View Full Version : Storytelling 101

05-15-2003, 05:52 PM

Ok. This is my attempt to let you in on what I've learned through studying comic books for years. Hopefully, it can be something to think about the next time you open a comic book.

Using MS Paint, I can illistrate examples of what I am ranting about.

Let's first talk about panel divisions.


Four ways people setup comic book panels. These are the basic puzzle pieces that make up comic books.

The horizontal panel is used by many nowdays. They just divide the page using only horizontal panels. Mark Texaria is only one example I can think about that uses this type of layout. The advantage is that it is similar to the aspect ratio you get when you see a movie.

Equally divisioned panels are also common. Most common in older comics. Jack Kirby use to have his pages with the panels allready printed on them. That way he didn't have to draw them. This is also effective because each panel stands alone. No panel stands out alone in this sequence. Each panel gets the same attension.

Sometimes panels get greedy though. They want more attension, so they have to get more space than other panels get. This is good if you want a particular moment in the story to stand out.

The horizontal and vertical divisions are commenly used by Manga artists. Adam Warren uses this type of sequence a lot. Sometimes you need a taller panel to excentuate the height of a building or room. Sometimes it can just help keep a page fresh.

The insert panel I've most commonly seen in the Kubert Family. Joe Kubert uses this especially in his Tor comic. It's good for when you want to go into a close-up of something allready in the shot.

These are just the main puzzle pieces folks. I will continue to disect comics in this thread. Hopefully this is informative for some of you.

I plan to go into further detail on subjects such as:

using the pieces to complete a page

panel to panel flow

panel to panel do's and don'ts

typical breakdowns

ploting pages

Jeremy Colwell
05-16-2003, 12:59 AM
Good idea putting together something analytical like this. I think a formal understanding of the medium is important to those of us who draw sequentials. I'll be interested to see what you do for some of your topics listed for the future. Good luck.

05-16-2003, 01:03 AM
Hell yeah, keep it comin'!!


This is exactly the sort of thing I've been struggling with lately, so anything analytical like this is helpful in getting you to really understand the process.


05-16-2003, 11:51 AM
lesson 1

Ok. This is where the hype usually stops. Since I don't have a scanner, I gotta do this with mspaint. But it's still a valid point.

This may not sound like much, but when you spend the time to make a good solid establishing shot, where the spacial relationships are shown, it makes it so easy to draw the next panel, because then you can just zoom in and use that information to draw the next panel.

It makes it easy because you've allready drawn it, and as a tight close-up, it is a nice transition for the eyes from a medium shot to a tight shot.



Panel Variety is a double edge sword. It's tricky, but you can also use it to your advantage. Use it the right way and you don't have to draw so much detail panel after panel. It's tough on your hand and tough on the eyes.

But be careful and don't change the angle too dramatically, otherwise it will create a jump-cut and it will be a headache for the eye.

05-17-2003, 01:15 AM
Ben you old fart, sticky this damn thread before it gets lost!!! :D
This uncovers a lot headaches I've gotten when I've attempted at creating a page. There's probably a lot more I'm missing, but simplifying the dynamics of panel-by-panel storytelling makes it sooo much easier to understand. You oughta makes this into a tutorial or something. ;)

05-17-2003, 12:49 PM

I wrote this ninja turtle script that Alric so brilliantly illustrated.

These are semi-big files, so I've left them as links to keep this page easy to load.

Pg. 4
The first two panels we go from a two shot to a close up of April. Then the next two panels we cut back to dexter, then go in closer so we can finally see Baxter. This is also a good time for to point out entrances.

Sometimes, its good to tease the audience, and not show what the character looks like until the final payoff. I'll elaborate on making an entrance later.

The first two panels here, we have a two shot with Bax and the Turtles. Then we cut to a close up of the hand and button. The next two panels its a reversal for what I've done before. Now it's the reveal. It's a close-up shot of the door opening, then we pull back to reveal the chaos.

So just keep in mind how cool the zoom transitions can be. It's good because it's easy to draw the close-up from the establishment shot, and it's good because it helps with panel variety.

05-20-2003, 12:29 PM
Let's talk about anchor panels. I first heard this term when watching either Wilce Portacio's or Jim Lee's starbur home video COMIC BOOK GREATS video tape. It's the emphasis of a moment. By making special room for particular moments. Whilce emphasised 2 moments. But for this review, I was inspired by looking at Jim Lee's Batman#613 and Divine Right #6. Not required reading by the way, but still a good read.

Let's get started.

A) works well if you want to build up to something. And introduction, where the first 3 panels the figure is mysterious. Or the timer is clicking and the bomb finally goes off.

B) works well as a page turner. Both A and B were used above on the ninja turtles examples and I think they were used very effectively.

C) is also used as a good introduction or page turner.

D) But if you revers it it can be tricky. You got flow problems. Your not sure where to read after panel one. Letter ballons are your only safety in doing this effectively. Lettering can be very helpful in leading the eye on the right path. But be careful when using this type. You could also help the flow by making the first two small panels one big panel, so the eye flows smoothly from left to right.

E) I notice a lot of people use this setup when doing double page spreads. When you try this setup on a normal page, it gets a bit squishy and claustraphobic. When used on a double page spread, it becomes a very nice space tool.


05-20-2003, 02:35 PM
Let's write a comic book story. If you are planning on sending original submissions, it helps to have a bit of writing knowledge.

I like to call it plotting, because it makes it easier for Artist's to feel free to tweak things. If a writer has the whole page planned out in their head, they better draw a thumbnail, otherwise, give artist's creative control with panal arrangements. I prefer thumbnails, because it helps the writer with writing visual stories. If it's too hard to draw, change the script.

People say stories should have a beginning middle and end. I allways thought that was so stupid. What were they talking about? But then I thought of it in another way. You gotta have a story with a good beginning, a good plot, and you have to end it right.

The beginning of the story, you gotta hook the readers in. Especially here on penciljack. How do we get them to notice? SUSPENSE. Make them wonder what's going to happen next. Look at Scream. The first scene, Drew Berrymore gets whacked. That set-up the whole movie. Hook the readers in by getting to the point. And make them want to turn the page to find the solutions.

The plot. The guts. There are tons of plots. You can look in the TV GUIDE or just summarize existing plots.

Try ripping off the classics.

Alice in Wonderland has inspired so many stories. She is in a normal world, but follows a rabbit to this whole other underground world that no one knows about. She's out of her element and just wants to get back home. The Matrix is probably the biggest example of the first part. Then we got pleanty of fish out of water trying to get home movies such as Black Hawk Down, Cast Away, Back to the Future, E.T.

Frankenstien. Man creates life. We got movies such as Edward Scissorhands, A.I., Robocop, even comic books such as Madman and Deathlock.

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. A man changes into a monster. We got the Incredible Hulk, Akira, The Shining, The Fly. Even wolfman and vampyre stories. And Superman to some degree.

King Kong or Godzilla. Some big monster attacks the city. People gotta stop it. Ghostbusters and Honey I Blew Up the Baby both did this pretty well.

Other catagories include:

Mob Heists? Oceans Elleven. Pulp Fiction. It's good to see criminals succeed or fail.

Who Done It's? Murder mysteries. Clue was a great movie. So was Psycho.

GET IT BACK. Something is gone and you want to back. In Ransom Mel Gibson wants his kid back. In Star Wars, Luke wants to save the princess.

STOP A MADMAN. We got the whole horror genre. Michael, Jason, Freddy, Chucky, Speed, Psycho, Akira.

Endings are tough but simple. You have to answer any question the readers might have about what happened. Tie up all those loose ends.

Ok. Let's do a horror comic.

Anyways, how many pages should it be? Average 22? I don't have that good of experience, so to make it easier on me, lets make it a four page story for this example.

