Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome to One Panel Improv!

Hello!  What is One Panel Improv (OPI)?  It is an ongoing comics art project where each new panel is drawn by a different artist.  I will start it off by drawing one panel of something, and the next panel will be drawn by another artist whose action will follow my panel.  And then another artist will draw another panel whose action will follow that panel and so on and so on.  Each panel would add onto the story, piece by piece, taking it in new and exciting directions!  Ideally, I would love for this to go on for years, and also, let’s have fun!

Some Rules

  1. If you want to participate, send me an email (greg.thelen @ with your name and a link to your artwork.  I don’t want to exclude anybody, but well, I want to keep this a G to PG-13 rating.  So no gore or porn, please.  I’m sure we’ll all get the sense of what this comic is about as we go forward, but yeah.
  2. So when you send me your name and link, then I will put your name on the list.  It’ll be first-come-first-serve.  I will notify you several days before it’s your turn so you can be ready.
  3. I want to update twice a week on Monday and Thursday (in the US for any international artists out there—the International Date Line confuses me).  So please, please finish your panel at least one day prior to the update day.  If you can’t do it for whatever reason, please notify me as soon as possible so I can notify the artist next in line.  (If things get dicey and I don’t see anything, then I may step in myself, but bear in mind, this is what my art looks like.  Please prevent this from happening too often.)
  4. You must follow whatever storyline of the panel previous to yours.  Please do not jump around to something that has nothing to do with the previous panel.  This should be one long continuous story, and it’ll just be rude to dismiss what the previous artist did.  So whatever happens in the previous panel, pick up the story and move it along from there.
  5. This should be obvious, but draw only ONE panel.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Make it as simple or as complicated as you want, but only ONE panel.
  6. That panel should at the very least be inked.  If you want to add any text, you have to do it yourself.  Same for color.


  1. Like I said, I want to keep this rated G to PG-13.  So no gore, no nudity, and please no swearing (though if you want to get creative like #@&$ then that’s fine).  I want to keep this light and fun, and I don’t want to scare anyone away.
  2. Please don’t be dismissive of what the previous artist did.  The story is likely to go into many different directions.  You may be reading along and have a great idea for a panel, but your name may not come up for a while.  Things will probably go in a different direction, and that great idea may not work when your name does come up.  Please don’t dismiss all that has happened just so you can do what you wanted to do several panels ago.  Just be respectful, and think, would you want someone to dismiss YOUR panel?
  3. You can take the comic in any direction you want, but make sure it’s one narrative.  Now, this doesn’t mean we have to keep to one character.  But any new character we follow must have sprung up from the previous panel.  Make sense?
  4. I’m not too concerned about keeping a strict continuity, but please, try to keep things in line for at least the 5 or 10 previous panels.  If this thing gets into the 100s, then I don’t necessarily expect everyone (including myself) to remember what happened in panel 22.  Do your best, though.
  5. Please don’t make a huge, huge, HUGE panel.  With the internet, the size of a panel is theoretically infinite, but for the sake of comparison, let’s not get as big as full comic book page.
  6. If you've already drawn a panel and want to do another one, just let me know, and I'll put you back on the list.  Again, first-come-first serve.  Maybe if this thing really gets rolling, I'll update three times a week.  We'll see.

I’ll probably think of new things along the way as this thing gets going.  There will be things I never anticipated happening, and that’s both exciting and daunting.  Who knows where this will go?  Who knows how long this will go?  Will there be an end to this story, and will we start another one?

I have no idea, but I’m excited to see what happens!


-Greg Thelen

(Edit:  added a new guideline at the bottom.)

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