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Comics 101
The latest art tips and techniques, reviews and interviews from my studio. Updated here and at World Famous Comics!

Comics 101 Archives

Comics 101 for 09/01/2005
Advice on Comic Book Page Size and Constructing Panel Layouts

I'm currently busy this month illustrating a variety of projects so for this week's Comics 101 I thought I'd share some dialogue between fellow Star Wars artist Jan Duursema and one of her fans from her official message board. Be sure to stop by her board since the sage Jedi Master herself always offers up enough art tips and advice to fill a space cruiser. Enjoy!
Hi Jan,

I'm working on my senior project now, well starting to anyway....I've been having trouble with the page layout. How many boxes are typically to a page? I know it reads left to right, top to bottom, top left to bottom right. But how do you decide where to place the boxes? And are the pages 11" x 15" originally? And how big are the "no print zone" or the black area around it?

Hi Jesse,

Quick rundown of page size--

Paper size--11" X 17"

Full bleed size--Measure in 3/4 of an inch from top and 1/2 of an inch from bottom. Measure in 1/4 of an inch from each side.

Inside of that - and no lettering generally goes outside of this inner border - measure in 3/4 of an inch on both sides. Measure in 1 and 1/8 of an inch from top and bottom.

The number of panels can vary, one to twelve? Twelve is a crazy outside number. I've seen it done, and it could be an effective tool, but it would get old real quick. I'd say generally speaking no more than 6 panels a page. And VARY your story with three, four and five panel pages.

One thing to remember - no left hand 'stacks'. That is do not stack to consecutive panels on top of one another on the left hand side. If you have to draw arrows to indicate where to read next chances are you're doing something wrong.

A right hand 'stack' is ok. The eye will naturally flow down the panels on the right side before addressing the next row of panels.

Long horizontal panels give a kind of film like feeling to a story (a widescreen look if you will).

Watch the inset panels, sometimes it is useful to border them with a thin white border unless you know the color is going to pop the panel from the others.


Thanks, Jan and good luck with your comic book artwork Jesse!


Also, I wanted to make all of you Dark Horse Comics and Jan Duursema fans aware of a new poll to choose her character Quinlan Vos as *THE* Star Wars Expanded Universe character you'd like to see Sideshow Collectibles create as a 12-inch figure. Click the following link and go vote for Quin now!


This poll will run until Friday, November 4th, 2005. Be sure to check back on Friday, November 11th, 2005 when the winning figure will be announced.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Comics 101 and I'll see you here next week for another feature!
<< 08/25/2005 | 09/01/2005 | 09/15/2005 >>

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