Researching Comics

I myself, am a huge fan of super hero comics, particular the world of DC Comics, infact here are a small amount of my comics



I love the stories, but what has always grabbed me about these is the artwork itself, there is nothing more captivating than graphic novels, in my opinion.

As much a love the great heroes such as Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, i do love seeing a woman kick some ass. I have loved Wonder Woman since childhood, probably partly because when i was very ill in hospital and began to recover nurses had a habit of calling me their ‘little wonder woman’. Which as a curious child made me want to find out what was so wonderful about this wonder woman and so my comic adoration began.

What i need to research more of is comic book layout and use of colour and how emotions can be portrayed with a page of images.

A website that has helped me is and here is some of the information from it that i found useful when thinking about creating a comic.

Comic Panels and Comic Layout

When interested in drawing comic art, usually people go for comics in panels. Now, the comic panels is considered to be a single frame in a multiple-panel sequence you find in stories in comic books or comic strips, or if the single panel contains the whole thing like in newspapers, then the panel is the story (or usually joke) itself, and is called a “single panel comic”. When talking about panels in comic strips, these comic panels are distributed within the pages of the book, and will be the house for your drawing and storyline. People who are just beginning to make comic strips usually overlook the basic considerations that every comic book artist should be able to make. Fact is it’s not all about the drawing. You should also consider comic paneling,comic  layout, and the storyline of course. The art of good comic paneling is one of the fundamental skills every comic book artist cannot live without.

First up, panel sizes depend on the importance of the scene you are trying to create. For example, the dramatic scene after a drastic action scene is given a big frame, while small scenes with a one-man thinking dialogue can get a smaller frame. Margins are also important when making comic panels, for one should be able to distinguish one frame from the other, and not look at it as one big frame, which would be confusing. Single lines are okay when you want to try to connect the two panels in some way, but you have to make sure that it is clear that those are two separate pieces. Usually, spaces are put in between panels to signify that they are different, but in sequence. Some people also are used to shading the next panel of the story so one can clearly distinguish that the panel is not one with the last, but is continuous.
Comic layout is just as important as the storyline. It assures the smooth transition of panels without mixing up the readers mind. There are a few guidelines to these as well to ensure that the reader will definitely be reading on until the last page.

Bubble Placing


When doing layout for comics, speech bubble placing is very important. First, you have to consider its size, and how much information or conversation you are willing to cram into that bubble. Big speech bubbles are unavoidable, but you have to make sure that they do not fill most of the panel wherein you are drawing, for even if the story line is important, you wouldn’t want your comic to seem like a book. Don’t make too large bubbles because it might get in the way of your drawing. A good idea would be to break up the bubbles into two separate panels, that way they wouldn’t take too much space, and your characters (and readers) can breathe. People break up bubbles for a lot of reasons. Aside from breaking up really long conversation pieces, they also do it to signify a break, or a pause, in the character’s “voice”. For comics have no audio involved, the reader should feel that the characters can speak, and this involves them taking a breath. Therefore, people sometimes put bubbles in another part of the panel, to signify that the thought was said after the first. Be careful with this placing that it will not confuse the reader of the sequence of the conversation.

That brings us to another thing to address when it comes to comic book layout. I’m talking about the compositional flow and dialogue sequencing, which is placing the right bubbles at the right measure of space to indicate the flow of the conversation. Different kinds of comics require different sequencing, for example, I understand that anime comics are read differently from other kinds of comics, so it’s a basic need to know what kind of comic you are making, and how readers actually read that comic. If you are an English reader, it is just natural to read from top left to bottom right, so it is essential to place the speech bubbles in a way that the reader gets the flow of the conversation easily, which would be top left to bottom right. Once they have established that, you should now be consistent all throughout the story, to avoid confusion and mix-ups. This is to ensure that the reader gets the gist of the comic even without dialogue, because the eyes are already drawn to the direction of the story flow.
By googling some images i have found some nice layouts/templates that i may take into action when designing our groups comic.
As the most important image should be the largest, i think this could be a nice way to go with one large box and two thin horizontal panels.
this page is done in black and white with strong casting shadows and shapes this could effective in a climatic scene.
Using thin vertical panels could work to our advantage if doing shots like this below
I really like this layout, it has thin horizontal panels but also has characters breaking the continuity with their heads popping in from sides of the page, i also like the eye at the bottom, not in a box at all and breaking into another panel.
this page for Batman is beautiful, the bat mobile is almost in solid black with white only were lights or high reflection is necessary. The background is made of thin lines showing motion and speed of the vehicle in a beautiful way, the rest of the story is then told in small panels beneath.
This is the most basic of all the layouts i have looked at, but it still fine and tells the story simply and effectively. Although this would be easiest, i would really like to experiment with different and unusual panelling and layouts.

When you open a comic the first thing you see isn’t the story, or the design, or even the characters, its the colour, and colour and painting is something i want to work on. I don’t want this to look like a kid coloured in between the lines, i want it to look like a work of art, like real graphic novels and comics do.

When watching youtube videos on the subject, they all work in generally the same way/process. You begin your image with you solid clean black outlines and then paint in your flat colour, its better to paint a face or something main is a deeper more desaturated colour than you want so that when you bring in your highlights the colour will have tone and depth.  To control airbrush movement more a lot of artists use the magnetic lasso tool to select the area they want to have colour so that the air brush wont blend or bleed to wear you don’t want it to go.

I am looking forward to trying these techniques with Raymond and Charlie.




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