Comic Book
Page Composition

In creating a good comic there are many aspects to consider.  Comic Book Page Composition is one.  One of the main goals I have with Online Comic Heroes other than to promote my own comic book series, is to inspire and help other comic book creators.  Throughout this section of Comic Book Resources, I want to share the very best advice and articles that I can.  This lesson on composition actually comes strait from a photography principal.

You can be a strong artist, and have great work however if you lay out a panel or page incorrectly you cut the effectiveness of your story.  Just as the script needs to flow well, the image needs to draw you in and help the flow of the page. Using effective composition is the key.  Avoid placing the subject directly in the center of the page or panel.  Instead imagine the panel divided like a tic-tac-toe board. 

Painters and Photographers use this technique, my wife shared this with me. Place your subject at the intersecting points of the game board.  The eye registers the image better and it makes the whole image flow much better.  Give consideration to the dialogue bubbles.  You do not want to put a lot of work into your art and have a key element of the picture blocked by a word bubble.  So build in space for the dialogue that will follow, that is where having the image shifted away from the center helps.

My wife shared this next part with me just this morning. Placing the subject matter on the left and the dialogue to the right draws in the eye much better. With the exception of Japanese comics, we read left to right.  There will always be times that you will make exceptions to the rules.  What I am sharing is a guideline for comic book page composition, but not set in stone.

I have enlarged the last image to see it better. The character is in the lower left side and the dialogue balloons do not block too much of the image, but act to draw the eye in.  One of the things you can do is look at the artwork of successful artists working right now.  See how they compose the panels in their work.  Every once in a while I will come across a page or cover that just seems to get everything right visually.  I try to incorporate what I see into the work I am creating.  Look for a good instructional book if you need more help.  There are a number of them available.  I will include a few options below the diagram example.

Comic Book Page Composition: Example

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