The Bare Bones of Sequential Panels.
This journal is a little like anatomy, or shading practice, it seems disjointed, but we need these parts to hold our comics together. It gives one a firm starting point, which can then be used to create something else. However, I recommend you look at other sources of information as well. Terminology:
There are a few terms I wish to clarify before I start the main part of the comic. These terms are just from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossa…
, though most of them come from Scott McCloud’s books. If you have the pleasure of studying a graphic novel in class, your teacher will probably use some of these terms.
Page -one single page of panels. The DC guide to comics has some really good examples of cross page composition, I will not talk about that for the sake of simplicity (and word count)
Tier -a row of panels.
Splash page -a page (or two) that consist of a single panel or image. Here is an example:
Panel -a single image or box that is part of the whole page. These are usually have a border (generally a black line) around them, but it is not necessary.
Border -a line completely surrounding a panel. This helps to create define one panel against another. Here is an example with borders :thumb644096973: , and here is one without
Gutter -This the space between panels. it's usually white or black. This helps make the comic more readable, especially if you have a fast paced action comic. Here is an example of a page with a gutter
and here is a page without a gutter
Speech bubble - a dialogue or thought ballon separating the characters speech from the rest of the page. The bubble is clearly connected to one character who is usually visible in the panel. Here's an example
Text box - a place where text that is not directly connected to the scene, or is being told by a narrator is. This may give information about a character, add irony to a situation, or might just be used by a narrator. Here is an example that has a lot: Page Format:
This is what separates western graphic novels, from comic strips, from manga, how the panels are sequenced. Some illustrations, like political cartoons, only have one panel. Others, like western comics and graphic novels, go from left to right, then down to the next tier. Manga does the same, except they go right to left. Personally, I find flipped manga pages are harder to follow, than if it's not, as many things are pointing in the wrong direction. If you choose a format, stick to it for the rest of the comic.
For a western comic book page, the basic format is 3 tiers with 3 panels. Artists often change some things, for example, making the amount of panels two instead of three, but this basic layout remains. If you are switching the amount of panels you have, please consider paying attention to your gutters and panel borders, as this will help keep your page readable. A western comic book is not the easiest format to use, but there are lots of resources on it compared to other formats.
There is one particular format that is not unique to the internet, but has gained popularity because of it, this is a format where you read top to bottom. This allows a reader to scroll down on their mobile devices, and helps fit in with sites like Taptastic. If you want to post online, consider how each site you are posting to works. Panel Composition:
This could be an entire journal on its own, every panel should be considered like it's a single piece, as well being able to fit in the whole of the page. There are multiple panel compositions that you could use, such as close ups, or landscapes. Unless you have large panels, try to keep most panels focused on one thing, movement or object. Usually everything stays within a panel, however if you want to create a sense of movement or impact, consider having something going over the borders of the panel as it does in this
you could also have panels on top of another panel to create an interesting effect like this page does:
The most important thing for your panels to do is to tell the story together as a page. To facilitate this try to keep a flow of movement between your panels. A quick tip for keeping your movement understandable is the 180 rule, where you only show 180 degrees of the space. (A half circle, essentially so the audience angle does not change to much, making them behind a character one panel and in front of that character the next. Always ask yourself, or a beat reader if you have one, if each page makes sense when you are reading it. Colour in Comics
Just as with page format, a consistent colour palette will help a comic seem complete and professional. If you want to create tension or suspense, consider using the saturation of colour to express the mood, like decreasing it for a sad scene, or increasing it for a scene about anger. I would suggest checking out some of the other journals we have on colour for a specific topic of colour, such as characters. Text
Figure out what text is necessary for your panel, but draw the full draft of the page before putting them in. This allows you more flexibility in the size and shape of your text. Look at writing books for novelists to help you get ideas for plots and characters. Plan all of your text out ahead of time, and use a computer to but it in digitally if you can.
Here's some more comics from our folders.