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Get to grips with Panels

Frazer Irving explores the guts of the comic page and reveals the fundamentals for translating a script to art...

For this workshop I’m going to take you through the basic steps to creating a comic page from a professional script. There are some fundamental rules about comics’ storytelling that I often see lacking in the work of newcomers to the field, such as an awareness of how the western eye reads a comic, or knowing anything about leaving room for balloons. So what I am going to do is take you through the stages of working out ideas regarding composition, flow, rhythm, drama all in ‘thumbnail’ format, meaning the small scribbles that help the imagination get a grip on the subject.
The first thing to note about thumbnail sketches is that they are not works of art. It is unwise to be even mildly precious about these doodles, as this can impair their use to you and also inhibit any proper warming up that you need to do to get into a page.
Consider thumbnails as being like stretching before doing some exercise; if you do it properly and don’t worry about how you look when doing it, then you will be better prepared for that five-mile jog you’re planning on.
It’s the same with drawing, especially something as complex as a comic, where fancy rendering is useless if the storytelling is dud.
This page is drawn form the script to Gutsville issue 1, written by my good buddy and evil twin Si Spurrier. The script is quite dense and prescriptive, though luckily there’s very little dialogue.

From issue 14.

Click here to download the full workshop for free (PDF)
Click here to download the support files (25.42Mb)
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