Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Loom's Paneling Musings 02: Stepping Down by LOOMcomics Loom's Paneling Musings 02: Stepping Down by LOOMcomics
Musings on Paneling
02: Stepping Down

*_* More Thoughts. Hopefully is ADD friendly. I hope it is approachable and leaves every viewer feeling free to do with the general ideas what they like. This one uses staggering panels and also bleeds to establish hierarchy of reading.

Stepdowns can be great to lead the eye. Likewise, they can step-you-up. Like a transformer! You can "step-up" to the next panel or page in a book, and I see other manga/comic artists use this method a lot! You can use it in all sorts of ways if you wanna explore it! It's really a matter of hierarchy (and it lets you shake things up every once in a while!)

Interesting enough, the manga I find easiest to read usually use stepdowns and stepups a lot, especially the last panel of a spread (YuYu Hakusho, Please Save My Earth, Rurouni Kenshin, Full Metal Alchemist, Naruto). Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara manga uses a variety of stepdown/stepup techniques VERY effectively... Takahiro Arai who I came across in the library uses this well. A lot of people use it well. Skip Beat by Yoshiki Nakamura uses stepping a hella lot.

Again, it's not something people will use all the time (some people forego this especially in collage/overlay types). The most varied panelist I've ever read is Kyoko Ariyoshi, who seems to use and mix every damn godly paneling technique known to mankind. *_*

:star::star::star:Finalized, Unmarked Reference Page Used Can be Viewed Here.:star::star::star:


Vampire Fetish Sample Page (c) *LOOMinate


:iconstopplz: WARNING: This is just one principle concerning a single page. Don't take it to be all encompassing but rather a single penny thrown into the wishing fountain. I'm not saying to always these principles. I'm just musing about them. :)

Other Tutorials in this Series:
:bulletred: 01: The Big #2
:bulletred: 02: Stepping Down
:bulletred: 03: Hand Gestures
:bulletred: 04: Little 2, Big 2

Other Tutorials:
:bulletblue: Mesh-Hatching
:bulletblue: Chain-Hatching
:bulletblue: Comic Thumbnail PLanner
:bulletblue: Comic Spread Planner
Add a Comment:
 
:iconasjjohnson:
AsjJohnson Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This makes sense. Not that I'd remember it while drawing pages... (though I've been taking a long break from comicking right now, anyhow... I really should get back to it...) You said happy Valentine's Day to me earlier. ^_^ But I was looking at this because it was in an animangaArtists deviation stack I wanted to look through. ^_^" And I'm rambling about nothing. >_>" But, this has some good tips. There's too many comics I see that are so ambiguous when it comes to reading direction, and if every page had some of those things, it would be obvious.
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Student Interface Designer
Ohh, I'm weird in that I consider any kind of study kind of like sports practice. When it's game time, you sort of shut off "coaching" and just do it, hoping anything you've studied or practiced has been ingrained in such a way that it comes out during the game. :) Feel free to ramble anytime! I love rambling. ;) In fact, this so-called "tutorial" is really more along the lines of musing/rambling. XD
Reply
:iconasjjohnson:
AsjJohnson Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I guess I kind of think that way, but it also depends on how soon afterward it could be put to use, and if I would turn to doing something the way I've done it numerous times in the past, or the way I'd heard of once or twice. I think for this situation, it's kind of about how I would start out thinking about a page. If it works with the way I usually go about thinking, it would be easy to put to use, but if it's too different, I'd have to consciously remember to think about it.
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Student Interface Designer
:) Makes sense.
Reply
:iconshumijin:
Shumijin Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Your tutorials are amazing :) I've learned a lot, thank you!
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Thank you for commenting! I'm glad they're of use. :D
Reply
:iconoelchampion:
OELchampion Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
This is...surprisingly insightful. This whole series, actually. I can see it being applied to all styles!
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Student Interface Designer
I'm glad you think so!
Reply
:iconsmalljoy:
SmallJoy Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012   Digital Artist
hm. I've never really liked this technique, probably because a lot of the comics that use it a lot, such as skip beat, have such incomprehensible panelling, but also because it seems messy to me, especially having the bleed come off the page. Now that you've explained it, I can see what it's meant for.

It's also pointed out to me a major advantage step downs have over right angle block-based comics, that i'd never realised before, in that it allows for much greater compositional differences between panels wtihout forcing unsuitable proportions. What I mean is, like, in those last three panels, the second two are roughly the same width, and if their horizontal cut off points were the same, they'd be the same size, which is always icky. You'd want to alter their width a little to distinguish them from each other, but because they already have the horizontal difference with the step down, they don't need to be distinguished by width.

