For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to create images that tell a story. My parents remind me from time to time that I used to draw characters going off the page when I was really little. They say that’s the first time I started to show an interest in being a storyteller. I think they’re just being nice, and that I just had trouble keeping my drawings on the page and not the table (whoops).
These days, my characters go off the page only when I want them too. And although a lot has changed in terms of my ability to draw (thanks to practice, practice, and more practice), there is one thing that I still do with every drawing, usually as I’m drawing it: I ask questions.
Who am I drawing?
What do they want?
Where are they going, and where did they come from?
These are just some of the questions I ask myself. The more questions I ask, the more I come to know my characters and their stories. These questions, and the stories they lead to, a part of a crucial element of storytelling: curiosity. Curiosity drives you to find stories everywhere and anywhere. Some stories are harder to find, and require asking a lot of questions. Some stories may be right under your nose. They only way to find them is to stay curious.
So, the next time you sit down to draw something, try asking yourself some of these questions. You might find that you draw the answers into your character or scene without really thinking about it. And if you keep going, you might find your characters living in a world that has its own story. And if you go even further, you might find yourself putting the finishing touches on your very own picture book. You never know…