In comics, page structure IS story structure.

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Page Layout = How we arrange panels & other elements in groups & pages…

RULE#1: Keep It Super-Simple!

Start with the simplest possible page layouts — You can build the most powerful, challenging projects out of the most basic building blocks.

Start with 1-4 panels per page. Draw & write a little larger than you think is necessary.

Test your pages out on readers. Ask them to read your pages aloud, as you listen carefully.

Notice where they read clearly…
= They’re caught up in the story!

Notice where they stumble or falter…
= They’re distracted by the reading!

Experiment with layouts “borrowed” from your favorite artists.


The Splash Page

= Full-page single-panel immersive impact!

Works great as:

  • Front cover
  • Poster design
  • Opening page
  • Climactic page
  • Scene/setting change

3-Panel Pages

= Dynamic multi-step juxtaposition!

Start w/ the “BIG+SMALLSMALL” approach… Or, flip it on its head to get: “SMALLSMALL+BIG ENDING.”


  • BIG top panel = Focus on the story’s SETTING.
  • SMALL 2nd panel = Focus on an ACTION performed by a character.
  • SMALL 3rd panel = Show the RESULT of that action.


Flipping the S+A+R layout on its head, we get an approach common in manga:

  • PANEL 1: Show a detail.
  • PANEL 2: Show a different (seemingly unrelated) detail.
  • PANEL 3: Reveal how those details relate (or what connects them).

How many different 3-4 panel layouts can you design?

Be sure to test them out on as many readers as possible… Which layouts are the most readable?


Demos for patrons:

Planning a New Page: Primary Sources on the Grid

Tracing fractions frees us up to focus on creative storytelling…


This work is PATRON-POWERED!

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