DS106 on the couch

Tag: comics

These are the last 9 days using the #gridsgestures activity to reflect on the day.

I have spoken before about how it is helping me learn about comics.  

These last 9 days have done that too but I have focussed much more on the reflective quality of the activity. Making the commitment to do one daily, has me thinking about the essence of my day through the day. That is a nice thing. What is the most relevant thing that I will want to put into this abstract comic format at the end of a day? I think about the flow of my day, key things that happened and how then to describe in a page with no words, not drawings just panels and marks…yes, I cheat a little but it is nice to learn about ‘written sound’ in comic, or asemic writing to make it seem like words but not words….I have also experimented with different media this time and have gone back to pencil! I like pencil. 

Thank you @nsousanis for a great learning space. 

This week I joined in with #gridsgestures  (worth clicking on link to see all contributions) on Twitter. It was a comic making activity without drawing led by @Nsousanis who teaches comics as a way of thinking and uses this activity in his courses as a starting point to learn about time and space on the page. 

This was timely for me as I am teaching myself to make comics following Comics: Art in relationship and Drawing Words, Writing Pictures. I have been struck by the idea the ‘time happens in the gutter’ in comics and also by the idea of challenging my imagination to ‘make the panels speak’. The task was to make a grid with marks on the paper that told of our day through the week. The photos above are my attempts, I tried different media to experiment with what might be my preference going forward. 

My favourite and the one I got the best feedback was a simple pencil sketch. I think I have learnt how to start ‘to think comics’. Working with panels, text and words means great flexibility. One can let one’s mind create an idea, thumbnail this idea a few times as a kind of script, then production can be a quick sketch, digital, pastels or anything else one chooses. What is interesting to me is that the ‘work’ (for me at least) was in the thinking about the interplay of all elements in comics and how to express an idea on paper. 

I think I now get abstract comics as a genre more. I also see what makes minimalist comics work. Look at the work of Shane Simmons, you do not need to learn to draw to produce them, but you do need scripting and an understanding of time in the gutter and how humans seek closure and make meaning, even out of dots! (click on his name to get more readable samples)


I am also starting to get the idea that what makes a comic funny is what is absent but implied as it makes the reader’s mind work to make sense. I have Matt Madden and Jessica Abel to thank for this as I practiced captioning a simple drawing that was not designed to be funny. 

Also this week has shown me the importance of a title or some kind of context setting. I did this on the tweet for each day, but what was said mattered to make sense of the grid (look at the captions in each photograph and the last day has its title embedded – click on any image for gallery). Title or context is another element in relationship in a given comic. What Matt Silady suggests is the we avoid the kind of relationship between the elements where each element says the same thing. Redundancy in comics seems something less than desired. I guess it is because the reader has to do no work. It is all obvious and hence not funny. I see how some of my early digital attempts are just obvious and not funny.

This week was a great week to put together many ideas I have been learning on my courses. Thanks, Nick. 

I think I got this.

I think I just made a comic with several captions that demonstrate a visual-text interdependent relationship. As I understand it, the image without the words is meh and the text without the drawing is WTF. There are many different types of comic relationships between the image and the text. I am taking one at a time.

I am doing two courses on comics one a MOOC and the other a book. Blending it with: how the heck do I draw in Photoshop sprinkled with a face to face drawing class….and I am putting it all together in Comic Life. 

An interesting Daily Create today.

It talks about an old song that I knew as by Joni Mitchell though it turns out  somebody called Judy Collins sang it first. Who knew?  

As I listened to the song ( the Joni Mitchell version, of course) I doodled a cartoon in my sketchbook by hand. The simple idea being that you get to see both sides of the cloud if you change location (or attitude). Yet, if you take the point of view of the viewer you see that ‘truth’ lies in both sides rather than one or the other. Kind of like what the song is saying. 

I then wanted to ‘improve’ on the idea and simple sketch. I went to Strip Generator and created a comic strip there. Same idea, still simple but tidier, more words and 3 frames. I was able to use a line from the song at the end frame which may be seen as more amusing.

Just reflecting on where the creativity lies. The idea? The execution? The quality of the output? I had great fun with my wee sketch, yet it is so basic and simple compared to the digital comic strip. All I had to do to produce it was copy image templates already available and type in some text in boxes already provided by the generator. 

I really don’t know clouds at all. 

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