Let's break it down.

ROUND ONE. THE EASIEST PART. Just number pages 1-thru-whatever to break it down.


ROUND TWO. SIMPLE STORY BREAKDOWN. The meat of the story. Introduce what the situation is and how to end it.

Page 1. Let's cut to the chase. Two teens get hacked up. We introduce the killer.

Page 2. Police arrive at the scene, they make the call to the old detective gets the call. More victems have been found. So he goes to the airport.

Page 3. More victems get killed. A slaughter.

Page 4. The final showdown. The detective arrives and saves the day.


Ok. Let's treat each page like a chapter. They say each story needs a beginning, middle, and end. Well, to some degree, each page of a comic book needs it's own beginning, middle, and end. (even each panel has a piece of the beginning, middle, or end, but I'll expand that later.)

Page 1. Establish where the teens are in the first panel- a car making out in the hills. Next we'll cut closer to the guy putting the moves on the girl but she's resisting. Next panel, they hear a noise. Next, they go check it out. Next, the killer comes out and....

SUSPENSE...turn the page.

NOTICE: By the way, we don't show a detailed drawing of the killer, because we want to keep that a suprise. Another suspense factor. We will reward the readers at the end. This helps keep them turning those pages.

Page 2. The police arrive, their car is found, but they are searching for the bodies. Next, they find them and an officer tells the rookie to get Detective Don on the phone. Next, Don is in his home office, on the phone. Next, he's in an airplane.

Page 3. Kids are having a party in a cabin close-by the murder scene (most likely an exterior shot). Next, interior, we show the three teens partying, a Jock Jake and Cheerleader girlfriend Jessie and the virgin tag-a-long nerd-girl friend Judy, so of coarse the couple is making out while Judy is just reading a book when there's a knock on the door so jake says he'll get it, hoping it's not his Uncle. Next, an officer is at the door telling them about the situation and thinks they should skip town, but of coarse they don't. Next, the virgin asks the Jock who was at the door, and he says not to worry about it. Next, the stoners disappear in the back room leaving the lonely virgin, the cheerleader whispers sorry smiling guiltily as they walk to the next room. Next, the stoners are happy making out, but from the closet comes the killer with knife in hand...SUSPENSEFUL PAGE TURNER...

Page 4. (I'm running out of room so I have to really get to the point here.) Back in the living room, a big scream is heard, and the Virgin is really freaking out. NEXT, she sneaks up to open the door and since it. Next, a two shot of her and the killer. Next she runs away. Next, she's trapped in the corner, the shadow of the figure hovers over with knife in hand. Next, the door busts open, its Don the Detective, and his gun is aimed at the killer. NEXT, the killer is getting blasted away. NEXT, the girl hugs don as the killer lays dead on the floor and Don explains to her who the killer is and why he did it and how he knew he'd show up here.

The end.

Now you might be asking if this is hard to draw. Well, I've done crappy thumbnails to make sure it works, and I'll post them as soon as I can make some descent looking ones.

05-20-2003, 02:37 PM
That's good stuff, yeah... :D

Your method for breakdowns is pretty good... I never thought to do it that way. I'm definitley going to play with this technique for plotting out a book and see if it makes things easier for me.

Don't worry about this thread fading away folks, I think this one's destined for a sticky.

Super Rats
05-22-2003, 08:57 AM
Helpful stuff. If you got more, that would be really cool.:)

05-22-2003, 04:03 PM

This is the first okay looking layout for page one of the horror story above. Being the writer, I can change things as I go. And I think that's how it should be. Even if the artist isn't the writer. I'm not talking about changing the whole script. But artists should be able to tell the story the way they want to. If the story can flow better in less panels, or more, in a particular angle, or particualar panel size, it's up to the artist. But if the artist is stuck, that's where the layouts come in handy. A nice little guide to help em out.


Instead of having both of them get out of the car, I had the guy go alone instead. Originally, I thought the killer should have a knife, but then I remembered a character I drew that had a butcher's knife as his signature weopan (THE BUTCHER).

The script will read this:

Panel 1:
Caption: LOVERS LANE, 11:13 P.M.


Panel 2:



Panel 3:


Panel 4:


Panel 5:

I also like to save the final dialogue for last for several reasons.

As a writer, I have the habbit of constantly re-writing. So by saving it for last, I have the freedom to keep changing things till the very last minute.

I also like reacting to how the artist drew a particular scene. I had no idea that Jack would be cocky in the last panel until I drew him, so now I can change the dialogue to that.

But this is a personal preference, because I've never heard of a writer waiting till the last minute, but it works for me. I personally love how a story evolves from plot to pencils to inks to colors to the final lettering and writing. Maybe it's a sloppy way to do comics, but I enjoy it.

05-22-2003, 08:49 PM
Actually I think the classic "Marvel Way" involves leaving the dialogue until after the artwork is finished.

05-23-2003, 12:49 AM
Oh yeah. Oops.

I won't go so far as to say I've invented any type of method from now on. I'm just sharing the ones that work the easiest for me. Little tricks that I've been slowly gathering for years. So hopefully I can skip some long boring steps for you guys.

The next topic I want to share with you guys is:

Backgrounds Made Easy. By just practicing Doors, Windows, and Stairs can help so much. Having trouble figuring out a background? Throw in a window. Throw in some stairs. Or throw in a window. Or a table or rug. These all help fill the frame and make each panel more homely.

Paths help move your story along. Sidewalks, streets, and hallways all help move the story along. These are the fillers. The in between panels you need to transition to the next part of the story better. If your character is walking home from school, a simple shot of him walking down an endless sidewalk is all you need. Then the next panel you can show him walking in the door of the house.

The sidewalk is the path, and the door is the gateway.

05-28-2003, 09:02 PM
Here's an example of a transition panel using a sidewalk as the path.


I've linked this pic to make this thread faster to view.

05-28-2003, 10:03 PM
In a very real visual sense, becasue the shape of the path connects the first and third panels, making a visual connection that supports and strengthens the unconcious one.

More, more, more...


05-29-2003, 12:18 AM

Here's another big-ish pic to show you guys my typical room layout.

Here's a pic of a room with a door a window, and stairs. But then there's secondary things I allways add. I allways have a picture hanging on the wall, and I allways have a throw rug. These help liven up dead space. And they also give clues if you want to cut to a closer shot.

Also, with this type of page, there's several options for the character to go. They can go outside. They can go upstairs, or look out the window.

The same way paths are so valuable. It helps with the transition to the next panel.

Think of all the paths you use daily. You want to take a stroll to your local park. You use the sidewalk.

If you want to drive to work or school. You take a bus or car and go on the streets or highways.

Your at school. You need to get to the next class. You gotta walk through the hallways.

Paths and Hallways, lead into limitless Gateways and Rooms. These paths are the secret trick to easier panel transitions.

Combine this with panel variety and you got good visuals. And I hope you guys who draw all learn to plot stories, because good storytelling starts with a good story.

Also, remember Will Eisner's golden rule. EACH NEW PANEL MUST ADVANCE THE STORY.

So have your characters either talk, do something, or go somewhere.

I'm all over the place in this post. So, I hope this makes sense. Either this is helpful, or I'm having a mental breakdown. Possibly both.

06-03-2003, 03:12 PM
WOW!!! My first sticky thread!!! I'm not worthy...

I was just about to finish this post off with a final conclusion. But I might get some ideas later, so I'll do a brief summary of the main points I want you guys to take with you.

Really it's only two simple rules that you have to remember.

IT ALL STARTS WITH AN IDEA. This is the most important thing that separates a sketchbook from a comic. Learn to PLOT.

Why do you like comics? What stories are your favorite to read? How about doing a story like that. I know I'm not the only one who's played with their toys as a kid. It's a start.

