Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Help with Panels
DOUK at 2:45PM, Dec. 12, 2008
posts: 82
joined: 12-12-2008
Action panels, transition panels, long panels to fit everyone in - what am i missing?

Any tips for adding a litle variety to comics, instead of the same sized boxes throughout, try adding action panels irregularly shaped. Also, flashbacks can be represented by panels infront of a darker background. Something to set it aside from the regular ‘present time’ panels.

This is all I know so any other information that could help me?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:13PM
CharleyHorse at 3:12PM, Dec. 12, 2008
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Actually I favor using a ripple border for flashback sequences. Then there is the technique of having a borderless segment between bordered panels if you are just looking for variety with a bit of visual snap.

I'm also a fan of varying camera angles so that you are not always on eye level with the characters.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Skullbie at 3:14PM, Dec. 12, 2008
posts: 4,709
joined: 12-9-2007
Actually look at comics(real printed comics, NOT webcomics) and see for yourself. Find out what you like and imitate it. Do you like the numerous rectangle panels in ‘invincible’ or so you like the variety ‘ultimate spider-man’ brings. The crazy erratic panels of ‘silent dragon’ or flowy manga panels of ‘loveless’?

Choose a comic you like and examine what they do, eventually you'll catch on and hone it to your own panel style. and here's a good article on how to use panel;s for comic pacing, less is more:
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:46PM
Metalbender92 at 6:36PM, Dec. 12, 2008
posts: 46
joined: 8-29-2008
I think my favorite panel arrangement is filling a page with wide, long panels that show the character in their environment. It's really nice for representing silence or slowing down the action in your comic.
A sketch comic filled with little comedic bundles!
The Meekler Files
Where every day is a hiatus!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:59PM
Luminous at 10:04PM, Dec. 14, 2008
posts: 193
joined: 4-28-2006
Actually I favor using a ripple border for flashback sequences.

Ooh, that's a good idea!

Anyway, as for the topic, IMO one should always use establishing shots when changing environments. Be sure the reader always knows where the characters are supposed to be. Well, unless you WANT there to be a bit of confusion and mystery ;)

Also, vary the “camera” angles. Don't draw from the same perspective every time. It can be hard, but it's worth it.

Of course… I don't always follow my own advice lol!

See my art on… Flickr | Tumblr
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
Blackmoon at 7:05AM, Dec. 15, 2008
posts: 60
joined: 2-24-2006
For flashbacks, I like using some filters and make everything look grainy and sepia-toned. Like an old photograph or something.

Not exactly a panel trick, but to make something really stand out, try making it extend beyond the panel borders- like if a guy is dramatically reaching out to grab something, have his arm go off-panel. Just make sure not to do this more than once every other page or so or it gets distracting, fast.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
CharleyHorse at 7:07AM, Dec. 15, 2008
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Of course… I don't always follow my own advice

That's certainly true in my case! Particularly where the establishing shot advice is concerned. Lately I have been doing just the opposite for no reason that I understand . . . starting tight and then gradually opening wider as the panels progress. I think I just got bored with the proper methodology! 8D
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Senshuu at 7:53AM, Dec. 15, 2008
posts: 391
joined: 5-23-2006
If you find yourself ever getting stuck with varying panels, make sure to make the insides of them really interesting. Panels only really become “aware” to me when a comic is really boring or formulaic, but I've read print comics where it's nothing but box after box, but you don't notice at all. (I only took note afterwards, when I realized how actually entertaining my read was.) Detail! Impressive angles! They can make your panels nonexistent!

Speaking of nonexistent panels, you can leave them out on certain frames like one as a full-page illustration and have other frames strategically placed on top of it.

I'm experimenting with these things too, hehe.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
CharleyHorse at 8:38AM, Dec. 15, 2008
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Speaking of nonexistent panels, you can leave them out on certain frames like one as a full-page illustration and have other frames strategically placed on top of it.

I keep meaning to give that a try.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
DOUK at 11:53PM, Dec. 15, 2008
posts: 82
joined: 12-12-2008
Well I don't know what to say…

How about… WOW SOME GREAT IDEAS HERE. All of this will help me in the future, glad to know there are some great minds here.

