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Panel By Panel: Patchwork and Lace (Two Beats and No Gutters)

hpkomic at 10:47AM, Aug. 26, 2022

Hello and welcome to Panel by Panel, an analysis of panels from comics right here on The Duck and exploring what they do, how they work, and what we can learn from them.

Hello everyone, it's been a couple of weeks, so it is time for a new Panel By Panel. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. This week we will turn our attention to the webcomic Patchwork and Lace, by itsasooz. We're going to be looking at the latest update, which is Book 2, Page 239.

I am posting the whole page, but I want to focus on the last panel below… or is it two panels? That is what we're talking about today.

Part of the fun of this sort of analysis of comics on The Duck is it gives me a chance to learn new things and explore the craft. I have been making comics for a long time, but I am not an expert. So if you can chime in the comments with your knowledge, that would be wonderful.

In that regard, I am not sure what to call what is going on in the last panel, but I certainly like it. As you've seen in the title of this article, I see it as two beats with no gutters, and I think we can all see how that works. Typically when we think about comics and panels, we tend to incision gutters, much like the one seen on the top 2/3s of this page of Patchwork and Lace.

However, in the final pair of panels (yes, I consider it to be two panels), we see no gutters dividing the clear change in staging and “camera,” for lack of a better term. What we have is, in a sense, an inset panel that depicts a closeup of our two characters and the second shot that pulls away from the intimate scene. Again, two distinct emotional beats here, two panels, but without the hallmark that is the futter that divides them up as we may be used to from time to time.

I am sure there is some sort of obscure term for this exact thing we are seeing, pulled directly from the notes of Jack Kirby somewhere, but I cannot recall the term for my life. What about you? What would you call this?

It goes without saying this setup is very effective, and I think that itsasooz did a fantastic job with this moment, especially in the context of the larger page. Many interesting shots show the scene's intimacy, such as the position of feet depicting their coming closer at the moment.

Excellent work. But as for you readers, have you done anything similar to what is depicted in the final third of this week's page? Share your examples in the comments!

Lastly, be sure to check out Patchwork and Lace!


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GeekyGami at 8:46PM, Aug. 28, 2022

I've done something similar quite often, minus the whole two panels in one as a zoom-out, it's an interesting idea for sure. I don't really think of the comic in terms of being bound by the rules of a comic however. I think looking at the overall picture outside of the context of each panel, but of the page as a whole, is important to the overall composition. It can present opportunities you might not otherwise imagine, such as, for example, the opposite of this: No gutters, a big page, with a single panel in the upper corner for context. Else, something akin to symbolism through page layout. Though I guess I come to this from mostly reading manga over comics.

skyangel at 6:43AM, Aug. 28, 2022

I always love reading your articles as it's really nice to know what is going on with other comics and artists on here. I've seen panels like this where the characters thoughts have been shown as background which gives them a very intimate feel, but in a case like this the intimacy of the moment still works really well, almost like a camera pulling back from a close up. As two separate panels it would certainly have severed that feeling. It also makes for a much more interesting looking page overall as well.

PaulEberhardt at 12:52AM, Aug. 27, 2022

I don't know if never using panel borders would count. ;) Otherwise I've never got the hang of this, myself. However, whatever this technique is called ("bifocal p.o.v"? "instant zooming out"?) it works beautifully. The thing that amazes me is that it isn't confusing - quite the opposite, actually: it makes their emotions really come out. I strongly suspect that drawing something like this wouldn't forgive mistakes: if the two zoom stages don't match each other, it won't work. A penny for itsasooz's thoughts on this.

hpkomic at 6:12PM, Aug. 26, 2022

That's a good point but also... is it a gutter? Who knows?

Teh Andeh at 3:58PM, Aug. 26, 2022

Technically, wouldn't the thick white outline breaking the close up from the last panel work as it's gutter? At least that's how I always saw it when I've done these like close up inserts in my own work.

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