How do you compose your webcomic panels? Here are some thoughts from the 1940′s:
“Someone once said that every cartoonist is a frustrated ham actor. Since the average cartoonist usually eats with more regularity than the average actor, the frustration should be easy to control. A cartoonist’s interest in the stage can really be an asset. The panel has its definite limitations – so has the stage. Your job is present a clear, interesting production within your confined space.
Milton Caniff had a close squeak when he almost became a professional actor after college. Today, his advice to a young cartoonist is apt to be full of stage and movie lingo. The business of stage settings, movie close-ups and long-shots also applies very pointedly to drawings. Caniff’s ‘Steve Canyon’ doesn’t suffer because of his knowledge. Neither will your work.
When we tell you to accustom yourself to working in a panel, we don’t mean just for your finished artwork. You should also work in a panel when you ar doing practice work. For your practice work on these lessons, rule up a bunch of panels before-hand on your paper. It doesn’t make any difference what size or shape the panels are, just so there is a panel outline to confine you to a given space. Once you have formed the habit of thinking as well as drawing in panels, you will find that you prefer to work inside of panel frames.”
–The Panel is Your Stage – Famous Artists Cartoon Course – Lesson 11 pg 3