How to convey sound in a painting

While it’s not possible to show sound in a conventional, still image (multimedia interactivity aside), it is possible to imply it in the reactions by characters and objects in a scene. Impacts throw up particles and cause vibration, for example.

With that in mind I’ll show you how to draw a tolling church bell, viewed from a high eye level (that enables me to show details you wouldn’t be able to see from ground level). I can show small things that might be shaking, vibrating or even dislodged, and I can add some humour with the gargoyles covering their ears. You could also have alarmed pigeons taking flight, roof tiles sliding about and other fixtures swaying. 

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English artist Nick Harris switched to a digital canvas in 2000, after 18 years of using traditional media. Most of his work involves creating artwork for children’s books, though he has also dabbled in animation, including some background work on the hit 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?". He has supplied a wealth of advice and tutorial help for illustrators in ImagineFX magazine.