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MitsukiTachiba
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Well I divide the scene descriptions into panels and then depending on importantance or action-y-ness of the panel I know it's approximate size, and then I can mark the page divides in the script. Then I roughly sketch how I want the panels to fit together. So I do make a bit of a storyboard, but it only includes the panel outlines. But I do have experience in video production and i find it easier to visualize like that, so this might be a process that only really works for me...


ouu, video production~ I wanted to get into that too, do you have a youtube channel?
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Canary-sama
Regarding page planning I can recommend you to think of the story you want to put in a chapter as a one single unit. How many pages has it? How many pages do you think you will use for certain scenes? If you break your chapter down to certain situations you can break them down into scenes. How many panels do you need to tell a thing? Some can be summed up with others, some need space because of mood reasons. That will give you a feeling for the number of panels you have to draw. And as you have to think about reading flow, the importance hierarchy and cliff hangers you will develop a feeling for paneling after a while. Good page planning comes with experience of doing a lot of page planning. XD I know lots of good illustrators that have big problems with drawing comics.


Personally, I like starting with the first and last scene and after that draw the scenes in between. That way I know exacly where I come from and where I go.


so, even for each chapter, you would write the beginning and the ending of the chapter before filling in the middle meat, rather than doing it sequential?
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Kyousouka
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hm question about the page breaks. How do we convey timelapse with the pagebreak that'll set it apart from a normal "this page is now filled so onto the next page"?

There shouldn't be such a thing as a "this page is filled" page break. Make use of the page breaks. Structure your scenes so that every page is its own "unit," let every page break be a logical break or transition in the action as well.

Using the thumbnails I showed as an example, here is how I utilised the page breaks on the first few pages:
(The page numbering starts with the brownish page, that's page 1.)
The last panel on page 2 has a character asking a question. *page break* We have to wait for the answer. In the first panel of page 3, the character still doesn't answer, we have to wait until panel 2 before he answers. This wait would seem much shorter had this sequence been on a single page.
The last panel on page 3 has the character reacting to the previous panel, and the fact that it's an open panel (no box around it) and the fact that there's not only a page break after it, but a page-spread break (meaning, in a physical book, the reader would have to physically turn the page at this point, not just move their eyes), makes that moment linger much longer, even though the panel itself is quite small.
The page break between pages 4 and 5 is a scene change, nice and simple.
After page 5, there's another page-spread break where the reader has to turn the page, and suddenly there's a large establishing shot of a new location, implying some time passed. (The page-turn break can be used to set up mini-cliffhangers, which make the reader really want to turn the page and keep going; in webcomics viewed one page at a time, any page can have these.)

See how none of the page breaks was just me running out of space on the page? Each page break had some significance. Some are used better than others, but I didn't let any of them fight against my scenes. Instead, I did my best to make those extra breaks work for my story by enhancing suspense or showing the passage of time / change in location/mood.

Some comics do take page breaks for granted and just put down panels until the page runs out, but those comics also tend to have terrible pacing and are dull to read!


Also, panel sizes are a mix of in-story time flow and importance/impact, so don't feel like you have to make a "long" scene have a big panel, or have an "instant" be a small panel. Go with your gut feeling. Does a panel deserve to be big? Make it big. Is it just a minor reaction/transition? Make it small.
Read lots of comics, and you'll develop a sense for it, I think. More importantly, read lots of different kinds of comics, not just the kind you're most interested in. The more you learn about, the greater your tool set will be!


Also, if all of this feels overwhelming: Don't worry, and just read a lot of comics and think about how and why they're laid out the way they are. Play with layouts for stories of your own. With time, most of this stuff will become like instinct for you. When I thumbnail my pages, I don't consciously think about page breaks and such, my brain goes straight to "this bunch of actions would make a good page, but this bunch should be two opposite pages, this thing should be a big panel" and so on xP


cat_pirate ah, you've given me alot to think about in terms of the page planning. Spent a few sleepless nights planning and finally have a general idea~
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I highly recommend Scott McCloud's "Making Comics" (Also, "Drawing Words and Writing Pictures" by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden). Those two books will give you the basic run-down on how to make a comic, and what psychological effects to anticipate and watch out for.

They won't necessarily TELL you how to plan your pages, but they will give you the background information. From there, it's just practice.

Me, personally, I like to have a flow-chart of events (on paper or in my head), and from there it really varies. Last script I wrote for a hand-in assignment, I just plowed through the script while visualizing the pages in my head, and then afterwards scribbled some of world's ugliest thumbnail pages to go along with it. I had a rough idea that I wanted no more than 10 pages - the assignment was to avoid all words/text/dialogue, so I had to include more motion-to-motion transitions than usual for a comic (but that actually made me really happy, because I like them).


I'll have to look out for those books in the bookstores :3 which class was that assignment for? sounds like an awesome project D:
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TheNightOut

so, even for each chapter, you would write the beginning and the ending of the chapter before filling in the middle meat, rather than doing it sequential?