And if you can't figure out an ending, write a cliffhanger. Make them get on your case to keep drawing the ending.

Reward your readers by GETTING TO THE POINT. Make a lot happen on a page. Splashes and spreads are still good, but use it for a good entrance or an important moment.

Keep them guessing what's going to happen next. Make them want to turn those pages.

BUT... you better reward them for reading your story and turning those pages. Give them a good ending that ties up all the loose ends. Too much suspense with nothing being solved and readers may lose interest.
PANEL VARIETY. Don't draw the same shot over and over and over. Readers get bored very quickly. So, you gotta keep their attension.

Think panel to panel transitions. If you draw a tight close-up in panel one, in panel two, let's let the readers breathe with a wide shot. Or a two shot.

Look up on any search engine and find Wally Wood's 22 panels that allways work. Print it out and keep in in a binder for reference. Draw these panels. They will help you keep it fresh for the readers.

Here's a link to one link that I found.


If the link doesn't work, search for it, and there's allways some site that has it.



Also, if anyone wants to talk about comics or wants a co-plotter to work for free, let me know. I just want to help people out and make comics. Seeing the end result is the big payoff for me.

And thanks again for the people of penciljack for making this thread a STICKY! I really hope this is of some use to people.

Thanks Inkthinker!
And thanks, Aridante, for suggesting it in the first place.

Saturn Lad
06-03-2003, 07:04 PM
I had found a big copy and posted it up a while ago, but I guess it fell off the list with time. Maybe it will find a new home in your sticky. :)

Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work (http://www.saturnstudio.com/comics/graphics/22panels_large.gif) (320KB)

06-04-2003, 01:08 AM
Wow. That's super big. Thanks.

06-12-2003, 02:38 AM
Very informative....I have also found that if you want to learn the art of constructing a paneled page that sticks to the story being told it's a good idea to study old comics. Some of the stuff they did back then is still used today. Also if you can get you hands on some manga would also be nice.

06-22-2003, 02:07 AM
UPDATE:This one may take a bit to load.


07-18-2003, 06:05 PM
Let's rant about:



Divide a page up into a whole bunch of narrow squishy panels and sketch around with the extra or limited space you get. It's good practice, because you never know when you need to add a panel into your page that won't normally fit. Plus, a narrow panel can free up room on a page for the bigger shots to be more effective.

These panels are also useful for a quick establishing shot. Like a skyline or something. So let's not underestimate the power of the squishy panel.

Liefeld, McFarlane, and Larsen are just a few who use these panels very often. So if you got any books by them, look for them and see how they use them.

And Sergio Argones uses this very effectively when he sketches those little toons on the borders of mad magazine pages.

The tall narrow panels are especially effective to show the hight of buildings or cliffs.
By the way, let me know if this page take a long time to load, so I can change some images to links to keep this a descent thread load time.

And thanks for all of you guys for clicking on this. I still got more. And if anyone else has a good tip to share for this thread, go for it. Put it here, or start your own thread. This is just information that I've gathered. I'm sure I don't know everything.

07-18-2003, 08:55 PM
Good point, though it would seem that if you thumb your pages out cleanly, you can avoid situations that require you to draw extra panels unexpectedly.

It's always a good idea to practice drawing panels that are restricted to confined spaces though, because sooner or later it WILL come up.

07-25-2003, 03:10 PM
My next chapter will be about The power of THE FLOW.

Ian Miller
07-25-2003, 10:41 PM
Very cool posts, dude! I like your layouts and stuff. They'll be a big help for me when I draw sequentials. Keep up the good work!

08-21-2003, 01:02 PM

Ok. Unless we're reading some authentic (non-mirrored) Manga, usually we read from left to right. So that means you have to draw from left to right. The paths that the characters take must move from left to right.

But there are exceptions. End panels, panels on the right such as panel 3,4,and 7, you can change the angle and lead the viewers eye back to the left. So these end panels let you break that rule!!! Either way works with those panels.

Here I did a quick chase scene to show how you can align the characters path movements to the reader's eye flow.

09-03-2003, 01:17 PM
Now let's talk about character sheets.

This is very helpful in keeping your characters consistant. Some people draw all sorts of facial expressions, but let's just start with the basic. A front view, and a side view.

I remember marvel had three hole punched character sheets they use to sell. And in HOW TO DRAW THE MARVEL WAY, Mr. Fantastic, and Invisible Woman were drawn this way. It's good to do your own versions, so you can adapt your drawing ability (or"style"if you will) to the characters.

Also, I found it much easier when you draw part of the front view, and part of the side view, then keep switching back and forth. I did an animated gif to give you an idea of what I'm babbling about.

(linked to save download time)

09-11-2003, 02:33 PM


Ok. This really has nothing to do with storytelling, but it's still good to know. This chart shows how emotion can be created just mixing different eyes with different mouths.

The first are just two dots for eyes. So it doesn't really add too much when you mix that with all the mouths.

But when angry eyes mixed with a:
SMILE-you get an evil grin.
FROWN-you get a typical angry face.
BIG SMILE-you get an evil grin.
GRITTING TEETH-you get someone who's P.O.ed
OPEN MOUTH-you get an angry yell.

When squinty eyes are mixed with a:
SMILE-sucking on a lemon never tasted so good.
FROWN-He's holding in some nager.
BIG SMILE-Evil laughing again.
GRITTING TEETH-This man's in some serious pain.
OPEN MOUTH-He's crying.

When wide open eyes are mixed with a:
SMILE-You get a nervous smile. How most guys look at pretty girls.
FROWN-He's holding emotion back. Someone just told him he's got six months to live.
BIG SMILE-Very happy. Almost psychotic.
GRITTING TEETH-That's sick. The face I remember most kids having in biology class.
OPEN MOUTH-"That's sick" to the next level.

When tired eyes are mixed with a:
SMILE-This guy just woke up next to a super model.
FROWN-Jaba the hut face. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed and is cranky now.
BIG SMILE-Tired, but watching some funny television. The eleventh hour of a Twighlight Zone marathon perhaps.
GRITTING TEETH-He's trying to smile, even though he's not in the mood.
OPEN MOUTH-Yaaaaaaaaaaaahn. Makes me yahn every time I look at this face.

When worried eyes are mixed with a:
SMILE-He's in love.
FROWN-But she has a boyfriend.
BIG SMILE-There's pleanty of other fish in the sea. (Yeah right)
GRITTING TEETH-But that was his fish!
OPEN MOUTH-He shouldn't have reheated that sushi. I think he's gonna hurl!!!

Anyways, I hope this helps someone out. If not, well at least it entertained me. I'll just keep watching those views wrack up as I find more tips for you guys.

dustin griffin
10-05-2003, 04:22 AM
WOW! this is really a great thread. I was trying to think of something to add but I can't because everything has been covered. I don't know if this has been mentioned but keeping the object of the panel away from the center can be pretty important, but it can also be broken evry once in a blue moon for added effect. Here is an example:
http://www.angelfire.com/comics/dustingriffin/PAGE2.jpg I centered the object in the first panel to give it a movie scene effect. This is the moment we reveal who the president is and having him look you dead in the eye worked well i think.

Also, someone mentioned Sergio Aragones. On a note related to this topic I asked Mr. Aragones how he was able to incorporate such an incredible amount of detal (like the background characters), He said he skips around all over the place doing them a little at a time.

One more thing. That Wally Wood 22 Panels is great! Thanks for listing the link :D

10-11-2003, 06:30 PM
Thanks for replying, Dustin. And your lesson is an important reminder to everyone reading this. EVERY RULE CAN BE BROKEN, as long as everything is clear and easy to understand.

Sergio is amazing how he can tell so much of a story without using any words in Mad Magazine. And he's extremely fast at it too.

