When reading most of the graphic novels for class I do not spend much of my time ogling the actual drawings, but instead tend to wrap whole attention around the story and the growth of characters. I tended to look at the art as I would the diction of any other writer; if it was appealing and well done, I admired it, and if it did not catch my attention I wouldn’t spare it a thought. I know that this must be inherently wrong when trying to read a comic or any other graphic representation, but there is only so much that can be fully focused on while reading.
Having to draw for the web comic, Exspiravit, really put the actual art of graphic novels into perspective. So much time and effort has to go into not only creating a character, but then in drawing that same character over, and over, and over again. How does the face appear from the top in a believable way that a reader can understand it as the same person with a profile picture before? How would the hair move if the character ran away from the reader? Towards the reader? How does a character believably age? It is far more simple to write a description of a character, and allow the reader to fill in the gaps between what is said, and what is left unsaid. If I were to say that a character was a little girl about seven years old, with jet black hair and deep brown eyes a reader will be able to picture a girl with this description. But if everyone were asked to draw this character, the differences in appearance would be eye opening. An artist has to decide on the shape and size of the nose, the eyes, the eyebrows, the face shape….the list goes on and on, as I have recently found out.
Due to all this I now look at graphic novels and comics with more respect than before, and do not think they are any less deserving of praise because of the use of art to aid their message. A picture allows a story to convey the entire setting in one panel that might take a book three whole pages to describe in such minute detail. Though the cliche is far over used, a picture really is worth a thousand words, and I think we would all prefer to read a graphic novel with pictures rather than a graphic novel without.