This week’s tutorial focuses on the basics of making compelling panel compositions using the Comic Draw app.
The best approach to panel composition is to make sure it is pleasing to the eye and that it gets its message across clearly and interestingly. Here I have a 3 panel script with all of the credentials, titles, dialogues, sound effects and panel descriptions complete.
On Comic Draw I can work on both the script & art at the same time.
The crucial rule you should never forget- The simpler the design, the easier it will be for the reader to understand and enjoy it.
Make your designs exciting, startling, powerful- but keep them simple. As you can see in the first panel I put the hair tie up close in the foreground, the lady in the background huddled and the storm farther in the background.
The most important elements of each panel fall within the shaded areas. Though these areas seem to be abstract formations, they create unified pictures. The important elements are grouped together rather than scattered.
Sketch out the pictures with the shaded areas taking form in your mind.
Sometimes, after a picture is drawn, too many important elements fall outside the basic shaded areas. Make sure all important elements are grouped together as a pleasant, unified mass. Train your eye to find the patterns.
Find the best angle for the picture you want to illustrate for your reader.
For example in this strip:
I setup the scene with an establishing shot showing the storm, the lady and her hair tie flying away.
The second panel is a close up showing that she is in fear.
The last panel is a middle shot that has a glimpse of the hero coming to the rescue, but focuses on the main character being relieved.
Composition is where your personal storytelling skills come into play. You can take a group of artists and hand them the same script yet each and every one of them will tell the exact same story in a totally different way. The same goal is still kept in mind:
Keep your reader engaged through clear & interesting art and camera angles.
The trick in sequential art is to compose your panels in a way that each play off of each other and make all elements fit together well. You can have one really good panel that you’ve labored over but if it isn’t in harmony with the others or the elements are impeding on each other then it doesn’t work for the storytelling. Make your art impactful with smooth eye flow so the reader doesn’t get taken out of the story.
Thank you for tuning into this week’s tutorial. I hope this has been helpful for you on your comic journeys. Feel free to try your hand at the script below. I’d love to see what you come up with!
Check out the additional resources below for links to the reference material I use.
special thanks to our official sponsor Plasq for providing the invaluable app Comic Draw!
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