"What does ___ sound like?" and other sound effect help

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"What does ___ sound like?" and other sound effect help

Postby djracodex on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:44 pm

Too many a time I've pestered asked my roommates and or boyfriend about what a sound sounds like.
"How do you spell the sound of wind getting knocked out of you that's not just 'weeze'?"
"What's a dog sneeze sound like?"
"I need another smashing sound that's not 'wump' 'wham' 'smash' 'crash' 'wunch' 'crunch' or 'splat' "
Now that I don't have roommates to humor me anymore, it's just boyfriend (who's pretty bad at sound effects...) I need a new sounding board Oh shit, did you see that?, and I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem.

Who knows if this will help anyone, but I assume in this comicking world, someone's going to have a sound they can't spell/think of.
It just happens to be one of my favorite things about comics, so I made a thread about it - Yay
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Re: "What does ___ sound like?" and other sound effect help

Postby djracodex on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:52 pm

Ok, so hey, I've always had a hard time with breathy sounds, like aforementioned 'weeze', 'gasp' and 'pant'. Weeze is probably the only one that comes close to it's actual sound. Currently, I'm wrestling with a really sharp gasp, and have gotten almost happy with shaping the letters into a peak, but it still doesn't give the effect I want.
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Re: "What does ___ sound like?" and other sound effect help

Postby LibertyCabbage on Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:28 am

Make up gibberish words.

E.g., wheezing = "hhweehh"

E.g., gasping = "Ahh!" (not to be confused with "Aah!" or "Aahh!" which is an exhaled shout)

E.g., panting = "hehhh" or "huhhh," possibly alternating

I.e., "H" is associated with breathing, so use it a lot.

Destruction sounds are specific to the particular object and how it's being destroyed.

E.g., glass object falling and breaking = "kliinkkkshh!" (high-pitched "I"s with heavy "K"s -- very abrasive)

E.g., pie to the face gag = "splugghh" ("-ugghh" looks gross, messy, ugly)

E.g., person thrown into wooden table = "krkkhmmrrn" (two-part sequence -- the wood breaks, then falls apart)

Essentially, you're translating a sound into language, and then the reader translates the language into a sound.
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Re: "What does ___ sound like?" and other sound effect help

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:11 pm

This is something to work toward, if you find yourself unable to do it now- while sometimes sound effects are needed, as much as possible try to let the art do the talking. Someone who's wheezing has very different body language from someone who is yelping out in pain, vs. someone laughing, crying, et cetera. When dealing with just objects, obviously the idea of "body language" kind of isn't applicable anymore, but motion lines and the way they are shaped can say a lot. A burst of color that sticks out from the page is good at denoting a loud, shocking sound.

However, since you do like using sound effects in your work, like you noted kind of implicitly, there's two ways to go about it- write out the actual word describing the action (wheeze, wheeze, pant, pant) or write out the onomatopoeia. Sometimes one or the other will appear needlessly cheesy in a certain situation. For wheezing, I recommend writing out that word instead of trying to sound it out- I (and I imagine other readers) read that word and have sort of a "stock" sound effect we will automatically hear and associate, whereas certain body sounds are difficult to articulate in our alphabet and may lead readers to the wrong conclusion.

Whether you choose to use the word or the onomatopoeia, the most important technique is to use the visual shape and appearance of the text to convey what you want the sound to be. A word fitted neatly in a word balloon conveys a different effect than text that seems to be barely contained by its bubble. Perhaps, in the case of your gasp, the word is breaking the bubble open, even.

You can also mix what I mentioned about dealing with objects in with your words/sound effects- use motion lines (thoughtfully) with your text! You can also try making the start of the gasp in small letters and the end of the gasp in bigger letters, starting neat and ending rough/"untamed" to convey emotion, starting thin and ending in bold.
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