Comic Book / Comics

What Is a Picture in a Comic Book Called?

When reading a comic book, you may have noticed that the illustrations play a crucial role in telling the story. These illustrations, also known as images or drawings, are an essential element of comics. But what is a picture in a comic book called?

The Term: Panel

In the world of comics, a single image or drawing is referred to as a panel. A panel is typically enclosed within a border or frame and contains one specific scene or moment in the story. It is like a snapshot that captures a particular action, dialogue, or emotion.

Types of Panels:

Comic book panels come in various shapes and sizes. Here are some commonly used panel types:

  • Rectangular Panels: These are the most common type of panels and can vary in size and orientation.
  • Square Panels: Square-shaped panels are often used for simplicity and consistency.
  • Circular/Oval Panels: These panels add visual interest and are used to highlight specific details or actions.
  • Irregular Panels: Occasionally, comic artists may use irregularly shaped panels to create unique visual effects.

The Art of Paneling

In addition to their shapes, the arrangement and sequence of panels also contribute to how the story unfolds. This art of arranging panels is known as paneling. It involves considering factors such as pacing, storytelling flow, emphasis on certain events, and overall visual appeal.

A skilled comic artist carefully plans the panel layout to guide readers through the story smoothly. They may use techniques like varying panel sizes to indicate importance or urgency, creating larger panels for dramatic moments, or using smaller panels to show quick actions or dialogue exchanges.

Panel Transitions:

The transition between panels is crucial in comic book storytelling. It dictates how readers perceive the passage of time, actions, and the overall narrative flow. Here are some common types of panel transitions:

  • 1. Moment-to-Moment: This type of transition shows a single action unfolding across multiple panels, emphasizing the progression and capturing the intensity of the moment.
  • 2. Action-to-Action: In this transition, a single subject is shown in different stages of action or movement, creating a sense of continuity.
  • 3.

    Subject-to-Subject: This transition shifts focus from one subject to another, often used to convey simultaneous events or perspectives.

  • 4. Scene-to-Scene: Here, the transition takes place between different locations or times, providing broader context and advancing the story.
  • 5. Aspect-to-Aspect: This type of transition focuses on capturing various aspects or details within a particular scene without progressing the story significantly.

The Impact of Panels

Panels have a significant impact on how readers experience and interpret a comic book. They help establish the mood, pace the story’s rhythm, create visual interest, and highlight key moments.

The use of bold lines, vibrant colors, shading techniques, and other artistic elements within each panel further enhances its impact and adds depth to the storytelling process.

Beyond Panels: Splash Pages and Double-page Spreads

In addition to individual panels, comic books may also feature larger illustrations that span an entire page or even two pages. These are known as splash pages and double-page spreads.

Splash pages are used to make a significant visual impact, often depicting a pivotal moment in the story. They provide a break from the regular paneling and allow the artist to showcase detailed artwork or emphasize a powerful image.

Double-page spreads, as the name suggests, span across two facing pages. They are commonly used for expansive scenes, action sequences, or to establish a grand scale.

In Conclusion

So, the next time you pick up a comic book, remember that each individual drawing or image within it is called a panel. Panels are carefully crafted to tell stories visually, guiding readers through a sequential narrative while providing an immersive experience.

With their varying shapes, sizes, and arrangements, panels play a vital role in conveying emotions, actions, and overall storytelling in comic books.

Now that you know what these pictures are called in comics, dive into your favorite series and appreciate the artistry behind each panel!