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This is my first step in designing a page. In a notebook I do a rough scribble of the page (left), showing the size and position of panels, and the action and speech balloons in each panel. Sometimes I'll do two or three thumbnails until I'm happy with the layout.

I trace the panels from a grid (right). The grid has the same proportions as the comic page, but is much smaller. Working on a grid means my page layouts will fit the finished page perfectly.

My page grid is made in Illustrator and contains grids of panels in the following arrangements: 3 x3, 4x 4, 5 x 5 and 6 x 6. I do a new one to match the format of each new publication I work for. The master versions are around A3 and serve as templates for the actual artwork. I then make a smaller copy to trace from in my notebook.

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