.

  1. I jumped straight into the drawing without really thinking about the composition.
  2. I was zoomed in super close to the monster and started adding details without seeing the picture as a whole. Chris Oatley wrote a great article about the “Texture Monster“. I highly recommend it. Sometimes, details can clog a picture and damages it’s ability to tell the story.
  3. Whatever you do, never be boring. This is something I heard  many times. But what sticks in my mind are the examples in “How to draw the Marvel Way“, where there are great examples of static vs Dynamic panels. You don’t have to be the greatest artist, but never settle for a boring composition. Of course the book is old so don’t take it to litterally but it does contain some good tips.
  4. On a sidenote, you might want to convey boredom. If for example your character is in a boring situation, a boring composition might just help to push that feeling. If your whole book is like that though, it won’t be very attractive to reader at a glance. Remember that when book browsing, people might only look at your book for a few seconds. If it looks boring, they will look elsewhere. I would much rather read a book full of anatomy mistake but with great energy and attitude than perfect anatomy but boring poses and composition. The early books of Naruto where full of mistakes but conveyed great energy.
  5. Try to avoid an obvious point of view. Young artists will often do the standard mug shot/passport photo composition over and over again. Do you always show your swords in profile? I know that’s one of my bad habits. Perspective can really jazz things up.

Here’s the panel that prompted this train of thought.

Example of what not to do for a dynamic composition

That’s about what I can think for the moment.

Questions? Comments? What are you mindful to avoid when drawing?