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"10, well 9 commandments of comic making..sorta", 11th Jan 2018, 8:54 AM #1
DrewSpence

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Came across a lit of Commandments from a comic site and deleted the last one since it was specific to their comics.....

THE FIRST PERSON TO SPEAK SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THE LEFT

ALWAYS LEAVE THE TOP 25% OF EACH PANEL EMPTY FOR LETTERING (MORE IF NECESSARY)

LEAVE ROOM FOR THE TITLE AND CREDITS ON THE FIRST PAGE

LEAVE A 5mm (on A3) GUTTER BETWEEN EVERY PANEL

KEEP THE 'CAMERA' ANGLES VARIED AND VISUALLY INTERESTING

TELL THE STORY - SHOW WHAT'S RELEVANT

MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS ACT AND REACT - GET INSIDE THEIR HEADS

NEVER BLEED THE IMAGE OFF THE LAST PANEL OF THE STORY - LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE

LEAD THE READER'S EYE ACROSS THE PAGE SMOOTHLY


Like them, so I'm sharing...
a reminder never hurts
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11th Jan 2018, 9:27 AM #2
Simzi
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Interesting selection of "commandments".

I'm not sure if all of these are relevant to webcomics. Particularly, "LEAVE ROOM FOR THE TITLE AND CREDITS ON THE FIRST PAGE", since I'd say title pages aren't really used in webcomics that much (and in many newer comics they've also gone out of style). Also, I feel like "ALWAYS LEAVE THE TOP 25% OF EACH PANEL EMPTY FOR LETTERING (MORE IF NECESSARY)" is kind of unnecessary if you're both the artist and the letterer, because you should be able to plan the page properly and not just shove the bubbles in any blank space.

However, I do strongly agree with the ideas of keeping angles varied, having characters act and react like real people, and composing a page in a way that leads the eye. Those are things I'm trying really hard to work on, and just plain good comic making basics.

By the way, I really don't get what this: "NEVER BLEED THE IMAGE OFF THE LAST PANEL OF THE STORY - LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE" means. Is this about when you have images break the panel borders, or something like that?
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11th Jan 2018, 9:34 AM #3
killersteak
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Thou shalt not maketh in 3D



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11th Jan 2018, 10:18 AM #4
Eve Z.
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I kinda break the first rule every so often, though.... especially since I have to switch angles!
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11th Jan 2018, 11:06 AM #5
DrewSpence

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LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE

I think I should have deleted that too - that might be another reference to THEIR comics.
I read it as leaving room for the editor to say NEXT ISSUE:
Could be wrong.


Some you break. I think you need to know WHY you're breaking them.
If it's just something you're not aware of, well then.

For most of these, the opposite is easiest and I have read books that BREAK many of these kinds of rules.
Sometimes you wonder if the creator reads their own books.

I would add that as a commandment.
Also, read your book aloud.

Speech reads different than how you wrote it sometimes.
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11th Jan 2018, 11:13 AM #6
Bear

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...and....I pretty much break 'em all ! Haha B-) No, like lotsa rules, it's the old blind following by fools, guidance for wise men..and maybe rebels, thing. A good basic set, to be bent and buckled as needs and whims dictate. The 'cardinal' rule is not to confuse the readers, but I bet I do that too, a lot B-)
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11th Jan 2018, 11:20 AM #7
dpat57
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Worth thinking about, just in case it's helpy, but:

ALWAYS LINK THE SOURCE if known, and:

Treat all "Commandments" as rough rule-of-thumb suggestions that might or might not apply to your comic.

killersteak:Thou shalt not maketh in 3D

Words of wisdom!
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11th Jan 2018, 11:24 AM #8
KAM

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DrewSpence:Came across a lit of Commandments from a comic site and deleted the last one since it was specific to their comics.....

THE FIRST PERSON TO SPEAK SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THE LEFT


I encountered a variation of this in an interview with C.C. Beck, who drew the original Captain Marvel stories back in the 1940's.

Of course, sometimes you don't always have the luxury of moving the characters or adjusting the viewpoint. I've done comics with characters chained to walls, so sometimes I've had to adjust the word balloon placement to compensate.

