Here’s a secret LAYOUT GRID I use to make every page of my Freeman Colby graphic novel series.

For printables & more demos:


Facing a BLANK PAGE can be tough — How should we use all that open space? How will our panels fit together? Where do we start drawing?

To help make basic decisions, I used a word processor to set up a basic full-page 12×12 TABLE:

12 is a great number because it divides by 2, 3, and 4. Below, I’ve highlighted these basic fractions in different colors — RED = thirds, BLUE = fourths:

Tracing along these grid lines frees me from technical choices (measuring & placing panel borders) — Instead, I can focus on the storytelling inside (& among) those panels.

(I print my 12×12 grid on durable cardstock, so it’ll last through tracing hundreds of pages…)

This work is PATRON-POWERED!


The simplest panel structures here are the full-width layouts: 1×2, 1×3, & 1×4:

I use this “1x” approach in many Vol. 3 pages — I find it reads cleanly & smoothly, both on the printed page & onscreen:

Of course, we can also trace regular grids of 6-12 panels:

Regular columns & rows give a certain rhythm to each page. They help readers (& characters) move creatively through the space!

Even when the panel sizes vary, the underlying grid maintains that sense of rhythm & grouping

The regular panel sizes also help us read pauses & actions across time:


Each of these sample pages from Freeman Colby Vol. 3 uses the underlying 12×12 grid a little differently… :

Of course, the 12×12 grid offers MANY more layouts & combinations of fractions… Stay ‘tooned for more demos!

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