I was talking about the drawing part, not the writing part. wink In my experience it gives one more control when having to draw on a limited amount of pages (like for publication purposes). Usually at this point the story is already finished. BUT you can use this technique for writing also. When doing things sequentially there is a high risk of straying away from your intended path. Having the goal written out helps one to always keep it in mind. If you just draw as you go along the goal might change with your every mood swing and in the end the story might become confusing.
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I'm seconding Canary's suggestion, or rather, blabbing about stuff that's related:
My final art is done more or less in sequence, but my thumbnails are not. Sometimes I fill in the ending early on, but just as often I just sketch the parts where I have the strongest visual ideas, so that everything else can work with them, both in terms of pagination and pacing.

Writing sequentially is great if you're not 100% sure where to take your story and just want to see where your writing takes you, but if you have a goal to work towards, it helps to write it out so you can stay focused on it. If you have scenes that are great and you really want to have, write those out early on too, and write your story to move between them. Just remember, sometimes even the scene you love most isn't good for the story, so never get too attached to things. Anything can die in a rewrite.

Regardless of how you write your first draft, you should edit it numerous times to make sure everything is consistent and to take out anything unnecessary. Rewrites/editing should form the bulk of your writing process, even if your writing is just an outline rather than a full script.
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TheNightOut
MitsukiTachiba
TheNightOut
MitsukiTachiba



Well I divide the scene descriptions into panels and then depending on importantance or action-y-ness of the panel I know it's approximate size, and then I can mark the page divides in the script. Then I roughly sketch how I want the panels to fit together. So I do make a bit of a storyboard, but it only includes the panel outlines. But I do have experience in video production and i find it easier to visualize like that, so this might be a process that only really works for me...


ouu, video production~ I wanted to get into that too, do you have a youtube channel?


Umm... Sorta? I only have one video... Really it's more like I've had a few internships, but I don't have any real experience. Anyways if you really wanna go watch it my username is MitsukiT. My one video is me making the scythe from RWBY.
TheNightOut
Hey guys, I'm an artist struggling to start a manga/comic project. Seeing the amazing stuff all around the internet, I feel intimidated and when I try to start, it seems like a very daunting task.

The main issue I struggle with is storyboards and page planning. Concepts and Story naturally comes to everyone, but storyboards and page planning seem to require certain skills that I really lack. So, any tips for someone totally new to the manga/comic field?

btw, here's my gallery if my style is relevant to the subject: http://CatMD.deviantART.com

User ImageUser Image


Hi! I draw the webcomic Altar Girl. I originally drew it in '02 - '04, but last year in July '12 I started a re-draw. Organizing and planning has made ALL the difference this time around! I didn't see what others suggested yet, so sorry if I'm repeating others, but my best suggestion is to write a script: panel by panel descriptions of what you're drawing and the dialog for speech bubbles or text blocks.

Personally, I organize it by Chapter > Page > Panels. That way I can see how many pages I have in each chapter. I usually try to keep it 20 pages per chapter, and somewhere under 6 panels per page, since that's what works with my style. Then when sketching I can kind of branch out from there and see what panel sizing/layout works best with what I've written. It's good to be flexible though, and expect to change your mind sometimes!

I checked out your dA and you have a really cute style! (I'm ~robokiss on there.) Organizing your story and thoughts is important, but what matters most is getting your story and art out there! Just jump right in, and even if you're off to a shaky start, you'll get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect! heart
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Kataliana
TheNightOut
Hey guys, I'm an artist struggling to start a manga/comic project. Seeing the amazing stuff all around the internet, I feel intimidated and when I try to start, it seems like a very daunting task.

The main issue I struggle with is storyboards and page planning. Concepts and Story naturally comes to everyone, but storyboards and page planning seem to require certain skills that I really lack. So, any tips for someone totally new to the manga/comic field?

btw, here's my gallery if my style is relevant to the subject: http://CatMD.deviantART.com

User ImageUser Image


Hi! I draw the webcomic Altar Girl. I originally drew it in '02 - '04, but last year in July '12 I started a re-draw. Organizing and planning has made ALL the difference this time around! I didn't see what others suggested yet, so sorry if I'm repeating others, but my best suggestion is to write a script: panel by panel descriptions of what you're drawing and the dialog for speech bubbles or text blocks.

Personally, I organize it by Chapter > Page > Panels. That way I can see how many pages I have in each chapter. I usually try to keep it 20 pages per chapter, and somewhere under 6 panels per page, since that's what works with my style. Then when sketching I can kind of branch out from there and see what panel sizing/layout works best with what I've written. It's good to be flexible though, and expect to change your mind sometimes!

I checked out your dA and you have a really cute style! (I'm ~robokiss on there.) Organizing your story and thoughts is important, but what matters most is getting your story and art out there! Just jump right in, and even if you're off to a shaky start, you'll get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect! heart


niice~ :3 i shall add and chat with you on dA! biggrin

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