As you go through The Comic Archives you’ll hear many a penciller say that the hardest part of their job is laying out a page. They put all their energy into figuring out the most effective way to tell a story in individual pictures that work together to communicate an action.

The fine folks over at the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization have published an article by David Balan about those very issues that all great comic book artists obsess over.

Here’s an excerpt:

Reading conventions differ for every region of the world, but they all involve a direction of reading. Reading is a process of going from point A to point B. This direction, whether left-to-right (English), right-to-left (Japanese), bottom-to-top (Chinese & Others), or otherwise, defines how we understand language – how one word comes after another to form a sentence, or in comics, how one image comes after another to form a page.
Now, this is a very basic truth of how we comprehend pages as readers. But comics throw us the curveball of images. While words are understood purely through the direction of their reading, images are not. Images are directional experiences unto themselves! When we look an image, our eye is directed by its visual elements to different parts of the picture. This direction is not necessarily confined to a “Point A to Point B” scheme either – images can have our eyes rise, drop, coast, fall, and spiral any which way they so desire! This makes the reading of images in sequence actually more difficult if they do not flow very well from one to the next. But using image direction in tandem with reading direction produces incredible results.

Read the full article HERE.

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