How to make a polyptych

One of the assignments in the cartoon course last week was to write down our three favourite cartoons. I was always a huge fan of the Perishers, written by Maurice Dodd and Drawn by Dennis Collins, that used to run in the Daily Mirror.

One feature of the Perishers was that many strips were polyptychs - a single continuous background image divided into separate panels, with the characters moving across it from panel to panel. Here is an example.

I'd always wanted to have a go at creating a polyptych, but had never gotten around to it. Seeing as I wanted to try creating a strip that was more complex than Gerald the goat, I thought it would be perfect time to try this style. For the characters, I decided to use the woman and the crocdile who had featured in several single panel cartoons over the past month. These pictures were drawn in ballpoint, and then scanned in to colour and finish. As there were quite sketchy, I decided to draw some slightly simpler characters based on them using the tablet, so as to speed up the process.


First I drew the two characters, and then produced two different sets of poses based on the originals to speed up the process, and keep new drawing to a minimal. This would also ensure that the characters would remain consistent from panel to panel.

I then laid out the characters as they would appear in the final drawing.

I put a transparent layer over the characters and then drew the background, using the characters as a guide for scale.

The characters were then put on top of the background.


I then flipped the image and colour it in. After that I added the writing, and then the speech bubbles around them. Finally, I broke the image up into three panels and added the border.