Panel layout techniques

Panel layout techniques

Cut the name!

“Name” refers to the storyboard used to make films and animations. In Japan’s manga industry, we do not say “draw the name.” Instead, we say “cut the name.” The storyboard becomes the “manga’s blueprint,” so it’s important to draw it in great detail, but if you are a beginner, it may take some time. In this case, I recommend the “name of a name” strategy. Think of it as inserting a prototype of a “name” in between the script and the actual “name.” This step is only for your use, so as long as you can draw something you will understand, it’s fine. Try drawing this “name of a name” in a compact space as small as a matchbox or a post card.
At this point, you’ll want someone to check your “name.” So, draw the “name” so anyone can understand at least the characters’ faces and relationships, as if you’re showing the “name” to readers.

name of a name

If you can master panel layouts, then you can master manga!

When the horizontal lines are connected on both pages, then the readers may accidentally read from the right page and then the left page, so be careful.

panel layouts

The figure at the A is an example of the incorrect way of reading manga. The reader is supposed to read in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 but… they can also read the panels in the order shown by the red arrows. The reader can be confused with the order.

So, let’s look at the figure at the B that was fixed to make it easier for readers to follow along.

With this, readers won’t have difficulty reading.
An important point is to shift the vertical lines of the frames!

Transform the basic

In Japanese manga, the average number of panels on a page is six. Change the basic structures by adding onto the basic three- and the four-panel layout.