I’m in the early development stages of a graphic novel to accompany my Stuttering is Cool podcast. On the left is a a sketch of one of the main characters who stutters. This turned out to be an interesting exercise in character design because I have to be able to demonstrate in illustration form how it feels like to stutter.

Although this is only a quick sketch (I realize now I even forgot to draw in the fox’s tail!), you can see from his tightly shut eyes, the angle of his head, and the tension in his arms that he’s stuck in a really tough stutter and is determined to finish what he intends to say. Yes, he is only a fictional character, but I still encouraged the little guy on.

I’m a stutterer and this drawing experience (and project) lets me exercise my creative muscle by both drawing various types of stutters and figuring out how to write certain blocks and stutters (for the speech bubbles). I’ll blog more about this as my book progresses.

The thought of watching 1930s Porky Pig cartoons crossed my mind but I don’t know if he was animated by stutterers (before Mel Blanc, he was voiced by a real stutterer. Currently, he is voiced by a real stutterer!).

Since I also stutter, I know exactly what goes on— how the body moves, how the words are stuttered— so I am half way towards drawing the experience realistically. Stuttering doesn’t involve only speech. It involves the body.

What’s even more of a challenge for me is the fact that Franky Banky, the fox above, doesn’t have a mouth!