Also, thanks for posting your own chapter. I think anyone who wants to expand or add anything should feel free to.


10-17-2003, 04:45 PM
Great thread! Though I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Will Eisner's Comics & Sequential art and Sequential Storytelling books! (Maybe that's just considered a given?)

These things are the Bible for comic artists. I'd also encourage hunting down copies of the 1970's Warren magazines SPIRIT reprints. Will pioneered many of the techniques that you see today and seeing them up big in magazine format and in black & white really makes for great study. (I think the hardcover Spirit Archives won't catch up to where Will returned from the war and started his amazing run until vol. 12...)

For more modern page layouts I'd suggest studying the work that Bissette & Totleben did in Swamp Thing back in the late 1980's. They did some amazing layouts and show better than anything else I can think of off the top of my head, how art can synchrionize with text to create "eye-flow" through a page. They also show extremely impressive use of anchor panels and all the other concepts that have been talked about in this thread.

These are just some things I've found useful to study and thought I'd mention. :)


10-22-2003, 12:41 AM
I'm a huge Eisner fan and do own quite a few of the reprints. But I started this thread as my personal tips that I've discovered (thru books or experimenting or studying). My mental jumping jacks that help me layout a page. And I'm still not a pro and still strive to achieve the PRO quality.

These are just the tips I've been learning along the way to figure out this whole comic thing. Stuff that I wish I could go back through time and teach myself to save quite a few years.

Naming books is helpful, but for this thread I think naming examples from books would be more appropriate.

Thanks for the SwampThing example. I'll try to hunt down that stuff when I get the chance.

10-23-2003, 10:51 PM
Now let's talk about INKING.

It's not simply tracing. It's TRANSLATING. Check out Bob Mcloud's website. His before and after examples shows just how much the artwork changes durring the process.


He adds so many blacks to balance the page, and does the little things to improves John Buscema's pencils. Definately inspiring. Does it still look easy? Try it. And see how just tracing the original pencils just doesn't work. You gotta know how to put on the finishing touches on that page to see print.

I emailed Bob to ask for his permission to use his link, and luckily he let me know about another site, that had various inkers before and after, but I just checked rescently (5-29-2006) and the ink section is gone.


This site had different professional inkers, among them Penciljack's very own Robin Riggs. All the inkers describe the process they went through to inking a page. Super informative stuff.

However, be sure to check out Methane's tuturial. He covers pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about doing a full sequential page. Very informative.

Paul Brian DeBerry
10-27-2003, 12:56 PM
this stuff is really great. ever think of dedictating a web site to this?

Paul Brian DeBerry
10-27-2003, 12:58 PM
my bad just noticed that you did just that...:rolleyes:

10-28-2003, 12:43 AM
The website is just a ruse so they don't think I'm just storing files on their server. And it's another way for people to find out about my "project".

I'm glad you like it. Each new positive response keeps me going at this. And it's a very cool feeling that this is actually helping some people.

If I can get around to it, my next update will hopefully be about body posture. Will I have time on my day off? Find out in a few days.

10-29-2003, 01:21 PM
Hey, I got around to it. Wow.

Ok. Here's another crappy MS Paint example (good lord, I need a scanner) hopefully illustrating how BAD POSTURE and SURFACE CONTACT help your poses come to life. I think it adds that extra touch of realism and it helps keep your poses from allways looking so stiff.

Our bodies are on a constant battle, fighting the evil forces of gravity. We can't all have perfect posture all the time.

As for surface contact, riding a bus to work, I can view people waiting for the bus. Some stand with arms folded. Some lean on poles or walls. Some sit.

When I draw, my arms touch the surface of the table I draw on. When you stand, your feet obviously make surface contact with the ground.

On a side note, this also illustrates how using drop shadows (and using NOISE as tones) can help pop out artwork. And how blacking out some things help balance out a page.


12-11-2003, 05:07 AM
I dont know who told anybody that not centering is a rule. I think this is rather silly. If anyone cares to do so check out the film the Royal Tenanbaums and watch how may times the characters are centered. I think you will be pleasantly(or not so pleasantly) surprised.

If you want to check out some major directors who use centering copnstantly try George Lucas, Darren Aronofsky and Akira Kurasowa.

Study these people people! Film making follows the same set of rules that sequential art does.

12-11-2003, 12:46 PM
Originally posted by EddieChingLives

On a side note, this also illustrates how using drop shadows (and using NOISE as tones) can help pop out artwork. And how blacking out some things help balance out a page.

ONe of the ways to use Noise as a tone for separating surfaces is by illustrating it (I mention this only because the tone in Eddie's examples here almost resemble computer tones or Zip-tone). Just the use of small hatch marks, stipple or hatching/crosshatching can create effective surface textures and tone that separates surfaces.

Saturn Lad
12-12-2003, 02:45 AM
Originally posted by J.Glover
Film making follows the same set of rules that sequential art does.

This is true to a limited extent, but there are a number of areas in which they differ. When dealing with static, unmoving images there have come into being a number of "recommendations" to follow in composing an image. For example, the rule of thirds, where an image is broken into thirds both vertically and horizontally. The center of interest is then placed on one of the intersecting points, which often creates more visually appealing compositions.

Another is the "golden rule", which states that the most important area of an image is located near the bottom right corner of the picture, roughly one fourth of the image height up and one fourth of the image width to the left. This takes advantage of the viewers natural tendency to start from the upper left and work their way down to the lower right, where their attention will be unconsciously held for the longest time.

Neither one of these "rules" is relevent for moving pictures, but they are critical for a graphic artist to learn from. While I agree that the cartoonist can learn much from the film-making craft (I have several filmography books myself), it is as important to see the differences as it is to see the similarities.

01-06-2004, 01:06 PM

Ok. Here's another crappy example, but hopefully it helps illustrate the importants of how:


It's true what people say. That's why so many offices have plants, and why people bring flowers to people. It just adds to it.

So when your drawing the outside, draw a bush or some palm trees or pine trees. When indoors, draw a plant in a pot. Just to liven things up.

I know plants are boring, but it is something to think about. I promise I'll have something more exciting to talk about for next time.

06-05-2004, 05:34 PM
Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been bizy with my DAYJOB as a truck driver, which doesn't leave me with a lot of online time.

But here's some more tips I think might help the average sketcher help improve their finished art.
When you draw your sketches, draw a frame around your characters. You can draw the frame before you start a drawing or after. But either one can help you see how to setup a frame. How you can arrange things to surround your frame. And also, framing lets you draw things that run off the frame. Which means you don't have to draw so much and let's you get away with it more. So put those boxes around those sketches.

Also, when you are done with a sketch, look it over, and think of something clever for the character to say. Then, give him a letter balloon and a caption. This will help you practice lettering. You don't have to just do balloons, you can also do a caption box like Los Vegas, NV 2029.

This way, you can practice both lettering and how to fill a panel.

And don't forget the art of blacking out and tones. This helps complete the drawing and give it that finished look. Blacking out especially. Try to pick out how much is blacked out from your favorite comic books or comic strips. You'd be suprised. I allways black out a drop shadow, their hair, or either the pants or the t-shirt of my characters. One, not both, because I want that black n white contrast. And I usually black out a background object, such as bushes or a silouette of a palm tree or a telephone pole.

Check out this example:
So there's some tips for ya' guys that might help you when it comes to looking at a blank page. Turn those doodles into finished art. Do some doodles in a sequence, such as the zoom in or out in the next panel, and voila. You turned a sketch into sequential art.

Keep those pencils, pens, mice, and tabs moving and keep cranking out your artwork and picking apart the comics you read. I draw wherever I go. I buy lots of Papermate pens (10 for 90cents) and bring a small sketchpad or find a napkin to draw on. Drawing what I see around me has helped me so much with backgrounds.

