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Terms used in Creating Comics By Zorikh Lequidre Tutorial
The Pages
The Images
The People
Suggested Reading

Terms used in Creating Comics

By Zorikh Lequidre

So now that you know a little about the history of comics, you want to create some? Alright, but first we gotta make sure we’re speaking the same language. Like any specialized media, there is a language of terminology unique to comics. So, if we’re gonna do comics, we gotta be hip to the lingo. Below are two pages of comics.

A. The Pages

This is a splash page. In comic books, it’s usually the first page of the story, and serves as an introduction:

This is a page of comics:

All those numbers are indicating things that have technical names:

1. Blurb: Text or copy relating to the title.

2. Title: The name of the story

3. Credits: Who did what. Sometimes this information is saved for the end of the story.

4. Indicia: Legal stuff about the publication.

5. Open Letters: Outlined letters.

6. Panel: An illustration, usually bordered by a line.

7. Bleed Panel A panel whose illustration goes all the way to the edge of the page.

8. Gutter: The space between the panels

9. Inset Panel: a panel set into another panel.

10. Speech Balloon: Speech that can be heard. Also known as a Word Balloon, Dialogue Balloon or a Voice Balloon. The tail or arrow always points to who or what the speech is coming from.

11. Thought balloon: What the person is thinking.

12. Text Box: Any text that goes with the illustration that is not speech, thought, or sound.

13. Bold: Words that are written heavier than the rest to add emphasis.

14. Sound Effect: It’s a sound effect, OK?

15. Speed Lines: Also called “movement lines.” They indicate movement, especially fast movement.

16. Black: An area of black. It’s important, you’ll see.

B. The Panels:
These are different types of images, or “shots,” with technical names. The first four are based on how far the subject is from the camera:

1. This is a long shot. The subject of the shot is far enough away that you can see his whole body and some floor space in front of him. He’s at least fifteen feet away.

2. This is a medium shot. You can see most or all of the subject’s body. He or she is about eight to twelve feet away.

3. This is a medium-close shot. You can see about half of the subject’s body. It’s about four to seven feet away.

4. This is a close up. The subject is so close that you can only see his face.

5. This is a depth of field shot. The subjects are at different ranges from the "camera."

These next three are based on what direction the viewer is looking

This is an eye-level image. You are looking at things at about eye level.

This is a bird’s eye view. You are looking down from above.

This is a worm’s eye view. You are looking up from below.

In a shot, different areas can have different names:

When considering design of a panel one thing it’s important to be familiar with is the use of positive and negative space:

There are certainly more ways of categorizing images and stuff in an image, but for now, this will do. Keep these pages handy as we go through the tutorials. You never know when a term may slip by you.

C: The People

Rarely is a comic created entirely by one person. Most frequently different jobs are split up among several talented people. For the sake of thoroughness, these are the main specifiable jobs available and subcategories within them.

Now that you know the language, go to the next tutorial and lets see the steps in the creation process!

Continued on Pg. 4: The Process

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