Sometimes when I want to draw comics, my struggle is not with the story or the characters, but the page layout. This isn’t just about laying out the panels, but which way the panels should be read.
Should they be read Western Style, from left to right? Or should they be read Japanese style, from right to left?
I’m sure people reading this would either go “Western Style, duh, you’re American” or “Japanese style, duh, you draw anime”. They’re semi-valid points to me, but I feel like if you use “because you’re this, you have to do this” is far too restricting for my taste. I like that I can choose whichever style I want.
Sometimes when I start doing comics, I do know right away if I’m going to go with the Western Style or Japanese Style page layouts. This is partially a consideration of my audience, but largely just a feeling of which way the comic should read.
Other times though, as I said, I don’t know. This is particularly troublesome when I’m trying to appeal to the largest possible audience I can. While I will be drawing the comics primarily for myself, I would like to encourage people to read what I’m creating. I risk alienating people from both sides and I don’t know which one would be the larger audience. People who like comics read left to right or people who like comics read right to left?
I know some people have given me the arguments that a lot of the websites that host webcomics only go Western Style (left to right), but since I aim to ONLY post on my own website, I don’t feel like this applies to me (I also would argue that if you draw the page to be read Japanese Style (right to left), people will read it even if they have to hit the “next” button on the left — I do that all the time on my iPad with my manga PDFs). I think some people believe too that the Western Style comics have wider appeal.
Do they though?
I will be honest with you — Western-Style comics, reading left-to-right, turn me off. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read SO much manga that are laid out the Japanese-Style way, just seeing that a comic is done with a Western-Style layout makes me skip over it. I’m trying to get a bit better at that now, but still, for the most part, I found it’s harder for MYSELF to read Western-Style comics.
In short, I just don’t like comics that go left-to-right.
That being said, I imagine that there are more people out there who are like me. Left-to-Right comics just make us scowl like it’s something fowl.
I risk alienating them.
Heck, I alienate myself.
If I did a Western-Style comic, I wouldn’t even read it simply because it was Western-Style.
Who exactly do I want to target with my comics though?
And who would actually read my comics?
I’m not sure.
Well, actually, that’s kind of a lie. I’m pretty sure anime/manga fans would read my comics because of my drawing style.
I am thinking that when I draw my comics, the reading format would be dependent on what I’m drawing and who I am primarily targeting. If it’s something that is essentially a series, to keep it consistent, I would draw the page layout all the same. However, if it was a one shot, I might do a different format. A lot of this depends on how I feel.
A lot of my internal debate is for series I want to draw and which style I should draw them in.
– I don’t know what format my comic SERIES should be drawn in
– I risk alienating two different audiences
– I believe my PRIMARY audience would be anime-watchers and manga-readers
– Western-Style comics alienate myself
– I can’t tell if Western-Style comics would reach a wider audience or would Japanese-Style comics reach a wider audience? Or would they both reach the same amount?
Thank you for voting!