Graphic Novel Development: Page 2

Hello Everybody! I am really excited at the moment as I have been thinking about the second page of Okko and Eatha’s story. I have previously posted the draft of the first page and I found that I had to change angles a lot to create a better flow and was really struggling with depth and texture. I also got caught up in my ideas and didn’t give enough time to planning my panels. However I was able to get across my ideas effectively in the draft which was my main goal, I was able to get my ideas on to the paper; now I need to focus on presenting my ideas in the correct context/style.

Learning from that experience to go forward, in page 2 I need to consider the layout first. I have never been good at sticking to an aperture so working within the panels was quite challenging for me so I started to look into the questions what can I change to suit me? what has already been done? and what are the rules of creating a graphic novel? As I’m autistic rules and guidelines are very important to me I need them to function in a situation/environment. Therefore whenever I come across a new concept or situation I always learn as much as I possibly can about it; I’m not afraid of being different and thinking outside the box but I hate being made to feel like I or my ideas are “wrong”. (So if after I post this I don’t stick to the rules and have made my own I hope you understand why.)

What is a Graphic Novel?…

The way I explain it: A graphic novel is a book that uses illustrations rather than litetary descriptions, there is still a complex story line and a script for dialogue but you are shown what the creator wants you to see rather than having it described to you throughout the story.

Or there is this way:

A graphic novel, as its name suggests, is a novel that tells a complete story via illustrations. A graphic novel will offer the type of resolution that one expects from a novel, even if it is part of a series. Effectively, this makes a graphic novel longer and more substantive than a comic book, which is a serialized excerpt from a larger narrative.”

(How to Create a Graphic Novel: Examples, Tips, and Complete Guide, 2014)

Terms and Vocabulary…

Panel/Frame: This is a box that contains one moment in time, one segment of action. You usually put words (not including speech) and images in separate boxes, but you can have Content Panels that include both image and text.

Splash: This is where one image takes up the whole page. You can also ‘Bleed’ an image to or beyond the edge of a page.

Spread: Where one image takes up two pages.

Foreground/Mid-ground/Background: These are common terms in an artists world regardless of style, the foreground is what would be closet to the viewer, the background is what would be furthest from the viewer and the mid-ground is what is left in between, in the middle. For graphic novels you just apply this to your panel in replace of your canvas.

Speech Balloon/Thought bubble: This is where your dialogue goes or when you want to clarify or enhance the context of the panel via sharing thoughts. As they are put in the same panel as you images you should treat them as part of your illustration. Keep in mind that the shape of the balloon/bubbles as they can be used to convey emotion and the same goes for your lettering and sound effects.

Captions: These are used for information and add a voice-over like quality to your panels.

Gutter: The ‘gutter’ is the space left between panels.

A new term I have learned is ‘Graphic Weight’ which is: “A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more. than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways. including: • The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images.” (2020)

What are the different types of Graphic Novel?…

  • Super Hero
  • Manga/Anime
  • Sci-Fi
  • Historical
  • Biographical/Personal Naratives

Some of the the most famous graphic novel illustrators I know of are: Art Spiegelman (memoir, Maus), Alex Ross (Superhero, DC & Marvel), Craig Thompson (biographical, Blankets) Kohei Horikoshi (My Hero Academia), Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli), Neil Gaimen (Sandman).

I am starting Okko & Eartha’s story in the form of manga/anime so I need to look into and research manga graphic novels. I have found a guide on YouTube that teaches a basic manga layout at Other than that I haven’t really found any other rules or guidelines so I’m just going to go with my creativity 🙂

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