How to make your drawings more interesting

character design Tips

Sometimes I have to remind myself how to make drawings more interesting for other people. I’m more likely to be impressed that someone drew a really expressive hand, or simplified a character so well.

But most people respond to story more than technique.

make your drawings more interesting by adding story elements

The ideal is to combine excellent draftsmanship with storytelling. Then you’re hitting home runs. It’s very easy for artists to get hung up on draftsmanship, or flashy styles, and forget to add simple elements that connect with the average viewer.

And it doesn’t have to be something big. It can be blood dripping from an axe. A rose held limply by a slouching girl.

More interesting than a straight on police lineup.

An anachronistic comment or an element jarringly out of place works too. A Cowboy who loves Jaws and has a robot arm isn’t high art, but it’s more interesting than a straight on cartoony sketch of a cowboy.

This is why a lot of amateurish looking cartoons go viral. People may connect with the story or the message. Story is better than message, though. Messages go viral mostly because they preach to the choir. They are PSAs passed around to validate ideas that a person already holds.

Stories surprise, challenge, and lift us out of our everyday lives and ideas. Or, at least they should.

So if you’re wondering how to make your drawings more interesting, add a little story to whatever it is. What came before, what is coming after? What’s the backstory to this situation. It’ll add a little seasoning that goes a long way.

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2 thoughts on “How to make your drawings more interesting

  1. Hello, I found your website and blog by accident. I was looking for how to use texture and overlays and one of the links was to your page about that.

    I enjoyed it. It was short but very useful.

    Then I roamed around your site.

    I found your blog.

    I read the first couple of entries, and I was very glad it was current. (I don’t know why I just was.)

    Then I read your entry on Jan 3 about adding a bit of story to your characters. It solved the problem I didn’t even know I had. I have never liked drawing characters in poses. They just stand there! In fact I am just working on one now, and loathing it.

    But then I added a bit of story (a tiny tentacle reaching out to grab? tap? tag? a mermans foot.) and poof, I was suddenly very interested in what was going on, and I was the one drawing it.

    Great advice. Thanks!

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