Drawing & Composition for Visual Storytelling

Staging

« Staging » is the most general of the principles because it covers so many areas and goes back so far in the theatre. It’s meanings how ever are very precise: it it the presentation of any idea so that it it completely and unmistakably clear.

An action is staged so that it is understood, a personality is staged so that it is recognizable, an expression so that it can be seen, a mood so that it will affect the audience.

Each is communicating to the fullest extent with the viewers when it is properly staged.

A little bit of planning can make a big difference.

This scene (from « The Mighty B » animated series) was staged with the second panel in mind.

Knowing that Mary-Frances was going to enter the scene and admire Bessie’s pile of work, plenty of room was left in that first panel to make room for this character to enter from off screen.

One of the best bits of advice I ever received was, « stage a scene based on the widest action ».
It’s usually not necessary to zoom in super close on the characters; it’s nice to leave some breathing room.

This allows for nice negative shapes around the characters, and allows you to draw the key players and props with easily-readable silhouettes.

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