Making Comics

Making Comics: Page size advice

reginamantle asked: hi Faith! I’m a big fan of your work, you have a great style and I love seeing the progress posts on The Nameless City. I had a question and I hope it’s okay to ask — at what size do you tend to draw your pages at, and do you have any advice or dos/don’ts when it comes to sizing? (i.e. should one always work at A3 size or can 8.5/11 work too, that sort of thing) thanks in advance, sorry if this is out of place!

Thanks very much! The Nameless City pages are 10 by 14 inches with bleed, which is 1.6 times the size of the book when it will be printed (First Second tends to publish at a standard size of 8.5 by 6 inches). The live area (where important things like speech bubbles should go) on the original pages is 4.875 by 7.5 inches, so they aren’t super big, but big enough. I’m comfortable working at this size. I drew Friends with Boys and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong at this size too.

I think whatever size you draw at that is comfortable for you is probably correct, and you needn’t worry about what the “correct” size for drawing comic pages is. I’ve drawn comics at a lot of different sizes. When I did my old webcomics Demonology 101 and Ice, I drew on 8 by 11 inch printer paper. When I drew The Last of Us: American Dreams, Dark Horse sent me Official Comic Paper, which was much bigger than I normally draw, about 11 by 17 inches with (I think) a live area of 10 by 15.

One suggestion, though: I would recommend drawing as small as you can, because that encourages speed. Drawing The Last of Us on huge sheets of paper really slowed me down, because I felt like I should fill every inch of the paper with detail. When I draw smaller, I focus more on what’s really important in the panel (the characters, the composition, the emotion), instead of tiny details that *seem* important when you’re drawing on a giant page, but then aren’t so important once the page is shrunk down and printed. …. soooooo many late nights on that Last of Us comic, drawing bricks, so many bricks, filling the background with bricks, aaaahh. XD