Get to know the graphic resources of a comic strip and create amazing comics

Today you will learn all about the graphic resources of a comic book and why they are so important to tell stories that everyone will be dying to read.

Nowadays, fiction and fantasy movies are the most watched movies around the world and bring in millions of dollars to the film industry every year, did you know that most of them are based on comic books? That’s right, it’s all based on a well-made comic book!

But what is a comic book? In a nutshell, it is a story told through a series of illustrations that are combined with a written text, which can be used for entertainment and educational purposes. Moreover, due to the advance of technology, you can enjoy this material in both physical and digital formats.

On the other hand, there are several types of comics, such as, for example, comic strips, science fiction, Western and sports; that is, you can create a comic strip on any topic that crosses your mind. However, the key to its success is the way the plot is told, which is where the graphic resources of the comic book come into play.

So, if you have already reviewed how to make a comic book and want to learn how to enhance your next creation, besides getting inspired by these science fiction comics, you need to find out what resources are used in a comic book, which you will see in this article. Also, at the end you’ll find a list of free tools so you can put together your illustrated story without stressing out.

let’s get started!

what are the graphic resources of a comic book?

The graphic resources of a comic book correspond to all those elements that give life to the comic. According to the University on the Internet, graphic resources allow to bring emphasis and beauty to a text. Although they are not used in the usual language, they are essential to bring dynamism to the story.

It isthanks to the graphic resources of a comic that we can easily recognize it and understand the sense of the story. Comics must have a sequence or order, which allows the reader to maintain the continuation of the story.

The graphic resources of a comic book that are available today, give a versatility to the genre much more coarse. Remember that the audience must be able to identify with what they read and feel that they are part of the story.

By using the graphic resources of a comic book, you will be able to design a comic book that impresses the reader and keeps them glued to the plot until the end.

Image: Unsplash

what are the graphic assets of a comic book?

So, in order to captivate your readers with the next graphic novel you make, you need to know what are the different visual resources of the comic book. Below, we’ll tell you more about each of them so you can discover how they’re used and what they’re for.

take note!

1. Vignettes or frames

Also known as framing, this is the main graphic resource of a comic book and refers to the space used to represent the part of the story that is being told; that is, each vignette contains a scene and together they tell a story.

Andrés Garrido, professor of the course to create your editorial comic book project, tells us that the vignettes are the basic unit of any comic book, because that is where the story is told and the passage of time takes place.

Generally, they have a rectangular shape, but they can also be square, oval or cover a full page. According to our expert, we can deform this graphic resource in a comic to give impact to what we are talking about, especially when we want to emphasize a sound.

Finally, you should know that all types of vignettes in a comic book are placed sequentially, that is, they dictate the order of the events of the story. Likewise, it is important to determine the shot of each vignette, since, as well as cinematic shots, they will help establish the reader’s perspective and convey specific messages or emotions.

Image: Unsplash

2. Drawing or illustrations

Continuing with our list about the graphic resources of a comic book, it is time for you to know a little more about the drawings and illustrations, as these elements represent the environment or space where the story of the comic book is taking place. Here we can find the characters.

All these representations go inside the vignettes, with the characteristic style of the genre and the author. In the same way, it is worth mentioning that they follow a similar format and follow a pattern throughout the comic.

In turn, these graphic resources of a comic strip can range from simple and cartoonish to drawings of enormous realism. As we mentioned, this is generally defined by the genre of the comic strip and by the writer’s own tastes.

3. Text balloons

Also known as bocadillos or fumetti, they are the most characteristic graphic resources of this literary model, however, they are not essential .

As we mentioned before, not all comics contain dialogues or text, but if the author so wishes, he can make use of this graphic element in his comic to express what the character is saying. Also the text balloon is where the character’s internal dialogue or thoughts are expressed.

Generally, the dialogue balloon is designed in an oval or cloud shape and the stub indicates which character in the cartoon is the sender of the comment. Likewise, Andrés Garrido tells us that text balloons can alter their shape based on what the character wants to express, for example, a shout, a whisper or a trembling voice.

