Comic Strip / Comics

How Do You Frame a Comic Strip?

Comic strips are a unique art form that tells stories in a visual and narrative way. The framing of a comic strip is an essential aspect that influences the story’s flow and pacing.

Framing refers to how the panels of a comic strip are arranged on a page, creating an overall structure for the story. In this article, we will explore how to frame a comic strip effectively.

Understanding Panel Layout

Before you start framing your comic strip, it is crucial to understand panel layout. The panel layout defines how many panels will be present on one page and the size of each panel. A typical comic strip page consists of three to six panels, with each panel displaying one scene or action.

Choosing Panel Size

Choosing the right size for each panel is crucial for effective storytelling. There are no fixed rules for panel sizes, but some general guidelines can help create an engaging layout.

Large Panels: Large panels are effective when you want to display significant events or actions that require more space for detail. They also work well when you want to create suspense or tension by slowing down the story’s pace.

Small Panels: Small panels work well when you want to convey quick actions or fast-paced scenes. They can also be used when you have limited space for multiple events on one page.

Using Gutters: Gutters refer to the space between two panels. They help create a visual break between two scenes, making it easier for readers to distinguish between them.

Choosing Panel Shapes

The shape of each panel can also influence the story’s flow and pacing. Here are some common panel shapes:

Rectangular Panels: Rectangular panels are the most common shape used in comic strips. They provide a balanced structure that works well for most stories.

Square Panels: Square panels work well when you want to create a symmetrical layout, or when the content of the panel is square or round.

Irregular Panels: Irregular panels can be used to create a unique and engaging layout. They work well when you want to convey a sense of chaos or disorientation.

Arranging Panels on the Page

Once you have decided on the panel sizes and shapes, it’s time to arrange them on the page. The arrangement of panels can affect how readers perceive the story’s flow and pacing.

Horizontal Layout: A horizontal layout works well for stories that have a linear narrative. The panels are arranged from left to right, creating a sense of progression.

Vertical Layout: A vertical layout works well for stories that have a vertical progression, such as climbing a mountain or falling into a pit. The panels are arranged from top to bottom, creating an upward or downward movement.

Diagonal Layout: A diagonal layout works well when you want to create tension or suspense. The panels are arranged diagonally across the page, creating an unpredictable flow.


Framing a comic strip requires careful consideration of panel size, shape, and arrangement. By following these guidelines, you can create an engaging and effective layout that enhances your story’s flow and pacing. Remember to experiment with different layouts until you find one that works best for your story!