The Secret Language of Comics

Lady Luck

I found creating my quadriptych comic much easier than creating the triptych comic because having an additional comic square allowed me to tell a better story. Initially, I wanted to make a funny or clever comic, like the examples in the sketch 7 assignment post, but after brainstorming for a bit no ideas really worked out, so I did something more in my comfort zone and made a darker comic. I decided to compose the comic with the first 3 panels zooming out a little bit at a time until the third panel showed the full picture, and the fourth was the conclusion. My intended goal was to create a plot twist within the 4 frames to make a dark comic with a misleading beginning. I made the first two panels about the luck of ladybugs, in order to mislead the reader and make them believe that something lucky may happen, and then made the last 2 panels showcase the result of ignoring the sign of a lucky ladybug. This assignment, though not as challenging as the triptych comic, was still challenging for similar reasons: it’s hard to tell a complete story in so few panels. Having the middle act stretch across two panels rather than one made it much easier to include important details in my story, therefore allowing me to make the story more complex than the triptych comic because the additional panel allowed me to better build-up to the plot twist.

Sketch 7: Quadriptych

due: 2/27

tag: sk7

You’ve made a one-panel image with your avatar, combined two images with your combophotos, and made a traditional three-panel comic like those that used to dominate the Sunday funnies sections of newspapers. This week, I’d like you to make a 4-panel comic like the ones that are currently dominating web comics.

As Peter Rubin argues in Wired, “Four-panel strips have been a fixture since early 20th-century newspaper comics like Mutt and Jeff and the concomitant appearance of yonkoma (“four-cell”) manga in Japan. It’s the perfect three-act-structure: You start at one end, develop conflict in the middle two panels, and resolve with a punch line at the end. But thanks to a number of factors—not least of which is the rise of Instagram and Reddit—a gridded, two-by-two variant has come to dominate the internet.” Notice that the four-panel comic, Rubin claims, still has a three-act structure.

You probably already know examples of such 4-panel web comics. You might check out the comics of Nathan Pyle or comics such as “Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall.”


Then make your own four-panel square comic. Just like with your triptych, you should still focus on telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end and you are still free to use photographs or to draw in whatever style you’d like. Focus, again, on compact, playful storytelling.

You can combine the four images into a single one or you can publish them to your post as separate images. In order to create a square in the WordPress block structure, you’ll simply need to add 2 “columns” blocks to your post and then hover over the top of each column block to add an image.

Step one: Add a Columns layout block
Step two: Add an image to each block

Column blocks are found in the “Layouts” section of the block selector. They allow you to format your blog posts with columns, to which you can add images or paragraphs of text or embed other elements and so on.

Like with your triptych, add a paragraph of text reflecting on your quadriptych comic. Describe the composition process a little bit. What was challenging about this assignment? How is crafting this sort of comic strip different or similar to the triptych? How was it different to have the middle act stretch across two panels rather than one? Why did you tell the kind of story that you did?