DrewSpence:NEVER BLEED THE IMAGE OFF THE LAST PANEL OF THE STORY - LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE


Let me guess, the comics site was for 2000 AD? (They're the only ones I know of who call their issues "progs".
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11th Jan 2018, 11:46 AM #9
DrewSpence

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I think so....that sounds about right...

Well, as I surf the net, I snatch little bits and blobs from different sites.
Since I have multiple windows open, I don't always match the bit and the source.
Sorry about that.
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11th Jan 2018, 11:50 AM #10
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KNOW WHERE YOUR LIGHT SOURCE/S ARE, AND KEEP THEM CONSISTENT.

-w-
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11th Jan 2018, 1:04 PM #11
MK_Wizard

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DrewSpence:Came across a lit of Commandments from a comic site and deleted the last one since it was specific to their comics.....

THE FIRST PERSON TO SPEAK SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THE LEFT

ALWAYS LEAVE THE TOP 25% OF EACH PANEL EMPTY FOR LETTERING (MORE IF NECESSARY)

LEAVE ROOM FOR THE TITLE AND CREDITS ON THE FIRST PAGE

LEAVE A 5mm (on A3) GUTTER BETWEEN EVERY PANEL

KEEP THE 'CAMERA' ANGLES VARIED AND VISUALLY INTERESTING

TELL THE STORY - SHOW WHAT'S RELEVANT

MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS ACT AND REACT - GET INSIDE THEIR HEADS

NEVER BLEED THE IMAGE OFF THE LAST PANEL OF THE STORY - LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE

LEAD THE READER'S EYE ACROSS THE PAGE SMOOTHLY


Like them, so I'm sharing...
a reminder never hurts


I like this and I agree with it though I would add other details too;

- It's ok to listen to fans, but never lose sight of the fact that this is YOUR story with a plan.
- Pick a theme/genre and be true to it. Don't change the formula halfway.
- Know and accept when it's time to say THE END.
- Make concept art in advance.
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11th Jan 2018, 1:47 PM #12
Stilldown

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DrewSpence:Came across a lit of Commandments from a comic site and deleted the last one since it was specific to their comics.....

[b]THE FIRST PERSON TO SPEAK SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THE LEFT

No. Has anyone seen a movie where the talking person always stands on the left? We can agree that the speech ballon of the first talking person should be on the left. But anything else would just be an unacceptable limitation.

DrewSpence:
LEAVE A 5mm (on A3) GUTTER BETWEEN EVERY PANEL


I wonder if these people have never heard of overlapping panels? Open and fading panels? Creative panelwork of famous classics like that of Ed Badajos, Fred Schrier, Moebius, Vaughn Bode and others?
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11th Jan 2018, 2:03 PM #13
DrewSpence

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We can agree that the speech balloon of the first talking person should be on the left.

Well, that's why I said imagine the opposite.

I think they are referencing arrows that cross and when BOTH people speak and the balloons are hovering above the character that didn't say the text.

Commandments, I don't think, in this case is DO THIS.
But instead 'doing these guides avoids these 'Universal no nos that make comics hard to read'
Not "figure out with study", but easily read on first glance.
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11th Jan 2018, 4:54 PM #14
Lee Lines

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Mad Magazine uses interlocking boxes with connecting indicators. You read dialog in the right order no matter how the speakers are placed.
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11th Jan 2018, 4:54 PM #15
Lee Lines

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Mad Magazine uses interlocking boxes with connecting indicators. You read dialog in the right order no matter how the speakers are placed.
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11th Jan 2018, 8:37 PM #16
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"THE FIRST PERSON TO SPEAK SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THE LEFT"
(Unless you are writing manga!) If not giving yourself headaches with the speech bubble placement is your concern, this is a very practical think to do!

"ALWAYS LEAVE THE TOP 25% OF EACH PANEL EMPTY FOR LETTERING (MORE IF NECESSARY)"
I concur with that one too, though the percentage may vary with the amount of your dialogue.

"LEAVE ROOM FOR THE TITLE AND CREDITS ON THE FIRST PAGE"
I guess this list was originally intended for print comics, with a firmly established format? I almost never do that.

"LEAVE A 5mm (on A3) GUTTER BETWEEN EVERY PANEL"
Yeah, gutters are esthetically more pleasing than directly bordering panels. (I never measure mine out exactly, though.)

"KEEP THE 'CAMERA' ANGLES VARIED AND VISUALLY INTERESTING"
Yes, definitely!