I mean you guys… not just me.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:13PM
vexx78 at 8:49PM, Dec. 20, 2008
posts: 34
joined: 12-12-2008
Great ideas, I just wish there was a step by step tutorial to do this with Illustrator and Photoshop. That's all I use. I draw on Ai then just convert it in Ps but for the love of me I can't create some of the cool layout designs and I haven't found any tutorials to do this. I'm learning Ps from a book right now so hopefully I'll be able to get better.
“Actually I favor using a ripple border for flashback sequences.”
Can you post a link to show this? Thanks!
Life's a game…
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:40PM
CharleyHorse at 9:38PM, Dec. 20, 2008
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Not really vexx78. I do artwork by brute strength rather than knowing how to really use my graphics program. What I would do would be to create an all black background using bucket fill. Then I would copy my panel from a different file and move it where I wanted it on the black backdrop. Whamo! Instant surrounding border.

Then I would simply use the pencil tool set for white ink and a large diameter and then swipe it in and out the interior of the border area, removing enough black to create a ripple effect. Badabing, badaboom, done!

Believe me, I would be the last artist to claim that this methodology was the most efficient or intelligent use of a graphics program, but it would work well enough to serve my purposes. While tutorials are grand, sometimes you just have to experiment. Try it and let me know how it worked out for you. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Senshuu at 9:10AM, Dec. 21, 2008
posts: 391
joined: 5-23-2006
I use the pen tool to make really basic paneling in Photoshop. I can't explain the pen tool very well, though. (Especially since I'm more used to it in Illustrator.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
cartoonprofessor at 8:53PM, Dec. 21, 2008
posts: 396
joined: 9-2-2007
OK, here goes.
I always work out the text first. Pictures carry the action but words carry the story, so place your text bubbles across the page to convey the mood you are after… lead the readers through the page with the text.

You will find this tends to tell you how many panels of illustration you need to convey said mood… ironically, more small panels usually creates a faster pace than one or two or three larger panels, even though the reader spends more time on such a page than on the larger splash panels. You need to experiment and find the balance.

Much of my story so far has Min n Fin confined to their ship, the UMV, so I can drag and resize the various panels around the page until I am satisfied they fit into the text and ‘lead’ the reader through the story.

When I am satisfied I then determine which panels, if any, need actual borders, and which become their own borders. For most panels I use the square Marquee tool in PS and then edit/stroke 7-12 pixels wide.

My biggest tip?

Read as many comics as you can get your hands on. As you read observe how the story has been ‘constructed’ on the page.

Some good ‘teachers’ are Spiderman (the new ones… the older ones are pretty crap… mind you I hate superhero stuff),
and believe it or not, Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip anthologies. Bill Watterson really experimented a lot when he was finally granted some free reign in the later years, usually with great success.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
ozoneocean at 2:48AM, Dec. 22, 2008
posts: 24,789
joined: 1-2-2006
Looking at what you like and copying it is good advice.

Personally, I don't like to do that in comics… I like to work it out for myself, even if that means reinventing the wheel or that it just won't look as good, as long as it's more mine and not obviously derivative- the way so many comics are.


So good advice would be to follow the examples of others.

While my advice would be to look at the way others do things, but don't copy it. Experiment with a lot of different things (anything at all), and go with what works and looks the best. If that means using some tricks you've seen before, then do it, but try and work it out for yourself overall.

Cartoonproff has god advice in that direction. ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
Sajomir at 11:31PM, Dec. 27, 2008
posts: 18
joined: 9-26-2008
This is one of the coolest paneling tutorials I've ever seen.

I'd also suggest trying doing thumbnails on scratch paper of your pages in order to get the panels down. Personally I do the thumbnail on paper, then I go into and chop out the panels first before even breaking out the tablet. I find this helps me refine the placement and the flow of the page before I even start drawing. It also helps give me small chunks of the page to work on at once, which I find much less daunting than a blank page.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:17PM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved