Friday, September 12, 2008

Frame Formats and Visual Storytelling

Whether you are producing a single illustration or a panel that’s part of a comicbook sequence, the way you format/frame the graphic can dramatically affect your viewer’s response.

The format and size of the frames in a comics sequence can affect a viewer’s perception of mood, time — and the importance of a panel’s content

When a relatively large comics panel is preceded or followed by smaller panels in a sequence, it’s implied that the larger panel contains the most important or more dramatic information.
See below.


We read sideways, left to right. So, long horizontal panels can give the impression of a slow pace due to the relatively long distance between the left and right panel edges. See below.

Thin vertical panels give the impression of a fast/staccato pace due to the relatively short distance between the left and right panel edges. See below.

Of course what the panel contains can dramatically affect the sense of time! See below.

A tree viewed over the course of the four seasons certainly slows down the sense of time, even in thin vertical panels that normally indicate a fast reading clip.

Please add your thoughts on this subject.

1 comment:

surlyh said...

Carl- Here is a limerick on comic structure that I wrote for my own limerick "blog":

In comics, time moves box by box
These 'panels' tick moments, like clocks
As movie have cuts,
between 'gutter' ruts,
the comics tell stories in blocks

You were a great teacher as an editor, and it's good to now have your insights and stories via the blog.

Hilary Barta, aka "surlyh"