If you're doing a series of these tutorials, could you also do one abotu how left-to-right compositions, both of panelling and the stuff in the panels, differ from right-to-left? I see lots of people who really like manga drawing right-to-left comics with compositions that naturally read left-to-right, or people drawing left to right with compositions that naturally read right to left. It's confusing as hell to read and I think some people could really benefit from a tutorial on it.
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Student Interface Designer
It's probably a matter of opinion. I have trouble reading many shoujo manga (I'm generally a shounen and seinen fan), but I found Skip Beat a breeze to read, except for a few parts where the pages are shaped like C's and tend to jump around and the author might use arrows to say, "go here." >.> Hey, nobody's perfect, even pros! But there are some really good paneling eras within it. I was pleased to see that during the "easier to read parts," that she utilized this a lot, and I wondered if it might be part of why I find it much easier to read than other shoujos at those times, despite the sometimes hard-to-swallow (gross?) elongated proportions of the characters. :iconsadnessplz:

And I don't know if I'd consider it an advantage or anything. It's simply different. :) Kind of like in painting, you have so many variations to to pick from when it comes to choosing the content and compositions! This is just a single way of tackling a design problem in a single instance. If you look at my above commentary to *GeoSoulReaper, you'll see loads of examples of comics that don't use this at all. Paneling is infinitely complex and not just isolated to panel design, as I'm sure you know. (Just stating things for the sake of stating things, here.) It also involves a lot of composition within the panels, character context, speech bubbles (which I stress a lot), and sound effects (if used). (Sometimes, for example, you'd look at composition in terms of the character sizes, widths, blahblahblah.) As for horizontal cut-off points, one man who uses them so well that I want to tear my hair out and cry is Tezuka in his Phoenix. There's this one page of the character passing out and the panels step-down until he's unconscious and the effect is sooo cool! *_*

With left-right versus right-left, it's simply mirror-image. I don't understand why we can't just flip it in our minds and apply it to English; that's really what I'm already doing here, actually. ^^; Although one difference for us in English is the challenge of utilizing verticality in speech bubbles (we have to cut down the dialogue whereas the Japanese can cram a lot of text in theirs since they can write so easily in vertical format!) These are tips I picked over time from reading lots of manga and comics. I was also reading about paneling on one of those International Comic sites a few years back that releases PDFs. It was talking about beginning manga composition and it was really cool! So I started cataloging my favorite pages and seeing what activated the spaces. *_*

With Japanese comics, it merely steps down or up in the opposite direction. Like here in the top right is where you begin on the right page, and the bottom left on the left page, which is bled out, is where you'd end. ^^ That's divided up over a two page spread, but it's the same principle expanded on. There's more to it that that when it comes to two-page spreads (you don't want two pages to line up perfectly, for example, in terms of paneling) but this is a good starter for thinking about it, I figured. Thinking of it in miniature or something... It's really good to do two pages at a time, which is why it's good to plan two at a time. This is my planner I made for myself here, and you can see that it calls for two pages: [link]

But I wanted this to be approachable and not too complicated. *collapses* I thought maybe looking at stuff in microcosm would be a good start. Like doing things and then building up/putting it together. Kind of like in fastpitch softball pitching, how you never start out w/the full motion. You start out on your hands and knees and then move to footwork separately. *kills the sports analogy* I think sometimes people look at stuff and it's instant TL;DR effect. Kind of like my replies. >> *gouges out eyes* :icononihauntyou:

And of course, sometimes stuff doesn't come out perfect or you wish you'd done something differently that you did in the past. But...what's done is done, Wilbur. Sometimes, you just have to eat your bacon and poop it out. And move on to the next project/page and apply what new things you've learned. At least, that's how it is for me. *_*
Reply
:iconsmalljoy:
SmallJoy Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012   Digital Artist
Oh yeah, shoujo manga are often impossible to read, but i like skip beat so i give it a shot. I think part of the problem is that she uses a lot of full page vertical divides, which I find harder to read than horizontal divides. Haha. Yeah, their necks are like, taller than their heads sometimes.


*looks up phoenix* I can't find that page of course, but the panelling does look interesting - not very typical of manga, but I suppose it's a lot older than most of what I've read.

I was thinking of stuff like, the order in which you place elements, such at the fact hat in the third panel in your comic above, the feet are seen before the body, reading left to right, which has a more sinister implication than if the order were body before feet. There is a subtle emphasis, I think, that confuses me when it's put in reverse.

