Comic Strip / Comics

What Does Panel Mean in a Comic Strip?

Comics have been an integral part of pop culture for decades, and one of the most essential aspects of a comic strip is the panel. Panels are the individual frames that make up a comic strip and serve as the building blocks for storytelling. In this article, we will explore the definition and significance of panels in comic strips.

What is a Panel?

A panel is a single frame or box that contains illustrations and text, arranged in a sequence, to tell a story. The size, shape, and layout of panels can vary from comic to comic, but they all serve the same purpose – to convey action, emotion, dialogue, or any other narrative element.

Panel Shapes and Sizes

Comics creators can utilize different shapes and sizes of panels to control pacing and create visual interest. Some common panel shapes include rectangular, square, circular, or irregularly shaped panels that mimic the action within them. Panel sizes can range from large splash pages that take up an entire page to tiny insets used for emphasis.

Panel Layouts

The layout of the panels on a page is another crucial aspect of comics creation. Creators can use various techniques such as grids or free-form layouts to control how readers move through a story. A grid layout is often used in traditional comics and involves organizing multiple rectangular or square-shaped panels into rows and columns on a page.

The Importance of Panels

Panels play an essential role in comics storytelling by breaking down complex narratives into digestible chunks for readers. They allow creators to create visual interest by playing with panel size and shape while also controlling pacing through layout options.

Panels also provide context for dialogue or narration by showcasing facial expressions, body language, and setting details. Additionally, panels can be used creatively to convey time jumps or flashbacks within a story.

Furthermore, panels allow comics creators to control the reading experience by directing the reader’s eye across a page. By using panels, creators can control where readers look and in what order they absorb information, thereby enhancing the storytelling experience.


In conclusion, panels are an essential aspect of comic strips that allow creators to tell complex stories through visual storytelling. They provide context for dialogue, pacing to control the reading experience and allow creators to direct readers’ eyes across a page.

The size, shape, and layout of panels can all be used creatively to create interest and emphasize particular narrative elements. Understanding the significance of panels is crucial for anyone interested in creating or consuming comics.