The Trickiness of a Three-Panel Structure

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

On Twitter recently, Melanie Gillman had a terrific breakdown of the latest page from As the Crow Flies. It’s a lovely little lesson in the kind of details artists think about to improve readability.

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

They called the two left, bigger right structure “one of those panel structures you’re Not Supposed To Do in comics” because readers in a left-to-right language may go in that order instead of reading down, then across, as intended.

Old-school 70s superhero comics (when they started experimenting with layouts but didn’t yet have educated readers or finalized techniques) used to add little directional arrows between the panels, which looked clunky. Melanie instead tried more subtle, professional tricks, as they elaborated:

They end with advice: “be careful and use this stuff sparingly.”



One comment

  • Jesse the K

    Nifty. I love learning why it is I enjoy a particular artist’s work.

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