I try horizontal text boxes, but it often feels sort of like a caption rather than a speech bubble. Yeah, it's difficult.

Your replies are awesome and these tutorials are great :)
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012  Student Interface Designer
My oldest sister loooves Skip Beat, but you know what (this'll amuse you)? She pets it and lovingly calls it, "The Story of the Giraffe People." T_T She is a true fan, who loves it for its warts and all! And yeah about vertical dividers. This old manga I have uses a lot of vertical dividers, and especially well in volume 8, but I doubt you'd be able to find it. D: It uses them for a lot of closeup and also cityscapes and also time passage. He hits his stride in volumes 6 & 7 with his plane battles but I can't find it anywhere online. Siiigh. >> Sometimes, I just get it out and...stare at the planes. *_* Plaaaaaaaaanes! I'll keep an eye for that sort of format though, thank you. It's a cool thing to bring up. You've got such good point! I think Red River uses vertical panels well, too, if memory serves me correctly. I always liked that one... Now I wanna look...

YESSSS. This is really cool! I kinda like when they're used for time passages like that or sort of like a moving action scene. Here's another. Eh, evidently I have a certain taste when it comes to vertical panels. ^^; Ah finally found one - close-up face shot. Thanks for mentioning this! You picked my brain! :D

I LOVE how Tezuka panels. LOVE. He was a cinema buff, and if you overlook the style of the times (shorter proportion, somewhat more cartoony bodies), there's some fantastic work there. My favorites are Phoenix, Buddha, and BlackJack. :) I'll see if I can look up that page. Tis very cool!

Do you mean like, the depth of it, like if the body of the vampire were in front of Jude's feet and closer to the camera? Yeah, if that's what you mean, I was trying for a blocked off feeling with Jude in front. ^^ I was hoping it would give a private, closed off feeling, and yes, more sinister. So I hope it worked. You know how that goes; you win some, you lose some! ;)

When you say speech boxes, do you mean those square ones that serve as either thoughts or sort of a voice-over?

I'm glad you don't mind my long replies! Thank you for the insightful and stimulating convo!
Reply
:iconsmalljoy:
SmallJoy Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012   Digital Artist
haha, yeah, that's a great name for them. But when you like the story you grow fond of weird art XD

Oh yeah, i forgot vertical dividers can work really well for time passages, but often where it is like, face, body, face, face, in a page, all vertical? That's just not sense.

I like the short bodies, in a way. You can see his influences from european/american cartoons. You just have to give yourself time to get used to it, specially if you switch straight from reading something like skip beat to blackjack XD

yup yup. Your compositions certainly look like they got lots of thought.

Uh, no, sorry! Speech bubbles!! I typed the wrong thing XD

:)
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Student Interface Designer
I know what you mean! I went and got fond of Wallflower just 'cause it was so funny! (And her author's notes are just as outrageous as her manga! XD)
Reply
:iconraythedarkest:
RaytheDarkest Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012
I never even THOUGHT about this before! I pulled out some Naruto, Bleach, and FMA, and lo and behold you're right! Guh. It's times like this I feel inspired and also so behind and dwarfed by all the active comic artists out there. There are subtle things going on that I evidently never even thought about! I really like these. They're easy to read and not too over my head. Thank you for making them. I know it must be a bust to share your secrets in a way! (Especially with us ingrates!) Two things, you're art is super pretty and I always loved the way you tone. If you would, someday, think about a short one on tones or bubbles or sound fx? I would enjoy them, even if they were short!

Also, poor Edmund. *sniff* Rest in peace, dude. With your pearls.
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Well, uhm. I'm glad I made you think? BRAINSSSS.

Well, you can always just start, you know. There's no need to think about it too much... There's no rule out there and certainly comics aren't formulaic. I hope you don't leave these thinking so. It's not a recipe book, more like an idea book. You can always just jump in and see how comicking feels to you. It's not really an academic field, comics. I just made these cause...cause...I have thoughts. @_@

And I don't mind sharing. I mean, these aren't things I came up with, per se. I'm sure others have noticed the same things I have if they've read a lot of manga!!!

