Comic Strip / Comics

What Is a Frame in a Comic Strip?

Comic strips are a unique form of storytelling that combines visual art and written dialogue to create a captivating narrative. A crucial element in comic strip creation is the frame, which serves as a border or container for the illustrations and text. In this article, we will explore what a frame is in a comic strip and its significance in the storytelling process.

What Is a Frame?

In comic strips, a frame is a rectangle or square that surrounds the illustrations and text. It separates the content from the rest of the page and provides structure to the narrative. Frames can vary in size, shape, and style depending on the creator’s vision for their work.

Why Are Frames Important?

Frames are essential in comic strips as they help guide readers through the story. They act as borders around individual scenes or moments, making it clear where one panel ends and another begins. This helps readers understand when time has passed or when there is a change in location or perspective.

Frames also provide context for the illustrations and text within them. They can set the tone for each panel, emphasizing certain emotions or actions. For example, if there is an action scene taking place, frames can be used to convey movement by creating diagonal lines or using irregular shapes.

Types of Frames

There are several types of frames that creators can use to tell their stories. Here are some of them:

  • Straight Borders: Straight borders are rectangular frames with sharp corners that create clean edges around each panel.
  • Rounded Corners: Rounded corner frames have softer edges that give them a more organic feel.
  • Irregular Shapes: Creators can use irregular shapes such as circles or triangles to create visually interesting panels.
  • Bleed: Bleed frames extend beyond the edge of the page, creating a dramatic effect that draws readers’ attention.

Frames and Storytelling

Frames are not just visual elements in a comic strip; they also play a crucial role in storytelling. Creators use frames to control the pacing of the story, emphasizing certain moments and speeding up or slowing down the action. They can also use frames to create suspense, hinting at what is to come in the next panel.

In addition, frames can be used to convey character emotions and thoughts. Close-up shots of characters’ faces within frames can show their expressions and reactions to events happening around them. This helps readers connect with the characters on an emotional level, making them more invested in the story.


In conclusion, frames are essential components of comic strips that provide structure, context, and guidance for readers. They help tell stories by controlling pacing, emphasizing moments, and conveying emotions and thoughts. By understanding the importance of frames in comic strip creation, creators can use them effectively to capture their audience’s attention and tell compelling stories.