Introduction to Graphic Novels

Terms & Concepts


Panel: a distinct segment of the comic

Frame: the lines and borders around the panels

Gutter: space between framed panels

Bleed: image extends beyond edge of the page

Foreground: panel closest to viewer
(Figure here is most important)

Midground: centers the image- natural resting place for vision (figure here is important)

Background: additional information for the reader (figure here is important to the backstory)

Graphic Weight: the way images draw the eye


Faces: can be drawn to depict an actual person or represent an idea or group of people

Hands & Feet: position of these can be used to express what is going on in the story

Image Credit: Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York, NY: Pantheon, 2003. Print.


Captions: contain a variety of text elements

Speech Balloons: enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker's mouth

Special- Effects Lettering: draws attention to the text