Comic Strip / Comics

What Is the Layout of a Comic Strip?

Comic strips are a popular form of visual storytelling that have been around for over a century. They typically consist of a series of panels arranged in a specific layout to convey a narrative. In this article, we will explore the different elements that make up the layout of a comic strip.

Panel Layout

The most basic element of a comic strip is the panel. A panel is a rectangular frame that contains an image or series of images. The size and shape of the panel can vary depending on the style and purpose of the comic strip.

Comic strips usually consist of multiple panels arranged in a specific order to tell a story. This sequence is called the panel layout. The most common panel layouts are:

  • Single Panel: A single, self-contained image with no sequential narrative.
  • Strip: A horizontal row of panels that tells a short story.
  • Page: A page-sized layout consisting of multiple panels that tell a longer story.


The space between two adjacent panels is called the gutter. Gutters can be narrow or wide, depending on how much separation is needed between panels. They play an important role in guiding the reader’s eye from one panel to the next.

Balloons and Captions

Balloons and captions are used to convey dialogue and narration in comic strips. Balloons are typically used for dialogue between characters, while captions provide additional context or narration.

Balloons come in different shapes and sizes to indicate different types of speech, such as thought bubbles for internal monologues or speech bubbles for spoken dialogue. Captions are usually rectangular boxes placed at the top or bottom of the panel.


Composition refers to how the various elements within a panel are arranged. This includes the placement of characters, objects, and text. A well-composed panel can help convey emotion, movement, and action.

Elements within a panel can be arranged using various techniques such as framing, foreground/background focus, and motion lines. Framing refers to the use of borders or other elements to draw attention to specific parts of the panel.

Foreground/background focus is used to create depth and perspective within a panel. Motion lines are used to indicate movement or action.


Color is an important aspect of comic strips that can greatly affect the mood and tone of a story. Color can be used to highlight certain elements within a panel or to create contrast between different parts of the story.

While some comic strips are created entirely in black and white, many modern comic strips use color to enhance the storytelling experience.


In conclusion, the layout of a comic strip consists of multiple panels arranged in a specific order to tell a story. The elements that make up this layout include panels, gutters, balloons and captions, composition, and color. By using these elements effectively, comic strip creators can create engaging narratives that captivate readers.