Storytelling tips for comic books
Lewis LaRosa talks about how to interpret scripts and lay out pages to emphasise the action and enhance the narrative…
Lewis LaRosa develops the action and a narrative.
The comic book artist’s job is to visualise the writer’s script in the clearest way possible. If comics were films, the artist would direct, shoot, act, design the costumes, make the props and do the VFX. The amount of control you have over the book is really very exciting.
Comics aren’t TV programmes or films, and have their own storytelling tools. It’s amazing how much the shape, size and order of the panels affect the narrative. Layout alone plays a crucial part in moving the reader’s eye, the pacing and rhythm of the action, the importance of certain story beats, and whether or not a scene is peaceful, full of dramatic tension, or dominated by crazy action.
There’s no one right way to interpret a script and visually tell a story other than to make it easily readable, as engaging as possible, and true to the writer’s intent. Collaborating with your writer and editor – and even your inker and colourist – can really be beneficial by not only making sure everyone’s on the same page, but for bouncing ideas around.
Using Bloodshot issue 25 as an example, I’m going to guide you through the different layout and camera angle techniques a comic artist uses to pace the storyline, highlighting the action and the emotion along the way.