Single-Panel Illustrated Comic: The Horizontal Video Advocate

(Illustrated for a digital marketing-themed email newsletter sent to over 2,000 subscribers)

This light-hearted, single panel illustrated comic was inspired after reading various news articles discussing a general resistance or dislike of vertical format video trends.

Project Approach

  • Content: I developed an imagined dialog between two characters inspired by my readings, which were based on an article indicating a broad dislike of vertical video. This article was published a year or two after Snapchat’s vertical video craze had hit the shareable video scene.
  • Storyboarding: Based on my content, I then created a 1-panel strip for this web comic concept showcasing two people having their conversation.
  • Original Artwork: I used a thick-tipped, black Sharpie® marker to draw out the talking cartoonish figures.
  • Digital Refinements: Using Adobe Photoshop, I added local color to each figure, as well as captions and titling. I also sized the cartoon for Instagram publishing using 1080 x 1080 dimensions.

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Initial Concept

Super rough sketch of initial idea

This was my initial, quick and dirty RUSHED sketch I scribbled down so I would not forget my concept.

After reading the vertical video format article on MediaPost, I was struck with a fun vision:  a conversation between two co-workers, with one of them somehow protesting or resisting the vertical video format. I was actually on a conference call when this idea came to me so I had to quickly doodle a rough concept on paper to remind myself of what I had envisioned.

My Process

  • I began my sketch simply using a regular pencil and 8.5′ x 11″ blank sheet of paper.
  • I then used a thick black Sharpie® marker to ink the drawing by hand.
  • Next, I scanned the image into Adobe Photoshop.
  • Using Photoshop, I colorized each character as well as the cartoon’s background.
  • Then, I selected an appropriate font combination for titling and content.
  • Lastly, I combined all layers into the digital artwork’s final form: a web comic for posting onto Instagram!


This was one of my earliest cartoon drawings, conceived during a time when I was just getting started with web comics and digital illustration.

At the time, I wasn’t really sure if I was doing this correctly but I winged it as best as I could.

It was fun to explore my ideas and capabilities, and the digital marketing email subscribers who received saw this web comic on social media (and later in their inboxes as part of an email newsletter) seemed to enjoy it very much.