Off Grid

I tend towards using a grid system for panel layouts, as I think it helps clarity of story telling and allows you to get a start on a page without getting too stuck on thinking about the blank page. Occasionally, I break this rule. When I do, it looks like this:

This is a page from the 86ers story ‘Grendel’ (c) Rebellion Development. For context, all proceeding pages and those that followed where strictly grid based. This page isn’t. Part of that was I wanted the dog fights to feel like they’re happening in Zero G – with the reader’s sense of balance thrown off by the panel borders, when there’s no up or down in the page, these panels could be straight on or at a dutch angle. The panel shapes and objects within them favour a zig zag style of reading. But, interestingly, not the normal left to right zig zag of comics but, rather a up down zig zag, allowing me to get some really long panels in there.


This is a slightly skewed grid. I’m not sure if it’s as successful as the previous page – in the sense that reading from panel one, my eyes slip out of it and onto panel 3. Here a plain grid may have been better.


More 86ers in space. This is, basically, a slightly skewed grid panel. So It’s hardly off grid. Next!


I think this page is a flash back to the previous page. Though this shows off a stylistic tic that I’ve been using recently (and by recently I mean very occasionally in the last few years) which is to draw a curved panel border for the bottom panel. I have no idea why that is, nor do I know why it seems to lend itself to some things and not others, but, at some point in the future, I’ll collect them and we can figure it out together.

Author: PJ

Belfast based Comic Artist who won’t shut up on twitter.