How to Simulate Shaking in a Drawing

Written by matt scheer
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An earthquake's landscape, a figure suffering from delirium tremens or hypothermia, a super hero being shaken by an evil monster -- these and other situations may call on you as an artist to simulate shaking in your static 2D drawing. You can create a shaking effect using many mediums, including pen and ink, graphite or a digital program.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Drawing utensil
  • Paper
  • Lightboard

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    Simple Shaking Effect

  1. 1

    Draw a figure. Draw an anxious look on the figure's face or draw the figure in an imbalanced position; these are hints to the viewer that the figure is shaking. If the figure is in the middle of an earthquake, draw books falling from shelves, frames falling from walls and other indications that the area is shaking.

  2. 2

    Distort the part of the figure that is shaking back and forth. If the face is shaking, for example, draw the nose going in the opposite direction of the mouth, or the chin moving in the opposite direction of the forehead. The shaking effect that results has a comic feel.

  3. 3

    Draw quote marks to the left and right of the figure's head. Quote marks tell the viewer that the figure has just moved from the quote marks' positions. This is a common technique in comic art.

  4. 4

    Draw quote marks to the left and right of the figure's limbs that are shaking. If the scene is an earthquake, draw quote marks for other objects that are shaking.

    Advanced Shaking Effect

  1. 1

    Draw a figure.

  2. 2

    Make a copy of the figure in a copy machine or draw the figure again on a separate sheet of paper.

  3. 3

    Place the copy and the original on a lightboard. Flip the copy to reverse the image. Place the copy below the original.

  4. 4

    Move the copy until it comes as far to the left of the figure as you want the figure to shake. Lightly draw the figure in the copy onto the original. Repeat this process to the right of the figure. Because the copy is reversed and moved slightly away from the original, the resulting image will look as though the figure is shaking back and forth.

  5. 5

    Move the copy closer to the figure. Draw the copied figure very lightly onto the original, even lighter than the first time you drew the copy. Do this for both sides of the figure. These extra echoes of the figure enhance the shaking effect.

Tips and warnings

  • The advanced shaking effect method can be used on anything that may shake, including a blender or objects in an earthquake.

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