Arsenic Lullaby Short comics and comic book page layouts explained

in #comics5 years ago (edited)

Today I have a few comics for you, and then an explanation or breakdown of some of the techniques used in planning out a comic book page so it's not a visual mess.





There's a reason I picked those, they are good examples of a technique that is fairly important in laying out a comic book page.

A few basic things you need to know- a panel is a single frame/square…one single box. And tier is a row of panels. We read from left to right, and top to bottom. That is the path the eye is used to taking. Whenever possible the illustrations should aid the eye in going along that path, not resist it.


When the images fight the natural path the eye wants to take...that's when it can become visually taxing, to suck the reader in and capture his/her imagination.

There's a number of ways to keep the eye moving alone. Implied lines, posture of the figures, which direction a main figure is looking, which direction the movement is going in, and sometimes even the vanishing points can be used to help with this. It can be subtle though. The eye is like water, it just need a little outlet.

here's some examples...





as much as I'd like to take credit for figuring all this stuff out. I learned from others and by observing the old greats, This Fantastic Four page from Jack Kirby for example...


Oh...remember this one from earlier? You know the drill by now...


WELL there you go a glimpse into the phone books worth of things that go into crafting a story in comic book form. There's a lot of other things, mood, timing, ect...and some of those will supersede the path of the eye when advantageous to do so. I don't know if this bored the hell out of you or not, but if it didn't I can show you more stuff some other time.



Oh, yeah...never too soon to start reminding you to come see me at Comic-Con International next month! Booth2200! (more info later)


Awesome - I would never ever have recognized that pattern, but now it totally makes sense.

Glad you found it interesting. I was concerned it was a bit of a dry explanation, but yeah every field has it's own techniques and foundations. Music, comedy, writing, engine repair, they all have a foundation of knowledge that the end results stem from.

Haha, I even have to admit, I didn´t read the text first. The arrows were enough explanation to understand the concept :P

That's cool. I read Understanding Comics recently. I'm not sure if it mentioned this technique.

I'm not sure if it did. Will Eisner did a book to that's pretty good. I might have picked that technique up originally from an articlue about Carl Bark's Scrooge McDuck gotta learn from any place you can y'know.

Could you recommend any other books or articles on that kind of comic theory? I love how in Comics you have these kind of unique storytelling principles and even if I don't use them, I would at least love to know about them, while reading other peoples works :)

I had a giant binder at one point full or articles and stuff I culled, and interviews where some master would mention something...but that's not going to do you much good. Will Eisner and Scott Mccloud both did some good books on the matter ( I forget the titles, but they are easy to find in a search). Here's a link to some other blogs I did on it...I haven't looked at them in pretty much since I wrote them, so they might be filled with typos or even be missing pictures from when I lost some files. But they're might be a thing or two worth looking at

Thanks man! I have all of Scott McClouds books and those really changed my perception about the whole medium, but I definitely have to check out the ones by Will Eisner as well! Definitely going to read your articles :)

Here’s a good book.
I also just highly recommend most of the output from TwoMorrows publishing. Draw Magazine is excellent!

All of the comic tutorials are really cool but I was just dying reading the Buzz Aldrin one, haha. I've seen that video before. So great.

Good to hear you like that one! I spent Waaaaay too much time trying to get the landing craft drawn right, haha

That's the worst thing about comics! You spend forever drawing something and people just quickly scan the drawing while reading the words.... :p

yup, I tell myself that subconsciously they notice and appreciate it