One of the most important factors in creating a
manga is the use of panels. Panels allows you to control
what the readers see and help emphasize moods such as endless
space with a non-frame (i.e. borderless panel) or change
of pace such as a flashback.
The whole page itself can be considered a panel in its
own right. You will see the use of two pages as one huge
panel called a "one-in-two pictures" mostly in
shoujo manga where pacing is generally slower. Also, you
may encounter panels of all types from regular, thin, long,
short, small, and irregular shapes as shown below.
Be careful not to go too crazy with shaped paneling. There
always has to be structure behind your panels to ensure
good pacing, transition, and flow of storytelling. I'll
discuss more about pacing or timing and transitions at another
A neat feature of comics is the ability to darken the spaces
around panels for a darker tone. Notice the difference between
the light and the darkened spaced pages below.
As mentioned earlier, there are artists who prefer to use borderless
panels or non-frames. Each image flows from one to another
creating a muralistic effect in whole.
Other than that, another technique is the panel within the
panel as shown in the example below. The entire scene is
taken in from the side view moving to the girl in the background
and a close-up panel of the girl. The door frame could be
taken in as another panel, seperating the girl from the
two in the forefront. Speaking of which, if you have the
ability to use the surrounding as a "panel border",
don't be afraid to do so! Other examples would be a cave
entrance, trees, and even windows. You could even tilt the
panel to create a sense of irregularity or movement.
I have suggested before, to get ideas and understand paneling,
it would be best if you picked up a variety of mangas for
scrutinization and study. Each artist has their own techniques
and observing how they panel their stories is a lesson of