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Making a Web Comic Part II:  Paneling

The second most important part of a webcomic (or any comic for that matter) is paneling.  This sounds simple, but really, it’s not.  When considering a Panel layout you should consider what is happening in that Scene.

Is this an introduction, a love scene, or an action scene?  These seem to be the most common types of scenes (in my opinion).  The introduction scene generally builds up the story.  Not all introduction scenes are introducing someone, they are mostly just informative and help to further the plot.  Here is an example link

Introduction Scenes have a tendancy to be boxy, and form fitting.  Rarely do they have empty space or action lines.  They follow a concise order.  In the example above you can see that your eye easily follows the conversation because you read left to right and up to down (at least in America).  This is simple and lets your readers skim through the less important scenes, but still retain all the information needed to further the plot.  Introduction Scenes are most common and should be your main form of Paneling throughout your comic.  This puts more emphasis on the alternative scenes that you do less often.  Plus it’s easier ^_^

Love scenes don’t always express love… to put it simple they help to express emotion.  These often have free floating panels as shown in this example link

Notice how the panels seem to float and overlap depending on importance?  This is what you want in your love scenes.  Sharp angles are good for fear and anger, where as round panels are better for love and curiosity.

Most popular are the Action Scenes.  Everyone loves a bit of excitement!  These are fun to start out with in a comic because they draw the reader’s attention and curiosity.  You can never go wrong if your comic starts with an action scene, just don’t make it your main focus.  Action can get stressful if it’s there all the time, and you’ll loose your readers after 10 pages of straight action. Action scenes often have wide, unlimited panels with a few free floating panels for sequence of events as seen in this example link

Notice how the angle of the first panel follows the angle of the car, giving it more of a dramatic look.  This is something to consider while planning the composition of your comic.

So you’ve seen a few examples of good panel layout, but how do you know what’s right for your comic?

There are different methods of choosing your panels.  The beginner way is to start out with a pre-made panel and draw inside the lines.  The advanced (and much more time consuming) way is to draw all the scene/sequences you plan on putting into your page and create a panel look from it on the computer.  This is what Girl Genius does, and I find it highly appealling.

Here are some resources to some pre-made panels that I’ve done: link link link link link link link link

All of these are Introduction panels, with a slight exception on the 5th one.  It is important to do your own love and action panels because the layout should be different for each situation.  If you don’t like any of the examples I’ve given, or if they’re not quite what you’re looking for then you can make your own very easily with post-it notes!  Just go to your local Staples and you will find a wide variety of different sized post-its, even hearts!  This makes it very easy to keep your lines straight and conformed.

That’s pretty much all for now, I may add some more to this later (when I’m not going through heat stroke).  Just remember that the bigger the panel the more important that particular instance is.

© Teshia Lyndall 2007
Well, here is the long awaited Part II. Hope you enjoy!

Part I: Finding a Story
Part II: Paneling
Part III: Finding a Host and Making your website
Part IV: Advertising and Promotion
Add a Comment:
Hagaluz Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!


I've been trying to see where to start, thank you so much for this! : D


Hopefully my web comic would have lots of views! C':

marimariakutsu Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like Number 1. Hehe. THank you so much. I'll credit you for the panel~ :meow:
serbus Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
^^ no problem. Good luck with your comic!
Mikko90 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010
Wow, this is so helpful! Thanks for making this ^^
serbus Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
^^ Glad to hear you found it useful.
Morrigan1745 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2008
That's definitely great - just the thing I've been looking for! Can't wait for parts III and IV ^_^
deesse-luniare Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2007
all of this is so helpful ._.

I've been wanting to make a webcomic for ages but i had no idea where to start :']

thankyou for this :0
serbus Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, if you have any questions at all then just pm me. I had a comic running for 2 years (then I had to take it down because of money issues), so I know a bit about getting started.

Plus if you have any mini comics that end in cliff hangers then I have a group that I've started called "The Cliff Hangar Mafia". If you would like to join then I can post up to 50 pages of comic for you at my comicgenesis site.

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