ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HOW TO Graphic Novel Part III: Thumbnails

Six pages of layouts on one sheet
Thumbnails are small drawings of your page layouts.  Mine are done on 8.5x11 sheets of paper, printed with six boxes and room for notes along the left hand side.  Working small like this you are able to see how your page will lay out before you even start working it.  This method is infinitely better than just taking a piece of blank bristol and just jotting down lines with a pencil.

Essentially you take your plot or script and break it down into these mini-page layouts, making sure any of the important elements of your story are clearly shown.

A page can go through multiple drafts before you get it right, and if you take shortcuts or skip this step figuring you'll work it out in the final page layouts you'll discover that shortcut not only didn't save you any time, it actually will cost you.

Patience is key here, making sure you get the pages laid out in a smooth readable way.

Let's look at this panel, from Dracula, the action, images and word balloons all flow from Stage Left to Stage Right-- guiding your reader through the panel.  We call this panel flow.

You can see it more clearly when we break it down in this diagram.

This translates the same with with page flow- you need to consider the interaction of the panels with each action and bit of dialogue or narration flowing into the next taking your reader through the page and on to the next.

TOMORROW: Finding the Shot