According to Ilka Perea, an expert in illustration and design, the types of text balloons to be used should be defined before illustrating the cartoon, so you can ensure a correct choice to communicate what is expected.

Image: Youtube

4. Text

As its name indicates and although it is not always used in this literary genre, text is the written part of the comic.

To include this graphic resource in your comic, you should know that it can vary in size, a fact that has different effects on the reading. For example, if the text is very large, it can mean an intense intonation in the voice of the narrator or characters, while if it is very small, it represents a low intensity in the voice. Similarly, bold type is used to highlight relevant information.

On the other hand, the typography of the text also communicates. Handwriting-like typefaces are often used to give a sense of closeness and humanity to the characters. Additionally, it is usual to give a particular effect to the typography to convey a specific feeling or sensation.

This graphic resource in a comic strip can represent movements or sensations, adding senses that are difficult to express exclusively through a drawing or illustration.

5. Onomatopoeias

Possibly, this is one of the most representative graphic resources in a comic strip. Onomatopoeias are all the conventional sounds that, in one way or another, express the sound of blows, actions or movements that the characters execute. Besides, it is worth mentioning that these will vary according to the language.

These graphic resources of a story can be inside a text balloon or outside it. Some common examples could be:


6. Poster

This comic resource is also known as cartouche. Generally, it is located at the top of the page and inside a box, by means of a written message it sets the scene and supports the development of the story.

Through the cartouches, the author can give a brief explanation of the previous events or provide information that the reader does not know.

7. Visual metaphors

The comic strip or comic has resources such as visual metaphors that express ideas through symbolic images, related to the emotional and psychological functioning of the characters. They serve to enhance sensations, feelings or moods.

For example, a heart inside a balloon expresses love; a question mark on a balloon expresses doubt; and a lit light bulb over the character’s head represents a new idea.

Image: Pexels

8. Kinetic figures

This type of cartoon graphic resource is used to represent the movement of objects and characters.

For example, the tire tracks on the ground to express that a car is speeding or the lines behind a character running to depict that he is in motion.

Image: Pinterest

9. Gesture code

This graphic resource of a comic strip refers to all those emotions expressed through characteristic gestures that in a certain way transmit different situations to the reader.

There are two types of gestures used as graphic resources in comics. On the one hand, functional gestures are similar in all characters and serve to convey situational emotions.

On the other hand, initial gestures are used to indicate characteristics, although they can also be purely decorative.

Some common examples of this graphic resource within a comic strip may be:

Raised eyebrows and an exaggerated open mouth represent surprise.
Dropped eyebrows show sadness or concern.
Furrowed eyebrows symbolize anger or disagreement.
Bristling hair and goose bumps represent fear.

Image: Pexels

10. Plans

Within the graphic resources of a comic, there is a great variety of shots that the comic uses, the most important of which are presented below:

1. big general shot: shows an image that frames the context where the action takes place.

2. general shot: frames the characters from head to toe.

3. american shot: focuses on the characters at the height of the human figure.

4. close-up: shows the character from the shoulders to the head.

5. medium shot: shows the figure from the waist of the character.

6. detail shot : frames a single part or detail that may have been overlooked.

7. zenith shot: the image is focused from above at an angle of 90° degrees perpendicular to the ground and allows observing the details of the painting.

8.close-up : the scene is depicted in a downward slanting orientation and gives the characters a weak and innocent appearance.

9. close-up: the image is portrayed from the perspective of the characters. This cartoon resource is used to give a sense of power.

10. nadir shot: the frame is below the subject at a perpendicular angle. This brings drama and aesthetics to the cartoon scene.

11. dorsal shot: gives us the perspective of the character in the scene, since it captures the image from behind his back

12. side shot: the vignette is portrayed to show the profile of the character in the cartoon and is used to capture details that would be lost from a frontal perspective.

Image: Pinterest

Free tools to make a comic strip without complications

Now that you know what the graphic resources of the cartoon are and what each one is for, we suggest you to continue enhancing your creativity with these resources and free downloadable tools to improve your next compositions

1. Fonts for comics by Alba Lez

don’t waste thousands of hours looking for fonts! We share with you this downloadable file with a typographic pack created by the teacher and illustrator Alba Lez. So, you can devote your attention to create all your graphic resources of your comic.

