Host Ron Block sat down with Scott McCloud, a comic book writer and the speaker at the College of Communication’s Presidential Lecture series. McCloud explained how he got into comics and the transition from superhero comics to other genres in comics. In addition, McCloud described the cultural differences in comics. He described comics as an art form. For more information and to purchase McCloud’s books, log onto www.scottmccloud.com.
Cartoonist and theorist Scott McCloud has been making and thinking about comics for decades. He is the author of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. This classic volume explores formal aspects of comics, the historical development of the medium, its fundamental vocabulary, and various ways in which these elements have been used. Scott McCloud breaks down some of the universals in comics and guides us through some of the comic books that pushed the art form forward. Then we use that lens to look at graphic communication in the world at large.
Scott McCloud is both an accomplished comics creator and critic. His books of comics criticism, "Understanding Comics," "Reinventing Comics" and "Making Comics" are classics of the form, and are standard-issue in hip literature classes around the country. His newest book is a compilation of his 1980s superhero series Zot!. He talks with us about how to read comics and how he incorporated the influences of the comics of other cultures into his own work in the ’80s.
An excellent presentation by Peter Merholz this evening on Experience Strategies. Peter is the President and Founding Partner at Adaptive Path. The presentation was recorded on 10.16.2007 at the dConstruct 2007 conference in the UK.
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In this episode we have famous cartoonist and comics theorist Scott McCloud. Scott wrote the popular books Understanding Comics (1993), Reinventing Comics (2000), and Making Comics (2006), which explain the theory and practice behind making comics and telling stories visually.
Scott has gained a big following among data visualization designers over the years. By following the strategies he describes in his books, one can develop rich narratives that are useful in data visualization as well as comics.
On the show we talk about his books, the power of frames, Scott’s definition of story, virtual reality, and what people in vis can learn from comic artists.
Enjoy the show!
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Scott’s TED Talk
Scott’s wikipedia page
Scott’s comic on Google Chrome
Book: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Tilt Brush (integrating virtual reality)
35 | Visual Storytelling w/ Alberto Cairo and Robert Kosara
40 | Narrative Visualization Research w/ Jessica Hullman
Peter Merholz chats with Don Norman, author and co-author of fourteen books, including the seminal The Design of Everyday Things, and his recently released The Design of Future Things, about what he thinks about user experience design today and what companies need to do to innovate. From http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/podcasts/
Author of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, cartoonist and theorist Scott McCloud has been making and thinking about comics for decades. His classic volume explores formal aspects of comics, the historical development of the medium, its fundamental vocabulary, and various ways in which these elements have been used.
When pressed to give a full definition, McCloud explains that comics are a distinct art form of “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence.”
But in everyday usage, there’s no need to get that formal or technical. McCloud believes calling them “comics” is fine, as long as people realize the medium has the potential to do more than just funny strips in the Sunday paper or action-packed graphic novels. When Scott started out, superheroes were in vogue, but today there are graphic memoirs and silent comics, folk tales and stories of magic (as in Sandman or Saga), plus a lot of less-conventional hero narratives (including some creative and groundbreaking recent runs of Hawkeye and Vision).
There are certain universals in comics, and one of those is choosing the moments to represent — any narrative can theoretically be broken down in infinite ways. An artist might choose to stretch a few seconds of activity into dozens (or thousands) of incremental panels.
Or, at the other extreme, someone might make a two-panel sequence showing the history of the universe, beginning to end, illustrating the Big Bang and (perhaps) the Big Crunch.
Beyond picking moments to depict, artists also have to choose the framing — how close or far away will the viewer be? Will they see from an “eagle’s eye” or “worm’s eye” view?
Then, of course, there is the balance of words and pictures, and how the story flows from one frame to the next. A lot of readers (and artists) take some of these things for granted, but they represent design decisions that are made and have evolved over time.
Speech bubbles, for instance, have a centuries-long legacy with antecedents in ancient art. Dialogue is part of life, and any medium that is going to represent life has to include it. But it’s also something that can feel like a “desperation device,” says McCloud — a product of necessity — and some “silent” comics can be very powerful, too.
Excerpt from Building Stories by Chris WareTo see a range of approaches and how comics have changed over time, McCloud recommends checking out work by Art Spiegelman (including but also beyond Maus), Chris Ware’s Building Stories, silent comics by Jim Woodring, The Arrival by Shaun Tan, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and City of Glass by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli. Also discussed in this episode: Bingo Love and Smile. You can see more of Scott’s ongoing work and writing on his website and click here to buy his book.
Strip Panel Naked: Deconstructing the Art & Design of Comic Book
Kristina’s guest Peter Merholz is a founding partner, board member, and CEO of Adaptive Path, one of the world’s most recognized user experience and design consultancies.
This week’s special guest is Peter Merholz, one of my co-founders at Adaptive Path and author of the new book, "Org Design for Design Orgs."