07. Visual Storytelling: Practical Tips


February 14, 2021 “Visual Storytelling: Practical Tips”

Nina Johansson & Pedro Loureiro

Pedro Loureiro / Nina Johansson

In episode seven, Rob Sketcherman was joined by Nina Johansson and Pedro Loureiro to share with us how their sketching is inspired by other art forms, namely comic books (also known as sequential art) and movies.

Nina Johansson

Nina Johansson joined us from Stockholm, Sweden, to talk about how she has been finding different ways to tell stories with her sketches while working from home during the pandemic. She said that we can find stories during these restricted times and in hindsight it will be a story worth telling: “Ah, remember those years when you were sitting in your living room working.”

Many of her sketches are inspired by movies and camera angles, and she talked with us about how your point of view when sketching can change your sketches and tell stories in a different way. We saw her sketches of overlapping elements to show moving through space and moving around objects and drawing them from different angles. As she lives in Stockholm, she doesn’t get out to sketch much in the very cold and dark winter so she has experience with creatively sketching stories from her home.

Pedro Loureiro

Pedro Loureiro joined us from Lisbon, Portugal, and told us about his interest in comics, how he learned to sketch stories from them, and how he continues to be inspired by them. The composition in his sketches show his interest in sequential art with the way he positions the subject, using perspective, angles, and contrast to tell a story. He says, “I’m a little bit of a drama queen when I’m sketching.”

He suggested filtering out some of the setting and paying attention to the framing – even of inanimate objects – to help tell a story.


Pedro suggests imitating other artists to see how your art can change. Read comics first to enjoy them, but then pay attention to an element that the artist does well, like shading. Also look at the layout of the pages, which is unique to comic books.

He also reminds us to adjust our styles and tools to the context of what we’re sketching, such as sketching movement, and suggests fusing together action into one scene instead of in separate panels. He showed an example of this from a demonstration he sketched – his sketch was full of people that he captured over time, sketching the people whose actions were most relevant to telling this story.

Nina talked about adjusting styles and tools when sketching in freezing weather. Wearing gloves or mittens can impede the sensitivities of your fingers, and wet materials can freeze. She uses colored pencils and uses watercolors by mixing the water with alcohol (avoiding those with sweeteners, aromas or colors, which will ruin paints), and wears many layers of clothes.

For sketching a strong story element, both Pedro and Nina emphasize the use of contrast. Nina also says to think about variation of lines and colors to help emphasize the focus.

Nina shared some great information about camera shots to help us think about the point of view we are sketching from, from a long/wide shot to an extreme close-up, and capturing movement through space in different ways.

Sketching is like creating a documentary, so think of the inspiration you can get from different forms of storytelling to tell your stories in your sketches.

Book Recommendations

  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
  • Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner

Challenge: It’s a Mug’s Life

Document your day through the point of view of your favorite beverage, and where it goes with you.

USk Talks Challenge eskizlerinizi Instagram'da paylaşırken hashtag'leri kullanın #usktalks ve #usktalkschallenge and tag Nina @nina_sketching and Pedro @pedromaclourerio. Follow Nina, Pedro, and our hashtags on Instagram, too!

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