So keep drawing people!!! Build those portfolios! Build those resumes! Write and Create those short stories! Keep sending those Submissions! And keep practicing on sample scripts or writing your own!

Ian Miller
06-05-2004, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the tips, Eddie. I remember you telling me about these a while ago.

And it's nice to see you back! I was beginning to wonder where you were.

06-05-2004, 09:35 PM
It's rare for me to post anymore. Considdering I have to work for 2 weeks to get 2 days off.

I guess I'm being redundant with my tips, but even though I sound like a broken record, it's still sound advice.

08-22-2004, 12:28 AM
I posted this elsewhere... but maybe it can serve some purpose here.


This is a flash animation illustrating some more examples of what I've talked about before. I hope you enjoy.

08-29-2004, 08:14 AM
Very nice tut... thanks :)

09-16-2004, 08:15 PM

Ok. Here's tips on comic book panel setups. I know it's not exciting stuff, but it's good stuff. I threw in a little gag-comic to spice it up a little. And for some of you who look at the surface of the art quality and brush it off as just crap and think I don't know what I'm talking about, that's ok. But try to look behind the surface. Try to think about "the theory behind the crap".

And thanks for the reply, KaRzA.

Author(don't laugh)'s note:
I really don't consitter myself to be a know-it-all expert. There's way better critics on PJ that know more that me. I'm just trying to share the few tips that I think about whenever I make comics. I'm sure for some of you, this isn't new stuff. But for some, (my target demographic) it is. I hope you enjoy.

I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but it takes me a while to do this flash stuff.

09-17-2004, 05:40 AM
I have to say that this is amazing! This is the best stuff that I have ever read about sequential story telling. If you are interested, here is a link to a 6 page story that I am writing. I haven't recieved any feedback on it, but would be interested on your opinion on it.

Tattoo Part 1 (http://www.penciljack.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51795)

Thanks for at least possibly taking a look at it.

09-17-2004, 06:28 AM
Unfortunately, I'm a trucker. So I don't have a lot of time right now. But when I do get the chance to check it out, I definately will.

Thanks again for the HUGE compliment. It was worth it all just to see that. Thanks.

12-10-2004, 02:49 AM
Ok. Anyone cliciking on this for an art example, I'm sorry.

But doing a few replies to the Storytelling section, I've kind of catagorized how I look at things. And that might be something to keep in mind when you are analizing your work, or others online.

CONSISTANCY-Do the characters look the same in every panel. If not, the artist prolly didn't draw the characters that much and might help if they did character sheets.

CLARITY-Can you tell what you're looking at? How long does it take most people?

SMOOTH TRANSITIONS-Can you tell what the next panel is? Is the 180 degree rule broken?

ESTABLISHING SHOTS-These are important. They don't even have to be outside shots. Just some shot establishing the scene. Showing the spacial relationships between the characters. This helps so when you cut to the next panel, it's easy for the readers to tell where you moved the camera.

BACKGROUNDS-Some people aviod this. But it's not that hard. It's basically throwing in props to show your surroundings. Look up reference online. Sketch on anything you can wherever you go, so you can get use to drawing the shorthand of objects. And think about paths such as sidewalk, hallways, and streets and stairs. Or doorways and windows. Tables. Chairs. Throw-rugs.

USE OF BLACKS-It's amazing how blacking out or toning things can make things pop-out. Drop-shadow, hair, pants, shirts, shoes, plants, telephone poles, sky-lines. Think of blacking out like blacking out a ying-yang sign. You gotta have the right mix to balance the page.

If there's something I missed, which is highly likely, let me know. But this is the jist of what I look at. I'm not sure how different this is from ACTUAL editors who look at submissions, but it's better than "cool" or "sucks".

Ugga Bugga
12-11-2004, 05:33 PM
It looks as though this thread was stickied at one time.

May I suggest it be restickified.

This is so helpful.

01-06-2005, 11:17 PM
Thanks Ugga Bugga,

It gives me great pride to know this stuff is ACTUALLY helping people.

And I was thinking about some more points to add.

Like you ever notice that comic book covers usually fit into several main catagories:

It seems like 90% of comic book covers fall into the strike a poze, ready for action catagory. They usually have their weopans drawn and if they are holding a gun, they are either firing it, or it's smoking.

Other catagories I've noticed include:

The intense close-up

The Villain Winning over the fallen or choked heroes

Hero(s) and Villian(s) clashing in battle

Hero on a tall building

Hero leaping or falling

Heroes freaked out looking scared of something


01-06-2005, 11:34 PM
And I have to eventually draw some examples for you on my next point.


Look at any first appearance of a character. Or even the first time they appear in a story.

It's usually effective in three main catagories. And one of them is NOT a medium shot.

Wide shot

Tight shot

Tease sequence

The wide shot, we introduce the character in the standard spaceial relationship shot. This is a nice establishing setup that is the basic foudation for setting the stage for the readers.

The tight shot, is when we show a closeup of someones face and then cut to the wide shot showing why the person is freaked out or happy or mad.

And then there is the teaser. If you want an example of this, watch Robocop. Heck, watch every movie or comic where they introduce the character. They never show you the villain at first. Because that would give away the story. They allways show like a silouette of a villain. Then, like a foot shot. Or a behind shot. Maybe a close-up of a mouth talking. Then, when the audience is ready, then they show the face. A pay-off. A reward for the reader. It also keeps them interested because of the SUSPENSE. They want to know what the character looks like.

Gotta go. Next time..... might be awhile.....
By the way, I don't want to bump up this thread anymore until I get a descent new addition for you guys. However, I am excited to see this thread get above the 4,000 views mark.

Anyways, you guys should check out this site:

I found it from this thread:

It's very informative and is better insight and clearer than anything I've done on here thus-far. All the stuff I have on this thread is stuff that I've learned. And I'm not even in the bizness. So check this guy out. He is an ACTUAL editor of comics. So this is great insight to know how to get along and where you fit into the comics scheme and what to look for in handing in submissions. I was blown away by this informative site.

Also, after checking out this site's submitting section:

It had a link to Avatar Press' submission guidelines:

It has very good info, like if you are a colorer, send a zip-disc or cdrom of 600dpi art.

And it also has a sample script, so you writers out there have a good idea of what a comic book script should contain.

03-22-2005, 07:57 PM
Finally, a descent (for me) update. I hope this helps you guys. I've been using the rule of thirds lately, and it really helps my work look easier on the eye.



Here's another crappy example. I tried to make it some sort of sequence. This rule of thirds thing gets addicting. But it's a very helpful guide.


Update 5/16/5: This I don't feel is worthy of bumping up this thread, since I don't have a visual example. I haven't ranted about the comic process in a while...

I was watching all the video clips on the Complete Mad cd-roms. Well, besides watching Sergio draw really fast, Mort Drucker said something that I thought was really interesting. He mentioned that all he needs is a good profile and a good front head shot. Then, he can move the figures head in any position.

That just goes back to my rant on drawing character sheets. I really think character sheets are the most underestimated and most important part of the process of making comics. And I really do feel that it's the best way to keep the characters consistant.

Too many beginning artists think they can just jump from script to finished page without any preparation, and are frustrated why they struggle more to get the page looking right. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Also, I should mention that FREE COMIC BOOK DAY rocked! The Marvel Adventures book had a cool "HOW TO BUILD A COMIC BOOK! with John Barber" section in the back of the book. It was really cool seeing all the steps come together on page 20 of the book. It's especially cool seeing the actual script they used.

"Impact University" is another free comic book that was basically some samples of various books they have on all different aspects of comic book production. They had a great tribute and chapter from Will Eisner.

Two sections stick out in my mind. One is the "Comics Crash Course by Vincent Giarrano", seeing how they took a script and broke it down into finished pencils using various steps. Plus, seeing the stripped down script is very interesting. Also, Vince Giarrano talks about selling points, and how you should treat each page like a work of art, and make people want to buy it.

The other is from "Writing Comics with Peter David". I can't wait to get my hands on this thing when it comes out. This is on my list of books to get. I really like his guidline tips for writing pages. He doesn't like to use more than 12-15 words in a balloon, no more than 30 words in a panel, and no more than 6 panels per page. Also, it was cool seeing the script and finished pages of "Spyboy".

I've been getting into looking at the scripts in comparison to the finished work.

I bought Sandman vol. III at Borders yesterday. It has the complete script for the first issue in the front of the book. It is great seeing the different styles of scripts writers use. There is really no standard comic book script format. Neil Gaiman's scripts are almost like a screenplay. The actions and descriptions are written in all caps and the Names:And what the characters are saying. are written normally.

The best part of comparing the original written script to the finished versions is the little differences. It seems that Kelly Jones took the most liberties. But Neil told Kelly in the script that if he can make the story better visually, he could have free will.

Personally, I still want to please the writer exactly. But it is frustrating when the writer is super descriptive and doesn't have thumbnails. I mean, how can you draw someone slightly nervous holding up a book. How can you draw dirt on the streets. I think it is natural to have artists stray a little from the script. But I like seeing the before and after, so I can figure out if I should take such liberties. But I guess it's up to the writer/artist relationship.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with Kimo that was very informative a few weeks ago. He told me about people that have worked on his scripts and how they butchered his plot. I don't know if I want to go that far.

But I think there definately should be some room for artists to stray a little, otherwise, cramming all those detailed descriptions could clutter the page. Which makes me wonder if the writers that write all those descriptions, if they truely want all of that detail on the page, or if they just want to help the artist something to sink their teeth in.

UPDATE 6/4/5: Okay. I still don't want to update this bohemeth of a thread without a descent (for me) example. But while I was attempting to finish Kimo's script he gave me years ago.

I plan to make a split mini comic and just give it away for free. Or maybe I'll charge to break even for the printing costs, but most likely I'll just charge for shipping.

Anyways, while attempting to finish the pages, I've realized a new trick. It's probably an old trick. One I picked up in high school art class.


So try that trick on for size. In case for some odd reason you don't know that allready. I don't remember anyone mentioning this to me. So it's just a little trick I figured out, and I want to spread the tricks. I hope this helps someone.

Ugga Bugga
09-23-2005, 04:36 PM
Giving this thread the old bump

cuz it makes me feel all tingly

10-22-2005, 06:55 PM
Holy crap!!! I actually have an okay looking update!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyways, it's been a long time. But since I'm delayed at my terminal, I had some time to draw this example. It's basically me trying to use every flashy panel trick I could think of.

After visiting a local comic book store in Modesto, on the way out the door, I noticed a book. The Best of Wizard Basic Training: How to Draw: Volume 1. $30. I instantly bought it.

Well it's quite a good book. George Perez shows you how to draw a zillion people, but one particularly interesting lesson is watching Norm Breyfogle layout a page of Captain America. In it he talked about how overlapping panels and heads and body parts breaking borders can create the illusion of space.

So I started looking more closely at how the comic books that I enjoy the most layout pages.

Here's some basic tricks that I've noticed.


Borderless panels using a surrounding panel as a partial border.

See how the buildings in panel one are sticking out from behind panel two? Borderless, or partial borderless panels open up a page and in my opinion is a breath of fresh air from looking at all those panels. I'm claustrophobic, so it helps.

Using just a figure as a panel.

Lots of Japanese comic books like to stick a figure over the left side of the page, overlapping panels.(Technically right side, until it's mirrored for the rest of the world!) Imagine if I didn't draw the background of panel 3, and extended panels 4,7,and 9 behind Froggy(the character in panel 3). Or imagine panel 10 without the circle panel behind him. It's almost like they cut out a paper doll of the caracter, and glued it over the panels on the left or bottome right corner. And sometimes they even cutout a characters head and plop in between two panels. That's confusing, but I tried it with panel 5 anyways, and gave Froggy a white halo to separate him from the background a little.

Page within a page.

I wish I could come up with a better name than this. But basically, it's how panels 4 thru 9 are almost like I drew it on a separate page, tore out the comic page I drew, and stuck it in this page. This technique is very, very helpful in helping a page read better. Sometimes all these panels going all over the place can be confusing, but with this technique, you can clearly separate the panels and the eye can group them more easily. Basically, it's less confusing and less tiring for the eye.

Overlapping panels.

See how the panels 4 and 6 overlap panel 2. Panel 8 is similar to what I did with panel 5 but this one has a panel border.

Circle panels.

Ok. Not much to talk about here. But it's refreshing sometimes from all of these square borders. And usually adding a colored border for the circle is a nice touch.

Full bleed panels extending off of the page.

Ever notice how Japanese comics allways seem to have their panels runn off the page. It's nice, and kind of makes the panels look bigger. I did it here with the page within a page, and with panel 10.

A borderless panel with the background jutting behind other panels.

Yep. Did that with panel 3. It makes panel 3 look way bigger, since the background climbs across the whole page. It's almost like a splash page with some other panels in it. Like a page within a page.

I noticed this while looking at Lee Weeks's awesome Magnus/Predator 2 issue stint with Dark Horse, found in most dollar bins.

Well there you have it. I'm sorry for not knowing the propor terminology for these tricks I've noticed. If anyone knows the right ones, please let me know.

Also, some see this flashy stuff and don't really understand all the planning that goes into this stuff, and all of a sudden, the page is just cluttery and confusing. In fact, because of this, some think that this type of drawing shouldn't be used when looking for work.

But on the other hand, I've heard of other's looking specifically for this stuff. So I guess it's good to have both, to show range.

I don't konw. This is just a hobby of mine. I love picking apart comics. Even though the wife hates me for it, and tells me to grow up.

But there you have it. Her pain is your pleasure. Hopefully.

So hopefully this is of some use to people. If anything, it was fun seeing how many panel tricks I could cram into this thing.

I didn't write this page. I basically started with just making buildings stick on top of panel two. Then did the page within a page, and had a bunch of blank panels after doing the circle thing. My one eyed jack character was originally drawn, but due to frustrations with consistancy, it's much easier to draw Froggy from panel to panel. I'm lazy guys, sorry. The chick and note were drawn last, and I'm sorry for the coloring of hair, and green skin, buggy eyes, and no nose looking very much like I'm ripping off Invader Zim, but sorry. Hey, Jim Lee was influenced by Sin City when doing Deathblow, so sue me!

Anyways, enough blabbering. Hope this helps.

Ugga Bugga
10-22-2005, 08:20 PM
Thanks again for this. This is amazingly useful information. Personally, I am glad you drive your wife crazy. :)

10-23-2005, 12:37 AM
Shucks! Thanks Ugga. You are very kind. My wife is going to kill me for your comment just there, but I'm happy.

Seriously though, thanks. And now that I look back at this piece, it kind of looks like I ripped off Gumby as well.

Wow! And as of 1/18/06 this thing hit the 8000 view mark. And I think I'm only responsible for like a couple hundred. Wow. I'm sure me putting this on my sig doesn't hurt either.

04-05-2006, 08:07 AM
I have just printed all these great tips out.
Because Im going to start my first real comic project.
I bet this is going to help me so much!

04-07-2006, 12:41 PM
I copy-pasted all tips into MSword and will print them out later.

Thanks for this excellent thread!

04-13-2006, 12:05 AM
One of the best threads I've seen on PJ in a long time. Thanks for sharing!

