Stories Start with Characters

Got 3000 words written today, and hope to get another 1000 before bed. Also finished reading Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, which is among the most delightful instructional manuals I’ve ever read. Eisner had an intricate understanding of not only drawing and writing, but of human psychology, and this last was effective to two ends: it allowed him to tell compelling stories about believable people (even if those people were caricatures of regular people, or more amazing than regular people), and it allowed him to tell those stories in such a way that readers remained interested in the work.

Eisner's "Contract" with the Reader

Eisner’s “Contract” with the Reader

Above is one of my favorite panels from this book, illustrating the contract with the reader: the artist may safely assume that the reader lives in the same reality and shares many of the same basic understandings of the world. This allows the art to work as a form of shorthand: i.e., you don’t need to explain to your reader that a coconut released from a tree will descend in the direction of the earth’s core, or that coconuts grow on trees, or that trees drop seeds.

This book has vast quantities of things to recommend it, and even if you’re not interested in drawing or writing or storytelling or human psychology, some of the reprints will certainly be worth your time: Eisner’s beautiful new ending to Franz Kafka’s bleak The Trial, and an example of “compression” by R. Sikoryak comprising Dante’s Inferno retold in 10 Bazooka Joe comics were my favorites.

If you’re here for my art, and particularly if you’re here for my dragons, never fear. I’ve got a couple of compelling characters for you right here:

Sophia Violetta Regalia, a heraldic dragon

Sophia Violetta Regalia, a heraldic dragon

Obviously, there need to be as many, if not more, girl dragons than boy dragons.

Pentalara, a serpentine dragon who could probably benefit from some orthodontia, if she could find an orthodontist willing to work on a dragon's mouth.

Pentalara, a serpentine dragon who could probably benefit from some orthodontia, if she could find an orthodontist willing to work on a dragon’s mouth.

These lovely ladies certain exude personality.

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