As for tone tutorials and sound fx or bubbles. Not right now. >> That would actually be much harder, and there's so many different ways to do it! Even I would do it differently for my own different series! Say how I do VF (occult) versus LH^2 (shoujo). There's no formulaic way to do those things, really.
Reply
:iconbluestormgeo:
BlueStormGeo Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012
I think stuff like that is intuitive for me. I never think about it too hard
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Actually, I see a lot of people not do this one in particular, like for example, in a lot of your works, you bleed out everything on one page as opposed to stepping down from or to a bleed. Like see here, here, or here? The tops and bottoms are generally lined up, not stepping down from any particular reading direction. (This isn't incorrect per se, it's just simply not utilizing any stepdowns, which is what this particular tutorial is about. ^^)

Out of all the pages, I only saw 2 stepdowns on pages 6 & 7, located on the bottom of those pages, so in the end, it's not as intuitive as you'd think! A couple of these things I read about in an article once about how the beginner Japanese comic artists train as compared to us overseas, so it was something I took notes on to enhance my understanding on what artists were consciously doing in manga at the time, (though reversed in terms of direction, since I'm English-style). Does that make more sense what I'm trying to say here? :nod: Also bleeds are improperly located on many of your works (when the printer cuts, you're going to lose a lot of panels because you're not using the tachikiri line or the inner boundary that usually lines up with page numbers... (Oddly enough the margins are closer to correct in the beginning of Geo!) That also might be something worth doing a small tut on the future. You've given me an idea... I had to learn it through trial and error, so it really is tough to get the hang of margins & bleeds unless you actually try and print something out sometimes. :D

It's hard to explain things sometimes. Yeah, it's true a lot of stuff is intuitive, but it's vitally important to try and learn to communicate what's going on up in the old noggin... Luckily, Erin, the girl I mentioned at the end of the tuts really goes to bat trying to help me vocalize what I do and asks a ton of questions during my process when she watches me. :D It's hard because I tend to talk using a lot of gestures and tends to use words like, "the thingy" and "the feeling" and I talk in a lot of onomatopoeia. But it's worth trying to dissect things sometimes, cause I learn a lot that way. ^^
Reply
:iconbluestormgeo:
BlueStormGeo Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012
Oh you're right. I knew that I didn't do it it often but I didn't think I only did it like twice. I'm glad you pointed it out.

And as for the bleeds. Since I was just getting started, I didn't even know about any of that yet. I suppose I was just drawing, and I felt conflicted about the borders because I was just printing it off at home to show around my high school. Because of the space the printer left I decided to just close all the panels towards the end.

In my newest comic though I actually used A4 manga paper so for the first time I was learning to follow the bleeds and understand the safe zone and finishing line. It's kind of funny since I thought I'd have a hard time but I caught on after about two pages. And I looked at all the pages of my new manga and there's no stepdowns :ohnoes:
That's another reason I'm glad you posted this since it seems like I just did it twice and let it fade away from my memory. Now I'll be sure to have at it again
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Student Interface Designer
It's not necessary to comicking or anything, I just thought it'd be helpful to point out! In Akira, Otomo doesn't use bleeds at all, keeping it all within the safe area and there's always a square of white space around his pages. :) There's a huge burden on him to do it alllllll~llll with composition. And hats off to him for that. *_* Likewise, his opposite is Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue, which bleeds out everything all the time! (However, when inside his Shounen demographic during Slam Dunk, he used a lot of margins and stepping.) You'll see bleeding out completely in a lot of Seinen genres, like Berserk, too. However, there's a great amount of variety there, too, because Hellsing dude uses stepping extensively... Death Note (although an SJ title, feels more mature) also uses stepping. So much variety, it's a bit mind-boggling!!!!

You gave me good ideas though; I went through and pulled a bunch of diff. volumes of manga (and genres) to compare across the board to name some examples and put them in the artist notes, so maybe people can go and look them up. (References are always good I figure!)

Margins aren't hard at all. It can just take some getting used to, especially to accommodate different printers and stuff. I think some ppl get a bit of fear of math going on and it seems harder than it actually is. :3 It just may seem tedious at first. ^^

(I'm glad at the very least that it opened your mind to new ideas. New ideas are never bad, even if you don't wind up using them. ;) )
Reply
:iconbluestormgeo:
BlueStormGeo Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012
You're so fun to talk to. You've got great insight
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Eh, I just...have thoughts.

Plus, Erin picks my brain a lot. > :iconnosepickplz:
Reply
:iconbluestormgeo:
BlueStormGeo Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
...I see ^^;
Reply
:iconloomcomics:
LOOMcomics Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Student Interface Designer
:heart:
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
March 16, 2012
Image Size
440 KB
Resolution
900×1835
Submitted with
Sta.sh
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
6,137 (1 today)
Favourites
316 (who?)
Comments
24
Downloads
123
×