Literature Review

When looking through all of the secondary research which I could and will use when creating this I wanted to keep it organised into certain sections which I could just see what I can work with.

All of the links to the online sources can be found in the bibliography which are fully Harvard referenced.

Medieval Architecture

As my project is strongly inspired by Gothic architecture which is based around medieval architecture, I wanted to make sure that I had a lot of strong and useful links and resources for this project.

I’ve wanted to mix up my sources so I looked in the colleges library and found some books which I personally found helpful as they explained things such as how the roofs were made and how they arched. These books also explained a lot of history within these building and also local areas which I based my primary evidence from. These are the following books which I used:

  • Classical Influences On European Culture (Burns, 1971)
  • Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia, 1998)
  • A History of Architecture (Fletcher, 1987)
  • Canterbury a Pictorial History (Green, 1988)

I found one website which I could use, this also references my primary evidence very well. This shows things such as the layout and different images of structures in Canterbury:

  • Canterbury Cathedral Photographs and History Timeline (PARADOXPLACE, Unknown)

In depth look at each resource

Encyclopædia Britannica: This is a great source as it shows me the sort of details they would have within pillars or even things that would be carved within the stone walls. Shows also great clear images of stain glass windows which were used in cathedrals.

A History of Architecture: The photographs of how certain cathedrals were built and also how they developed over time really shows me how these magnificent buildings are designed.

Canterbury Cathedral Photographs and History Timeline: This site has a lot of great photographs of multiple Gothic buildings which can help me with drawing the environment of the graphic novel. There are also building plans of chapels which can show the scale of these buildings too and how complex they are. Also tells me a history of Canterbury cathedral which I could use to inspire my project.

Character Design

As my project will feature characters which range from monsters and anthropomorphic beings. I needed to find as many character design resources to help me and let me understand how a character would be designed.

I started with looking online to see if I could find anything from popular animators like Pixar for example and I actually did. I saw how they planned and designed their characters which helps me get a understanding on how I could create my characters. These are the online sources I could find that would help me with character design:

  • Character Creation – Creative Comic Art
  • Character Design – PIXAR

I also looked at some books which show steps on character design which is useful when developing my characters as I could use them as a guide. These are the following books I could find:

  • Horror Characters
  • Drawing Basics and Video Game Art

In depth look at each resource

Character Creation – Creative Comic Art: This is a good written source as it explains the fundamentals of creating characters and how they should be presented if they’re a protagonist/antagonist and more. Shows how to plan the creation of a character and how you should keep in mind their personality to their visual appearance.

Character Design – PIXAR: This is by far the best source for character design as it shows how a professional team creates a character and makes it feel alive. It goes into small details and shows how important it is to have many drafts of a single character instead of sticking to a single idea as that stops your creative thinking.

Horror Characters: This is a good source as it shows the development of a character which closely tie into my genre which I will be planning my graphic novel around. Features the development of dark fantasy characters.


This works hand and hand with character design but it’s an area I personally wanted to research into as I’m not the greatest with anatomy. I wanted to get enough sources which explain things such as the rule of 8 and other important things when posing my characters correctly.

I looked online to see what I could find and I found everything I needed and it was illustrated well. It explained facial anatomy and also body anatomy which are both extremely important when designing a graphic novel which relies on actions and facial expressions to portray a story. Here are the online sources that I found:

  • Proportions of the Human Figure : How to Draw the Human Figure in the Correct Proportions
  • Human Proportions
  • Standard Proportions Of The Human Body
  • Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Drawing Characters Consistently

In depth look at each resource

How to Draw the Human Figure in the Correct Proportions: This source is the best in anatomy as it not only shows the guides on how to draw a standing character but as well as someone who is sitting, someone who is further away, someone who is doing a pose and at a angel. Shows anatomy for women, men and children.

Human Proportions: This source shows how to draw a face in detail and how the eyes, noses and lips should all fit well into a format that was mentioned in the source. Also talks about poses and body anatomy.

Standard Proportions Of The Human Body: This source talks about similar things as the first source mentioned but this one goes into slightly more detail in terms of visualizing the proportions. As in the characters head should fit into the characters height 8 times or 5 times if you’re creating a child.

Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Drawing Characters Consistently: This source shows how to draw a face in order to reference back to it when wanting to consistently draw that one character without it looking different. It explains this process in detail which is fantastic.

Graphic Novel

As my project is a graphic novel then I would need to research about graphic novels and how they are created/planned. I wanted to see how they are structured and if they follow some kind of pattern and or formula.

I looked at some books within the library but sadly there wasn’t much but the only one I found was amazingly detailed and useful. It explains things such as negative space and how you can use it to attract the eyes of the reader to a certain area or follow a path which you want them to follow. This is the book which I was referring to:

  • Framed INK

I looked online as I couldn’t find anything that was relevant to my work in the library. I’ve came across a couple of interesting pages which talk about the formula of graphic novels and how they should be in terms of lay out. These are the online resources which I found:

  • Panel Layout: The Golden Ratio – MakingComics.com
  • Layout Workbook 4 | The Comics Journal

In depth look at each resource

Framed INK: This is a great source which shows how to use negative space in order to focus your attention to certain places of the novel and how you can create different moods by using different lighting.

Panel Layout: The Golden Ratio: This source talks about how to layout your panels and how they should be split up. Talks about how the panel should flow between the boxes and be a smooth transition.

