That gutter problem!.....where do you draw the line?



  • I’ve started to discover the problem of the dreaded gutter more and more.
    I just wondered what everyone’s thoughts were on it.
    What is acceptable when crossing that line?
    Characters and main characters seem a big no.
    Background elements see fine.
    Also the effect it can have on composition, as it halves your image instead of our neat compositional thirds and fifths.

    (Sorry I’ve not posted in ages I’ve had a few tight deadlines)
    I hope you’re all doing well and managing to stay safe.



  • @peteolczyk because I've never had to deal with it professionally, it's still a fun problem to me. As a reader of books with illustrations that cross the gutter, I don't worry about the gutter. Probably you don't either - the experience is so fun that we completely ignore the gutter if the illustrator lets us. It's the drama of a full spread that I really love; it's rarely found elsewhere, it's just children's books that have that drama of turning each page. I think comics mostly respect the individual page. Turn up the drama and create a dramatic line through the gutter and it's the chance to make a more immersive scene that surprises when the reader turns the page. If you lump the design elements into positive and negative space, the negative space can be the stuff you want the viewer to see on a second or third read. And a composition that groups elements together so as to make a path through the gutter means that the person looks along that line and their minds will fill in the gutter somewhat. I think it's one of the Gestalt laws. Anyway, I think this kind of visual trickery is a fun part of visual communication.



  • from my experience with editors, the only time they asked me to revise when something crosses gutter is for characters' face/head. No problem with body of character crossing lines so far. I also found sometimes illustrators put body of main characters on this on purpose, to guide the readers. Are you working with editors/book designers? if so, don't worry about gutter too much 😃 because when you send them your drafts, they will pick out such issues or tell you any of their concerns immediately.



  • @idid said in That gutter problem!.....where do you draw the line?:

    from my experience with editors, the only time they asked me to revise when something crosses gutter is for characters' face/head. No problem with body of character crossing lines so far. I also found sometimes illustrators put body of main characters on this on purpose, to guide the readers. Are you working with editors/book designers? if so, don't worry about gutter too much 😃 because when you send them your drafts, they will pick out such issues or tell you any of their concerns immediately.

    Thank you for your insights, you’ve put my mind at ease a bit, maybe it’s not the massive issue I thought it was. Yes I’m working on spreads and they have book designers.
    So as long as faces and heads are away from the gutter it should be fine.



  • @carolinedrawing

    I agree as a reader you hardly notice it.
    Thanks for mentioning the gestalt laws, I had to look it up. Its interesting how your mind fills in the blanks as if there was no break.


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