"TELL THE STORY - SHOW WHAT'S RELEVANT"
At first I thought this is just the good old "show, don't tell" phrased differently - but instead it says "show only stuff when necessary"?? (Is this supposed to be for newspaper strips with quite limited available space??)

"MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS ACT AND REACT - GET INSIDE THEIR HEADS"
Yup, that one is a totally OK tip!

"NEVER BLEED THE IMAGE OFF THE LAST PANEL OF THE STORY - LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE"
AKA leaving room for "The End" or "To Be Continued" capture?? Is that what this means!?

"LEAD THE READER'S EYE ACROSS THE PAGE SMOOTHLY"
No complaints about that one too!

Overall I would say that while one hasn't to follow all these rules slavishly, it's nevertheless a good read - after all, you have to know the rules before you can break them!
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11th Jan 2018, 8:58 PM #17
Lee Lines

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"TELL THE STORY - SHOW WHAT'S RELEVANT"

I think the point is, as a minimum, make sure to show what's important to tell the story. Don't wait for someone to say "Who was that masked man?" before you show the Lone Ranger's mask.
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11th Jan 2018, 9:07 PM #18
straker

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Fabian W.:"THE FIRST PERSON TO SPEAK SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THE LEFT"
(Unless you are writing manga!) If not giving yourself headaches with the speech bubble placement is your concern, this is a very practical think to do!

"ALWAYS LEAVE THE TOP 25% OF EACH PANEL EMPTY FOR LETTERING (MORE IF NECESSARY)"
I concur with that one too, though the percentage may vary with the amount of your dialogue.

"LEAVE ROOM FOR THE TITLE AND CREDITS ON THE FIRST PAGE"
I guess this list was originally intended for print comics, with a firmly established format? I almost never do that.

"LEAVE A 5mm (on A3) GUTTER BETWEEN EVERY PANEL"
Yeah, gutters are esthetically more pleasing than directly bordering panels. (I never measure mine out exactly, though.)

"KEEP THE 'CAMERA' ANGLES VARIED AND VISUALLY INTERESTING"
Yes, definitely!

"TELL THE STORY - SHOW WHAT'S RELEVANT"
At first I thought this is just the good old "show, don't tell" phrased differently - but instead it says "show only stuff when necessary"?? (Is this supposed to be for newspaper strips with quite limited available space??)

"MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS ACT AND REACT - GET INSIDE THEIR HEADS"
Yup, that one is a totally OK tip!

"NEVER BLEED THE IMAGE OFF THE LAST PANEL OF THE STORY - LEAVE ROOM FOR 'NEXT PROG' LINE"
AKA leaving room for "The End" or "To Be Continued" capture?? Is that what this means!?

"LEAD THE READER'S EYE ACROSS THE PAGE SMOOTHLY"
No complaints about that one too!

Overall I would say that while one hasn't to follow all these rules slavishly, it's nevertheless a good read - after all, you have to know the rules before you can break them!


I agree with some of you who suspect that these commandments, wherever they originally came from, were more relevant to traditional print comics. Especially with the "Leave room for the next prog line". This is probably a reference to the typical last panel blurbs in "old school" comics (Next issue, Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin again. Don't miss it.).

Tell the story, Show what's relevant: It depends on what kind of story you are telling. Not all stories are told the same. And not all stories use the same storytelling techniques. And not all "showing" is created equal.

"KEEP THE 'CAMERA' ANGLES VARIED AND VISUALLY INTERESTING": Depends on the kind of comic. Probably if you are doing a gag comic, then it's not very important.

I agree with the idea that one should know the rules before breaking them, but we should always keep in mind that a lot of these so-called rules may be just a certain point of view. Is there truly an inner circle somewhere that actually creates these rules? And if so, who are they and given how little we hear from them, why should we care?
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11th Jan 2018, 9:13 PM #19
Lutztoons
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All very solid points. I need to remember to keep the first person speaking on the left. I broke that rule a few times in issue 1. I'll be keeping an eye on that in the future.

Here's my addition:
THOU SHALT ALWAYS KEEP A BUFFER FOR YOUR COMIC PAGES.
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11th Jan 2018, 9:13 PM #20
MK_Wizard

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Definitely! Or at least announce when you're on haitus!
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