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4 Comic Cover Art and Composition Hacks

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

"You can't judge a book by its cover."

For people, sure. For an actual, real-life book, however? Wrong-o!

As a side note, you're going to hear this joke in every video I share with you in this blog post. This was only the first time of many. You're welcome.

So, as I draw closer to finishing the first chapter of my comic (almost there. Seriously, so close), I started thinking about cover art and promotional pieces. That led me down a YouTube Tutorial rabbit hole!

I found that there are two branches of thought you need to follow when planning a piece of cover art. First, you must be familiar with the rules of composition. Second, you must have a very good grasp of your story before attempting to jump into creating a cover for it. (Which you should have if you've been spending all of your spare time living and working in this imaginary world that you have created.)

Below you'll find the four points I've found to be the most useful as I've moved forward into this endeavor.

1. Rule of Thirds

Wikipedia defines the rule of thirds as:

"...guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs.[1] The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.[2] Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject."

However, if like me, you space out during long-winded definitions, here's a little visual for you. This is the piece in its initial (and very rough) stages. I've got in motion with the rule of thirds grid applied to it. (For those of you who notice that the lines and their spacing aren't perfect, cut me a break, I used Microsoft Paint. Hah.)