Time doesn't really exist in comics. Someone can blast through multiple pages in seconds, or linger on one panel for years. Well, that would be rare. But you see what I'm saying.
What if you want to make your readers slow down? To give your pages the pace you want?
We may have discussed this around the site, but the first and simplest way to do it is to eliminate the dialogue on a panel or page. This forces the reader to, well, not read. They have to look at the pictures to absorb what's going on. This often slows things down.
Well, not necessarily; a wordless page of action packed panels might feel fairly fast paced. But it will still create more immersion in what's going on.
This is the same idea. If a picture has more detail, it can cause the eye to wander around the page, absorbing everything in the panel, especially if the effort is bolstered by a lack of dialogue.
Aspect to Aspect
This type of panel transition is covered in Scout Mcloud's Understanding Comics/Making Comics books. Several panels, showing different aspects of the scene, can slow things right down as well as pulling readers into the environment. Imagine a scene inside a restaurant…(no, I'm not gonna draw it! Who has that kinda time??)
Panel One: A couple at a table, laughing
Panel Two: Two wine glasses clink together
Panel Three: Closeup of a knife slicing into a steak
Panel Four: A waiter walks along, tray in hand
Panel Five: …
…Etcetera. Moving aspect to aspect can slow things down, even with smaller panels.
A borderless panel that has no “frame”, with the image going to the edge of the page (literal or web page), can again force the reader to slow down and take it all in, whereas framed panels will tend to be taken in more quickly.
These are the techniques that come to mind to slow down time in a comic. They can be used in combination, especially with the no dialogue (or minimal dialogue) thing. Too much dialogue might keep the focus on the words and make it less likely the reader will slow down.
Or that's my theory at least.
Have you used techniques like this to slow things down or create a deeper connection to what's going on in your comic? Are there other techniques you think would work?
See you next time!
take ‘er slow, y’all!
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Banes at 12:00AM, Nov. 16, 2023
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