Layout Workbook 4 | The Comics Journal: This source also talks about the panel layout but also introduces a format which can help in the layout of the page. It talks about splitting the page and how it should fit within this format.


This is a very important process as it allows you to get a lot of resources and enables you to really see what is out there, I will use these for my development of the project.

Graphic Novel Case study

Graphic novels have been around for a very long time, a popular one that I will be basing this entire case study around is Batman as It went through a lot in terms of the art style and character design.

What are graphic novels?

Graphic novels are novels which are presented in a comic strip fashion. They follow certain art style throughout the whole novel or even through many editions but it’s uncommon for them to actually change the art direction. Certain publishers keep to a art style within their Graphic novels and have a huge following which inspire a lot of different medias such as video games.

Graphic novels are actually aimed at everyone surprisingly, as people who grew up with them would more likely still read them at an older age. The audience for graphic novels is huge and a lot of people read and enjoy them, including myself.

There are different graphic novels which are presented in different formats. For example you can easily find physical copies of graphic novels in book shops, libraries or even order them online. I personally follow a online graphic novel which updates weekly, these are free and tend to rely from advertisements and also donations.

What makes a successful novel?

There are many things which can make a successful novel which include things such as the following:

  • Layout
  • Characters
  • Story
  • Progression
  • Art
  • Words
  • Script
  • Typeface
  • Style
  • Colours

Layout is needed for a novel as it’s how the reader interacts with the novel itself, the layout needs to be clean and follow a formula which a lot of graphic novels follow.

Characters are essential as that’s what the novel will be based around and also progress the story of the novel, they develop the story and create a feeling to the entire novel and gives the whole thing emotion. This leads nicely to story and progression, when the graphic novel tells a strong convincing story which has to have no plot holes. When thinking of having multiple editions of the graphic novels you would have to think of the progression of the story through multiple novels and how it would all build up into some kind of finale.

Words, script and typeface would be created by someone who is a specialist in this. They’re all different from one another, for example the script is the narrative which the characters within the story would talk to one another. Words could be certain words which would be used by different characters and finally the typeface would be things such as the font and emphasis on certain words to give them impact or a certain feel/emotion.

Colours and art are something which are fundamental within a graphic novel as the name suggest they are a “graphic” representation of a novel. Certain publishers stick to a certain art style but they can change as times go on.

Styles within Batman

When looking back at the older batman graphics novels and compared them to the newer ones I’ve noticed a drastic chang

Character design within Batman


Burns, H., 1971. Classical Influences On European Culture. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Encyclopædia, T. E. o., 1998. Gothic art. Encyclopædia Britannica, 20 July, p. N/a.

English Heritage, Unknown. MEDIEVAL PART I: ARCHITECTURE. English Heritage, Unknown Unknown, p. N/a.

Fletcher, S. B., 1987. A History of Architecture. 19th ed. London: Butterworths.

Green, I., 1988. Canterbury a Pictorial History. 1st ed. Chichester: Phillimore.

PARADOXPLACE, Unknown. Canterbury Cathedral Photographs and History Timeline. [Online]
Available at: http://www.paradoxplace.com/Photo%20Pages/UK/Britain_South_and_West/Canterbury_Cathedral/Canterbury.htm
[Accessed 4 May 2017].

Creative Comic Art, Unknown. Character Creation – Creative Comic Art. [Online]
Available at: http://www.creativecomicart.com/character-creation.html
[Accessed 4 May 2017].

Glaser, J., 2010. Horror Characters. 1st ed. Irvine: Walter Foster Publishing.

PIXAR, 2013. Character Design – PIXAR. [Online]
Available at: http://pixar-animation.weebly.com/character-design.html
[Accessed 4 May 2017].

Solarski, C., 2017. Drawing Basics and Video Game Art. 1st ed. New York: Watson-Guptill.

Drawing how to Draw, 2016. Proportions of the Human Figure : How to Draw the Human Figure in the Correct Proportions – How to Draw Step by Step Drawing Tutorials. [Online]
Available at: http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/stepbystepdrawinglessons/2016/04/proportions-human-figure-draw-human-figure-correct-proportions/
[Accessed 5 May 2017].

Jusko, D. A., 2014. Human Proportions. [Online]
Available at: http://www.realcolorwheel.com/human.htm
[Accessed 5 May 2017].

Larson, D., 2014. Standard Proportions Of The Human Body – MakingComics.com. [Online]
Available at: http://www.makingcomics.com/2014/01/19/standard-proportions-human-body/
[Accessed 5 May 2017].

Medlej, J., 2014. Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Drawing Characters Consistently. [Online]
Available at: https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/human-anatomy-fundamentals-drawing-characters-consistently–cms-22112
[Accessed 5 May 2017].

MakingComics, 2014. Panel Layout: The Golden Ratio – MakingComics.com. [Online]
Available at: http://www.makingcomics.com/2014/05/07/panel-layout-golden-ratio/
[Accessed 5 May 2017].

Mateu-mestre, M., 2010. Framed INK. 1st ed. Culver City: Design Studio Press.

Santoro, F., 2011. Layout Workbook 4 | The Comics Journal. [Online]
Available at: http://www.tcj.com/layout-workbook-4/
[Accessed 5 May 2017].