Imagine your favorite movie, tv show, or game. Now imagine the most incredible scene you can remember from it. The moments that gave you chills or made you cry or made you feel inspired. Now imagine the scene in completely silent, devoid of everything except the small bits of dialogue if it even has any. What changes?
The answer should be everything. Sound design can make or break a great scene. Music is the secret weapon of great storytelling. If it's done well, it will compliment the characters, the setting, and the dialogue as a whole. It acts as a catalyst to the viewer, instilling the correct feelings for the scene without you even realizing it.
So how does this transfer over to written and drawn entertainment?
Follow the same patterns.
Find a song that fits the exact feeling you want your viewers to be experiencing. Is it happy, inspiring, dark?Follow the flow of the music. Let your characters, be it written or drawn, experience the music. In actions, words, and expressions. You can follow the build, the breaks, and changes to hone in on what you really think your viewer should be experiencing.
The same goes for characters in general. Pick a song you think fits them perfectly. If you think your character is not acting how you would expect them to, refer back to the chosen song. Does it still fit? If it doesn't anymore, would a new pick make sense in the character arc? It's another reference for artists and writers to have to look back on and ask yourself if your character is sticking to the attributes you gave them.
ALL of my scenes i've made into comics stemmed from a song. I imagine the whole thing playing out like a scene in a movie. The scene starts at a specific time in the song, the action rises with the song if its there, and ends at the perfect moment to encapsulate the overall feeling I want the images or written words to share. Does it work all the time? No. No one can hear or see exactly what I'm playing out in my head. But I can do my best to put it all on display and let people interpret as they want. That's art in any form. No matter how hard you try, someone will always see it differently, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to get your meaning across anyways.
Longer winded today I know. But I thought It'd be fun to share a lil insight into what I think before the process even begins. Like I said, all the scenes i've hand drawn were directly inspired by songs. The "first flight" panels I made were based off the Hu's Shrieg Shrieg. I love how upbeat, but calm it sounded and I wanted to use it to show my characters having a brief moment of happiness in an overall very dark and bloody story.
For Nightbringer, I refer to viking/nordic esque music to maintain the feel of the world I'm going for. Heilung,Wardruna,and Corvus Corax are the big three I listen to.
I've made a playlist with some of my favorites you can check out here if you feel inclined!