Illustrated Journal: Understanding Comics (Ch. 1-4)

Animation, much like designing and creating comics, are similar in the idea that they both utilize sequential art. Tracing back to the early turn of the century, sequential art has been found in civilizations such as the Mayans, Egyptians, and many more. Originally used as a means of communication and story-telling, picture sequences weren’t recognized as comics right away, but could be understood as diagrams that retold everyday events through art. Eventually evolving into what we know in today’s modern society, comics serve a somewhat similar purpose, and has transcended beyond just simple picture making. Like the “comics” of the past, interpretating the story and meaning behind the picture sequences was completely up to the viewer, as there was no words or text that outright stated what was drawn or going on. We know this today as icons, or images used to represent a person, place, thing, or idea. In pictures, meanings can be fluid and variable whereas non-pictorial meanings are fixed and absolute. Our fixation with cartoons and the idea of simplification, rather than a realistic image, causes us to focus on, rather than forget, specific details. Even the perception of what our own appearance looks like in our mind, a simple arrangement of our basic features, can be applied to cartoons in terms of simplicity. By avoiding a more realistic approach when creating cartoons, it allows us to see ourselves within a character and brings us into the world of imagination and escape reality. Closure is what allows us to connect moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality. Comic panels are an example of this, and the viewer has to connect the dots between each individual panel to understand the story. Closure can be broken up into different sub-units depending on what is being drawn and how they connect to other panels. These categories serve as a transition tool and help us understand  what the artist is trying to convey within a scene. By finding the balance between too much and too little, closure becomes a significant aspect within panels as well as between. Whether it be vague or outright obvious, an artist can trigger the true depth of a reader’s imagination.

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