Using Panels to Shape Visual Storytelling: Organizing Flow in the Graphic Narrative

By Durwin Talon and Guin Thompson.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In illustration, a single storytelling moment can be framed within a single panel. In the comics medium, panels in sequence are employed to create a deeper experience. Panels are the beats behind a narrative. By controlling the panel and utilizing a grid, the author designs the flow of visuals for the reader. This paper explores how the panel can be used to organize scenes, play with time and space, establish beat and create emphasis.

Keywords: Panels, Grids, Layout, Illustration, Children's Books, Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Sequential Art, Sequential Narrative, Visual Storytelling, Visual Narrative

International Journal of the Book, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.21-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.934MB).

Prof. Durwin Talon

Professor, Department of Illustration, School of Communication Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, USA

Professor Durwin Talon has been an illustrator, graphic designer, art director, author and educator in his career. Talon currently teaches for the Illustration Department in the School of Communication Arts, at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has researched, developed and taught technology classes with an emphasis on visual communication, storytelling classes exploring the visual narrative, and technique classes grounded in traditional methods. He has been awarded an SBC Fellowship and several research grants for his academic pursuits. Talon has given numerous lectures and presentations on illustration, sequential art, video games and new media. He has written books on the subject of sequential art (“Panel Discussions” and “Comics Above Ground,” Two Morrows Press), and his illustrations have been featured in covers, gallery exhibitions and advertising. He has served as chair of Interface Symposium and VisionFest Student Animation Competition for the New Media Program in the School of Informatics, Indiana University, IUPUI. His creator-owned projects include: “Bonds” (Image Comics, 2007-2008) and “Beautiful Scars” (with Guin Thompson, Archaia Studio Press, 2009). Bonds has been included in the Society of Illustrators 49 Annual and exhibition.

Guin Thompson

Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, USA

Guin Thompson is a cartoonist, illustrator and author. She has created illustration work for clients including DC Comics, Upper Deck and Archaia Studio Press. She is co-creator on “Beautiful Scars” for Archaia Studio Press and has several solo projects in development.


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