You can use this typography not only as part of the graphic elements of a comic, but also to publish digital pieces with creative content in your social networks, thus unifying your brand identity.

If you want to learn more about Alba and get inspired by her comics, comics and illustrations, you can check out her Instagram profile.

alba Lez’s comic fonts

2. Alba Lez’s coloring cartoons

looking for inspiration to create your graphic elements for the cartoon you’re making? bingo! Teacher Alba Lez also shares with us a selection of her vignettes ready to print, color, and release stress in the process.

albalez’s coloring vignettes

3. A step-by-step guide to drawing manga

do you want to approach the comic and its resources in the manga style? Download this guide to draw manga that offers you the following:

You will discover what manga is.
You will be able to make your first sketches of manga drawings.
You will learn about proportions and visual language in manga.
You will know the essential items that you will have to apply to the resources of a manga style cartoon.
You will get a step-by-step guide to start working on the visual resources of your comics.

This way, with the downloadable guide you will be able to know the basic techniques to start giving shape to your manga comics. Remember: the technique is only a part of it, your creativity will be in charge of giving shape to all the characters and resources of the comics .

our guide to draw manga from scratch

4. Guide to start watching anime

This free downloadable tool will serve, more than anything else, to awaken your curiosity and as an inspiration to create your next comic. That’s why this guide to start watching anime is ideal for those moments when creativity barriers appear and you don’t know what graphic resources to use in your comic.

In addition, it links your current tastes and preferences, and, based on that, it recommends your ideal anime series or movies.

Many manga characters made it to the big screen through anime cartoon series. what if the same thing happens with your creations? Just in case, think about characters and resources from oriental style comics.

free our guide to start watching anime

5. Comic book templates for your superhero cartoons

Well, if throughout the article you were able to define the typical resources of a comic book that you need for your work, but you still don’t know how to capture that idea on paper or digital, don’t worry!

These templates have come to solve your life, because we have created for you 3 templates with different finishes so you can use it in the project you want. Although it is focused on superhero stories, this tool is adaptable to any comic.

our comic templates for your superhero cartoons

6. Guide to illustrate narrative

Narrative works follow some criteria to achieve a good structure, which you must take into account so that your work has coherence and, above all, looks good.

After knowing which are the graphic resources of the comic, knowing the key points of our guide to make your work stand out both for the visual content and the plot, will help you gain relevance among the public.

our guide to illustrate narrative

7. Freehand drawing templates

To make an amazing comic strip, it is not enough to include the graphic resources of a comic strip that we have mentioned here, you must also learn how to draw any object you want to include in your cartoons .

To do so, we share with you these drawing templates so you can practice your skills before getting down to work.

our freehand drawing templates

8. Guide to drawing the human body from scratch

If you think that drawing the human body is difficult, relax! With the right methodology, and some practice, it is possible to make a human figure without many complications.

But, what is that methodology? what steps should you follow to draw a human being? Just as we shared with you the graphic resources of a comic book, in this guide, we will tell you all the keys to have the best results drawing your characters.

our guide to draw from scratch the human body

9. Guide to Drawing from Scratch: The Head and the Face

To achieve drama in your story, you can include one of the graphic resources for drawing comics that are related to film shots, such as, for example, the close-up.

To do this, we recommend you learn how to draw the head and face correctly. As in the previous case, this process is usually easier than what is said among artists. With this guide, we prove it to you.

our guide to drawing from scratch: the head and face

10. Learn how to draw 15 facial expressions

if you want the reader to be able to identify with your story and not remain detached from it, it is essential that you learn how to draw facial expressions .

If you also incorporate some of the graphic resources used in a cartoon, such as onomatopoeias, we are sure that your next projects will captivate your readers.

our guide to learn how to draw facial expressions

thank you for joining us here! It is necessary to emphasize that the graphic resources of a comic book are very important, since they give a much more complete and clear versatility to the genre.

Through the graphic resources of a comic book, scriptwriters, cartoonists and lyricists do a great job to represent and express their art in different ways, allowing us to enjoy such a complete and dynamic literary genre.

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