04-22-2006, 09:56 PM
Thanks for commenting. I'm glad this seems to be helpful.

Maybe I'll makie a mini-comic manual out of this stuff and sell it for a buck someday. If I ever get around to it.

For an update, I just figured out that my 102 pen nib can create thick to thin lines by loading it up with ink, and pressing down on the paper, spreading apart the points, and releasing the pressure. Why didn't I know this before? Pretty sad. Basic knowledge any regular inker would know. But some people, like me, didn't know this.

Thanks for bumping the thread. It's allways a pain in the butt to check my amazingly high view count, so this makes it easier to me revel in my popularity.

And by the way, if I haven't mentioned it before, please check out Kazu Kibuishi's awesome tutorial! Definately inspiring and will make you want to draw!

and he's a member of pj:

UPDATE: You have to read Dave Sim's articles on self publishing. There are tons of great advice:
It doesn't stop at 168 either. Very inspiring. Such as drawing in the 6x9 aspect ratio, and the importance of good layouts and lettering. And great quotes such as:
" The cliche (which isn't a cliche, it's the truth) is that you have two thousand bad pages in you and until you draw them, you won't start producing good pages."
Issue 174 is my personal favorite.

08-21-2006, 03:49 PM
In case you didn't know, I downloaded a freeware program called autoscreenrecorder. Google it! So here are some cool, yet crappy, youtube sketches I did!

Drawing a Dude in a Room in One Point Perspective

Drawing a Chick

Drawing a Dude

It is really a lesson to be learned by comparing a comic book script to the final work! It all started with that Wizard thing that Scott McDaniel did a while ago.

However, I bought Sandman III which has Neil Gaiman's script in the back of the first issue of that trade. It was only 15 bucks. Worth it, to see how he personalzes the script, seeing him write stuff like "THE STREET SHOULD BE DIRTY, NEWSPAPER BLOWING DOWN IT". This kind of writing frustrates me as an artist, but it's good to see that Kelly Jones just did it his way. He didn't get caught up in a technicallity that the writer had in mind. I'm allways curious if writers write all this stuff just for ammo, to give the artist ideas to go on, or if they want all that detail in there.

For me, as a writer of 2 fanfict TMNT stories, I just wanted to give the artist the idea of what I had in mind, but I liked seeing the pages, and how different their point of view took them.

ALSO, if you are a fan of Duane McDuffie, the writer of Deathlock and other famous titles, definately check out this page!
He's got his scripts organized by loose plot, and tight script. It's sooooo cool reading Deathlock no.2 and seeing how close it was to the script, and wonder WHY Denys Cowan changed parts of it.

10-15-2006, 10:12 AM
Ok. I haven't read anything about how to draw/write a fight scene. But that doesn't mean there isn't any information out there.

Now, if you got a crap-load of characters fighting, like that Infinity Gauntlet dude, I'll have to get back to you on that one.

But let's just look at two characters fighting. How does a fight start off?


Chinese standoff style (as in BigTroubleInLittleChina). No one says a word. It adds to the dramatic showdown.

Maybe the character's use just hand gestures to start off the fight, like in Adam Warren's Gen13Bootleg.

Hell, maybe they just yell at each other Springer Style. Something to setup the conflict and add tension and suspense. Make the reader's can't wait for things to get out of control.


I've noticed in fight scenes, especially in SavageDragon, there will be one panel of a hero getting clocked, followed by a panel of the villain getting clocked.

That's the thing about comics, you have to simplify the action. That's why there's allways a discussion about sometihing else while they fight. There's no way if you're swinging a punch at a person, that you'll keep talking a whole paragraph before you land the punch, but some reason, it works in comics.

And while exchanging blows, it doesn't have to be dead even. In fact, it's kind of cool to see the hero get the complete crap knocked out of him, then he can come back and dig down deep to win the fight. Or he can get his ass kicked and the villain can leave.


The Struggle
Sometimes at the beginning of a fight, there's a panel with the hero and villain struggling, either by blocking and holding each other's wrists, both attempt blows that miss, or sometimes these panels come at the end, like when Doomsday and Superman exchange their final blows in one panel. Some fights don't have these panels, they just exchange blows until someone walks away. It's just another weopan in your artistic arsenal.

The Recovery
Sometimes a hero gets knocked through a window, it might seem to be a bit of a jump cut if the next panel is another exchange of a blow, so it might be nice to have a panel showing the character getting back up holding his head or arm or something. But that's up to the storyteller.

Down For The Count
This panel usually someone is knocked down and they aren't getting back up. Usually, the winner's legs are in the panel, and we see the other guy laying on the ground. Sometimes the winner is walking away in the panel.

But this could go under a different section of the fight scene:

Do they escape? Run away? Retreat?

Maybe they get arrested.

Maybe they are killed.

Maybe they both come to a mutual understanding and shake hands and make up.

Maybe a sword or gun is pointed at one of their heads, and that's the end.

But the main epic ending that usually happens in the majority of film and comic epics.

A building explodes!

I hope this helps.

Here's a crappy examples. Spent 5min. on this to give u an idea. But study ACTUAL comics! They are put together a lot better than this.


UPDATE: Did you guys see where I messed up on this panel. Okay, I know the list of anatomy problems is infinite...besides that. The last panel, I should have reversed the way the guy is laying. If he was hit in the previous panel, I broke the 180 degree rule in the last panel!

Will Terrell has an awesome perspective tutorial! cHECK IT OUT!

12-03-2006, 01:19 AM
So I've been thinking about writing some more, so here's a couple of things I've noticed.


I don't know about you, but I don't think Rocky would have been as good a movie if he just easily kicked Apollo Creed's ass up and down the film. Viewers want to see a struggle! Make it seem impossible for your hero to win.

There's nothing more annoying than a hero winning effortless. No struggle. BORING!

Want more examples of this?

I liked Hulk Hogan matches because just when you think he's got no energy left, he then becomes INVINCIBLE!

Terminator 2, the T101 friggin' dies! Luckily, power is re-routed, and he puts the T1000's eye out!

Robocop is about to be stabbed, as he's stuck in a pile of rubble, yet he uses his data claw at the last second!


Nothing is better than seeing Spiderman choose between saving Aunt May or Mary Jane! And then he figures out how to do both!

I started thinking about this when I thought of a short story about a burglar breaking in and witnessing a potential serial killer try to kill a woman! Does he risk getting caught and not getting the jewels and possible death or arrest, or does he let an innocent woman die?

Try to put your characters between a rock and a hard place, and try to challenge them, so they have to weigh the pros and cons. Think about honor, the right thing to do vs. the easier thing to do!

Don't go easy on your characters. Give em hell! The readers will apreciate it more, and maybe they'll stick around till the end to watch your hero pull it off!

Hope this helps someone! Just some random thoughts for food.

UPDATE: Did some YOUTUBE VIDEOS, but I don't want to bump my thread up, since they are currently on the main page, and I don't want to be redundant:

The main point of these videos is to try to get you guys off your lazy asses and crank out some comics!

You can't get any better by just looking at good comics and reading all the books in the world. If you are waiting to be a perfect artist, you'll wait forever.

Talent schmalent, just do it allready! It's the only key to getting better!!!

Part 1: Getting Started

Part 2: Tightening up!

Part 3: Lettering and Inks

Part 4: Blacking out

Part 5: Cleanup and Toning

Part 6: Panel Pieces

Part 7: Breaking Down A Story

12-04-2008, 05:12 PM
Haven't bumped up this thread in awhile. Here's some more vids.

Ms paint sketching.

Turning sketches into comics exercise.

Rule of thirds.

Digital comic arrangement and lettering.

Story structure.

Here's some long ones. Might be a tad bit boring to some.

My comic book commentary in 2 parts.

Printing with Ka-blam.com post production.

