Step 3: Drawing the Comic: Panel Layout

When I'm done with the sketches I take an 18" Wescott metal ruler with a cork backing, and measure out the panels for the comic onto my Bristol board with light pencil lines. Always pencil, in case you mess up. You can't really see it, but I had to erase 6 lines from this page before getting the layout right. In the next step I actually change the panel layout on-the-fly. This is why pencils are your friends. Some comic creators will draw their frames in ink immediately, but I can't constrain myself at this step. I change things too often.

Since I try to keep comics drawn on paper confined to a single page, I usually leave 1/2 inch margins around the panels. However because I needed more room for this particular layout, the margins are 1/8" top and bottom, and 1/4" on the sides. This actually will make it slightly harder for me to draw the comic, but I really need the space. I could split these up onto two pages, but I feel like I'm wasting too much paper doing that.

I use 1/8" gutters -- the space/gap between panels.
Thanks for this information mate, has really helped me with my web comic project. <br>I think I will be looking at getting some rapidograph pens. Very thorough instructable. Great Job.
though it is good to buy recycled sketch paper, it really is not the best.Normal, un recycled sketch paper is much better in terms of pencil drawing that is,not so much pen.this comment may have been pointless but it's a heads up for artists that use sketch pencils.
&nbsp;at amazon a set like you'rs, i found costs about $100.00.<br /> <br /> do normal pens work? i want to try this out without hurting my wallet, any ideas??<br />
Depends what you want to try.&nbsp; If you just want to try drawing, go to an art supply store and get a set of disposable pens, like pigma microns or staedtler pigment liners.&nbsp; They're much less expensive at $3 or $4 a pen individually, and a little cheaper per if you buy a set (usually they come in sets of 4 or 6 different widths).&nbsp; These are really convenient too as there's no cleaning or refilling, and you can't really damage them unless you just press too hard when you draw.<br /> <br /> Enjoy!<br />
And $100 sounds about right for that particular set of Rapidographs, even at a retail art store.&nbsp; Shop around or get coupons from the Sunday newspaper.<br />
if you take the nibs and get a jewelry "cleaner" i get mine resale for about 2 bucks they basically vibrate, put the nib in it with water or cleaning solution let it soak and vibrate alternately sometimes you can rescue them, it takes patience though.
Try out an Ames Lettering Guide. The decent art supplies stores usually have them. It's a little piece of plastic, costs about five bucks. All it does is help you put in the guidelines for lettering -- but it does so very well.
I do a lot of ink and wash work with fountain pens and rapidograph pens. Get yourself a sonic jewelry cleaner and some ammonia. I've soaked nibs for as long as 35 minutes if they're totally jammed (picked up a set at a flea market for $1). Just don't try to force them. Rinse very very well and dry very very well. I vastly prefer Platinum Carbon Black and a Manga nib on an Ackerman Pump pen these days--but I still pull out the rapidograph pens for the really super fine lines.
Cool, will have to try this. Thanks for the comment!
Another trick to avoid the 'ink trap' is putting masking tape over the edge of the ruler.
If you like this, check out my forum topic with some of my doodles/cartoons, scanned and imported, then vectorised &amp; coloured using inkscape. Hope you like them. <a href="http://www.instructables.com/community/Cartoons/">http://www.instructables.com/community/Cartoons/</a><br/>Thanks<br/>
Very nice! My next instructable will have more detailed info on scanning, cleaning and coloring images using a bitmap image program, but soon as I learn more about vectoring artwork I'll do an instructable on that. With both XaraLX and Inkscape it doesn't seem too difficult.
Thanks! I'm glad you like them. Yes, please do. Vectorising drawings is very good way to increase the quality and is very easy once you know the process. Do you use XaraLX/Inkscape? I use inscape but i am unfamiliar with XaraLX. How fo they compare?
I just had to say that I appreciate the "Chasing Amy" reference (I'm not a TRACER). I enjoyed the tutorial, very well done.
When your drawing and the ink is still wet, do you find sometimes its gets smudged by your pinkie? It happens all the time to me cos my left hand rubs over the fresh ink when im writing
It would if I drew left to right. Knowing that the ink will smudge, I draw from right to left across the page so I never have to move my hand across a wet ink line. I sometimes have to rotate the pad to get around wet spots if I miss something. The one exception is lettering. I'll letter frames bottom to top, right to left but I write text in the normal direction so I letter slowly and in chunks so that the ink dries before my hand crosses over. Generally I smudge the pencil a lot worse than ink.
Your guide has helped me immensely as I pursue my dream of creating my own manga! I understand not having enough time in a day, but I am still eagerly awaiting your scanning guide! Best of luck.
I have created a fairly easy to use online comic script. I would be happy to share it. It is basically an instant comic site. There is a plain black and white layout that can be customised with a little html knloedge. What do you think?
If you mean a script to build the website for a web comic, it sounds neat. There are any number of scripts like this from the simple to the insane, popular ones are KeenLite, or the very successful ComicPress theme for WordPress. I hadn't thought about a tutorial after the second part to address setting up a website, but I suppose I could address those concepts as well. Thanks!
Not a problem. The one I made was aimed at managing the content rather then creating the site. The image info (title, caption, filename, ect.) are stored in a file. The main page reads this and decided on the image to show.<br/><br/>I have a basic sample set up here: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://col-test.100webcustomers.com/comic.php">http://col-test.100webcustomers.com/comic.php</a><br/><br/>That has no layout it is just the base program.<br/>
Thanks for this. I just joined Instructables so I could favorite this. Looking forward to the scanning and coloring.
Well thanks, I'm honored! I am looking forward to the scanning and coloring too, I wonder when the author will get aro.... Oh, right. Say, has anyone figured out how to fit 26 hours in a day? :)
awesome comics :D
Great Instructable. I've always wanted to make a comic. Even a very basic one just to help improve my poor drawing skills. Maybe later I'll sit down and start designing characters. Cheers

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Bio: I am a graphic art hobbyist, web cartoonist, and wannabe electronics hobbyist. Other hobbies: cooking, baking, exercise, computers, video games, trivia, and some more I ... More »
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