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Analyzing Elements of Graphic Novels

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Jessie Crandall

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Analyzing Elements of Graphic Novels

There are four frames all of varying size.
refers to how panels are arranged on a page.
• Are there 3 panels in a row? Is one panel larger than the others?

Six frames total. Three are smaller and the other are large.
A panel is an individual frame, or single drawing, in the multiple-panel sequence of a comic strip. A panel consists of a single drawing depicting a frozen moment.
All three photos are a page. The individual photo is a panel.
The lines and borders that contain the panel
These lines show the individual panels. They separate the different panels (frozen scenes).
The space between framed panels
This space between panels is referred to as the gutter.
The Gutter indicates a shift between one panel
and another.
An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page.
These images cover both pages. This is a techniques often used in graphic novels; however, it is not seen in Persepolis.
These show where an object is in space. Is it close up or is it far away?


Objects in the foreground appear to be closest to the viewer. Foreground shows us the main focus of a panel.

Midground objects are in between the foreground and background.

Background shows the images that are farthest away. Background objects provide additional, subtextual information for the reader.
The objects in the midground, and background help provide story support and establish mood.

Foreground, Midground, Backgroud
This female character is in the foreground; which means she is the focus of this panel.
This man is in the Midground; which shows that his importance is secondary to the girls.
This smaller figure is in the background. His placement shows that his presents contributes to the back story but is not more relevant than the female character.
Graphic Weight
A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others.
This character's clothes are all black and the others are grey. Because her clothing is darker the reader's eye is automatically drawn to her. This shows that she is the focus of the panel.
Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people.

Other points to observe about faces include:
• They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out.
• They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

This panel depicts Abraham Lincoln very clearly and is dramatic due to its realism.
This face is an open blank; meaning that the reader must use their understanding of the text and speech to comprehend the emotions of the character.
Hands and Feet
The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.
• Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or fear.
• The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort.
• Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, or shyness.
• Turned in feet may denote embarrassment.
• Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed.

These feet show movement
This hand placed on the chin shows deep thought.
The outstretched hand denotes urgency and wanting.
Color and shading show feelings, moods, and emotions with different colors.
• Is an object solid black, light grey, or white? The colors and shading matter
Shading and Color
The darkness hangs over the girls in an oppressive manor. The shading in this photo denotes danger.
The man on the left is shaded much darker than the man on the right. As result the reader feels differently about each man.
Captions: These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene-setting, description, etc.
Caption explaining a transition in time.
Speech Balloons &
Special Effect Lettering
Speech balloons: These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth.
• Types of speech balloons include those holding:
o External dialogue: speech between characters
o Internal dialogue: a character’s private thoughts

Describe the layout of the page.
• How many panels are there?
• How many fit in a strip?

How do you read the layout of a graphic novel?
Notice the coloration of the two ladies in the picture. Why has the illustrator chosen to color the women in all black?

What mood does this panel give the reader? How do you know?

What does the positioning of Marjane’s hands tell the reader?
What is the purpose of caption narration (found in the boxes at the top or bottom of a panel) in a graphic novel?

Why are some of the speech balloons jagged?

Do you read a speech balloon differently depending on the shape? How do you know?
How do you read a page with multiple speech balloons?
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