Ugga Bugga
12-04-2008, 09:37 PM
five stars.........................

12-04-2008, 09:47 PM
Thanks. Wait until I do my Estaban vid.

12-05-2008, 06:16 AM

Thanks, man, I always enjoy these.

Ugga Bugga
12-05-2008, 10:03 AM
Thanks. Wait until I do my Estaban vid.

Can't wait

12-09-2008, 02:50 PM
Cool, nice thread here. I'm glad you found and posted a link to sims self publishing, I lost my original copy years ago.

12-19-2008, 04:50 PM
well redraws can be good to create repetition especially as a storytelling device... this will help to establish some sort of slowdown to the time within the comic when u drastically change your scene every panel subconsciously the reader thinks everything is happening at a breakneck speed... take art speigalman's MAUS lots of repetion in the panels... creates longer time passage for the reader... doesnt overload the reader with new images giving them time to focus on dialogue and story.... just a thought u should consider

12-19-2008, 04:51 PM
also Scott McCloud's books on comics... are good recomended reading

10-08-2010, 04:17 PM
Isometric Bird's Eye - Worm's Eye Trick
I figured I'd kill 2 birds. I bump this thread out of the grave, and update on a somewhat new-ish vid on 2 of my favorite shot tricks.

04-16-2011, 01:47 PM
hate to necro like this, but this is the most amazing thread ever... if only the image links worked :'(

04-16-2011, 01:56 PM
Just to clarify your isometric birds eye view trick.

At one point you say isometric is not reality, but it really is.

The explanation is that the vanishing points are so far away on the horizion/camera/eye line that all lines become parallel.

This is used allot in comics to fill in small panels.

I wish we as artists would get rid of the term horizon line. Its really confusing to people learning perspective, and it's not even accurate.

Those are 2 very useful tips tho for anyone studying comics

04-19-2011, 12:55 AM
I found most of my examples. I put them on my deviant art scrapbook. http://eddiechinglives.deviantart.com/gallery/?catpath=scraps
so I will try to hyperlink them to there. I guess 250free.com died. Sorry about that guys.

04-21-2011, 10:06 PM
I think that a full understanding of the media is very important to those of us who draw sequentials. I would like to see you doing something you listed the subject of future
Rift Platinum (http://www.zyy.com/gold/Rift-Planes-of-Telara-US-Platinum.html)

04-22-2011, 05:53 PM
What do you mean?

You want me to do something I listed the subject of future?

Did I list subject of the future?

Or do you want me to list subjects of the future? This thread came about me trying to figure out how to make comics. It kind of lost momentum as I slowly figured it out, but I kind of took people on the journey with me. So anything I do in the future will probably be on my youtube site, but I rarely update that either. Life kind of got in the way of my comics journey, but it's still consumes quite a bit of my spare time. It took me a year to finish episode 39 of Awesome Storm Justice 41. But I learned some things while doing that. Such is the case with any sequentials. Each page propels you further.

What I learned from that is probably what the next thing I'll post about. I found it easier to draw every panel separate, and put it all together digitally on a scanner, and ink and color that. I also discovered a new program called INKSCAPE which is a free vector program that I figured some comic things on. So I might go that route as well.

But I am glad that this thread and my youtube has helped people get their heads around the idea of comics. How you don't have to wait to be discovered to make comics. You can make comics right now. And there is no censors or limits to what your comics can be about. And you don't have to worry about budgets. If you have a bic pen and some paper you can make comics.

04-22-2011, 06:22 PM
I think that guy's some kind of spambot.

04-23-2011, 03:13 PM
I think he was trying to say what future lessons I have planned, but I'm not sure.

04-23-2011, 04:43 PM
Upon further investigation, it seems that he was paraphrasing this post (http://www.penciljack.com/forum/showthread.php?109045-Studying-anatomy-where-to-start-What-to-skip&p=1218382&viewfull=1#post1218382), from the first page of this thread, just like in this (http://www.penciljack.com/forum/showthread.php?109045-Studying-anatomy-where-to-start-What-to-skip&p=1218382&viewfull=1#post1218382)post, he paraphrased this (http://www.penciljack.com/forum/showthread.php?109045-Studying-anatomy-where-to-start-What-to-skip&p=1223349&viewfull=1#post1223349)post from the first page of that thread. And his signature in both posts is some spammy website.

So, probably not a spam-BOT, but almost certainly a (fairly clever) spammer.

04-23-2011, 10:28 PM
The spambots have gotten to the point where they can actually create semi-coherent phrases out of key words and non-specific phrases. Examine his post:

I think that a full understanding of the media is very important to those of us who draw sequentials. I would like to see you doing something you listed the subject of future

"I think that a full understanding of [X] is very important to those of us who [Y]." Be wary of shit like this... I swear one day we'll see this as an intermediate step to Skynet. That's my first warning sign... my second is that it's Post 2 in his count, and when I examine his other posts it's more of the same.

If they're not more specific in the of their first couple posts, I usually banhammer them just to be safe. If someone legitimate gets hammered by accident, I'll feel very bad, but it's better than leaving the bots to quietly build their post counts until they hit the threshold and start including spamlinks and the like in their sigs. This is why it's often a good idea to make your first post something about yourself, something introductory... 'cause otherwise, it's the hammer for you, son.

04-24-2011, 01:08 AM
I think that a full understanding of the spamming is very important to those of us who post. I would like to see you doing something you listed the subject of future

04-24-2011, 03:23 AM

If your first post sounds like something from Google Adsense, that's sets off alarm bells. :D

04-24-2011, 08:52 PM
I posted this on my devint art for like a year now, but it might be helpful here.

Potential and Kinetic panels

Headshots and standing-looking-cool shots are one thing. But it's all about the POTENTIAL and KINETIC energy.

A rock about to fall off a cliff. POTENTIAL.
A rock falling off of the cliff. KINETIC.

A character SHOOTING a gun. KINETIC.

It's mostly KINETIC.

Take CHARACTERS RUNNING or CHARACTERS LEAPING. Always going to be in comics. WHY?

BECAUSE IT MAKES PEOPLE WANT TO TURN THE PAGE and READ THE NEXT PANEL. And it looks cool. And, since the characters are leaping in the air, you don't have to worry about their bodies totally lining up with perspective.

A PUNCH. We want to see if the character is still standing in the next panel.

A CHARACTER GETTING HIT WITH AN ENERGY BLAST. We want to see if it killed them in the next panel.

It's why lots of villains end up FALLING TO THEIR DEATH. He-man. The Emperor in Star Wars. Die Hard. Robocop.

I think I'm just going mental. This is probably just obvious to everyone already, but it's been something I've been thinking about lately. Especially going through my Alan Davis THE NAIL trade. Awesome kinetic energy that keeps me from being bored in a page.

It's sad, but I'm an idiot fan in that respect. I'm sure comics are written well now days, but some comics have just too many head shots and is too decompressed. Spiderman comics used to be one and done, with Catalysts, Low Point Crisis, and Heroes trapped, who have to figure out how to escape and race back to fight the bad guy, save the girl and the planet. I need at least one of these checkpoints to occur in a comic. End a comic with a crisis. End with an OH S moment. That's cool. But I can't read a comic that is just a slow mood builder.

I'm all over the place with this. Basicly, there's people that look down on Hollywood formulas and guys who want things to splode. Then there's people like me with short attention spans that like the format.

ALSO: I did this video on how to turn your sketches into Final Comic Art using open source (free) software:


I don't want to bump up this thread since I posted on another thread about this. But when that one dies down and goes away into the internet abyss, I'll have this extra way that you guys could find this video I did.

I hope it helps any of you guys get out of the sketch phase and into the finished phase.

I also did this Punch Shot analysis that might be helpful to some.