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Learn How to Craft a Feeling of Isolation in Comics

Panel layout and attention to detail are key in conveying important messages in your comics.
Our protagonist, completely isolated in a crowd full of people. From the comic Material by Ales Kot and Will Tempest. Screencap via

This week’s mini-comic masterclass, Strip Panel Naked, features an up-close look at a few pages from the Image comic Material, by Ales Kot and Will Tempest. In this episode, SPN’s creator and host Hass Otsmane-Elhaou dives deep into the work to show what goes into showing an important aspect of a character, like an isolation from others/society, without hitting the reader over the head with the information.


“The way you frame characters, their size in panels, if they share panels with other people, that all creates an effect on the page,” says Otsmane-Elhaou. “In the first two pages of Material there's a heavy design going on to make you feel a sense of loneliness to the main character.” Otsmane-Elhaou says that the creators of this comic had a lot more room than usual to experiment because “they're working primarily without editors and with their own material, so they can play around with what they're doing a bit more, for better or worse.”

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Four characters, isolated by time, place, and circumstance. From the comic Material by Ales Kot and Will Tempest. Screencap via

While the writing in this issue works hard to subtly get across a sense of isolation, it wouldn’t hit home without the artist’s deep collaboration. “Comics aren't just about an artist drawing whatever is written on the script,” says Otsmane-Elhaou, “but bringing their understanding of telling a story visually to the content of the script.”

Check out the video below:

To see more, visit the Strip Panel Naked YouTube page, and check out its Patreon page to support the series.


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