Friday, January 20, 2012

Lets talk: Diagonals

Okay today we are going to talk diagonals and how they are used in sequential art to inject energy and movement into your story.  In the thumbnail below I have used diagonals in my panel compositions to make this page more energetic.  I also used the rule of thirds in each panel.
Hulk 30.1 Marvel sample
By using lines diagonal to the panel borders helps create movement and makes it easier to direct the readers eye to desired locations.  When trying to make more energy driven panels I try to avoid lines parallel to the borders.  Lines that are parallel to the borders are for more static compositions or moments, iconic scenes or maybe moments that require a pause or slow down in your story.  This scene however is movement laden.
    In panel one the diagonal can be easily seen by the smoke trail left by the Hulk's descending body.  Panel 2 is a little harder, The turn of the Hulks head, the angle of the Hulks torso and the angles created by the Hulks shoulders and hips are my diagonals here.  Panel 3 is kind of easy too.  the diagonals are used to point out what is creating most interest for the Hulk, The plane.  The Hulk line sight creates a diagonal as well as the trees in the background.  There is also a plume of smoke that goes in an opposite diagonal to counter balance the panel with the Hulk on the right of the panel.  Panel 4 is another easy one.  The Hulks shoulders, leg, hand placement and the environment.  Panel 5 uses diagonals ultimately to point you the object of Hulks desires, the plane but to help create the sense of movement and drastic change in energy.  I use a trail of rocks, the treeline and speed lines following hulk along the same diagonal to the vanishing point that sits on the hulk and The Hulk,of course, sits on a diagonal line that ends at the plane.  Okay,  Now this panel the whole scene is at and angle to create the off balance feel it needs.  The diagonal is used to create an unsteady feel and and the the diagonal shadow is used to conceal the figure in the background (in the script) but also to help bring out the foreground element, the guy at the communications desk saying "oh crap, the Hulk is coming!!!!".
   Using diagonal lines in our compositions is an effective method of creating a little energy and visual excitement in some if not most boring layout choices.