The "Flow of Current" in Manga – Paneling Basics – Japanese Manga 101 – #009
13/03/2015 4 min read
Today we talk about the art of paneling!
DIRECTION OF PANEL FLOW : The Basics
Eiji Hashimoto Sensei’s Example from “Chiru-ran”Do you see the flow, that goes from right to left? In Japanese language version, dialogues are drawing vertically, in right to left order. A reader’s eyes, don’t have to move back and forth, when reading it. This smooth flow, is very important. (While in many of the translated versions, translator work hard to ensure smooth reading experience, even the page order is different to their usual order) See these examples, A and B, both some panels from “Chiruran” – Which one of the two do you think a reader feel, as moving faster? (thinking time…) The answer is A. – In A, the action is drawn in Right to Left vector. In the same flow with the rest of manga, creating illusion of gaining more speed. While in B, is drawn against the flow, creating illusion of being much slower.
DIRECTION OF PANEL FLOW : Hojo sensei’s exampleIn “Angel Heart”, by Hojo sensei, the story is drawn from right to left… Then, by drawing in the same direction as the flow, right to left, gun firing action and the bullet travelling is made to feel like being of greater force.
DIRECTION OF PANEL FLOW : Hara Sensei’s ExampleThis is a spread from “Fist of the North Star, The Ultimate Edition”, by Hara sensei. Here, the enemy troops are approaching fast! from the right hand side. Then, by drawing the man and horse AGAINST the flow, in LEFT to RIGHT, it create illusion of NOT ONLY being slower, but ALSO being strong, and powerful, pushing against the enemy troops. By using this simple rule of “Flow”, characters are expressed as being “Faster”, “Sharper”, “light”, “Smooth”, when drawn from RIGHT to LEFT. In the other direction, of LEFT to RIGHT, that creates illusion of being “Slower”, “Quiet”, “Heavy”, and “Powerful”. When you are laying out panels for your next piece, keep those simple rules in mind!
GOT IT!?In the next episode, we are gonna dig deeper, into the art of panelling. While we meet again, it may be a good idea to back to our earlier episodes, to recap what you’ve learnt so far. See you next time!