Self Caricature, Wire Contour, and Beginning to Understand Comics


Ink on Bristol Vellum



Ink on Newsprint


Ink on Newsprint/ Aluminum Wire

In the first chapter of Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics,” the art of comic is explained to be much more than the stereotype of “crude, poorly-drawn, semiliterate, cheap, disposable, kiddie fare” and, in fact, has a limitless potential. Despite this capability, comics are not as closely and critically examined as other media outlets, like film or literature, because of their negative connotation. I found this to be interesting, as I thought I would never find myself stooping so low as to seek out comics when I was an intelligent, all-knowing middle schooler; when I entered high school, I found them to be engaging and even more immersive and expressive than other books. I’ve expanded my view of comics and found that several comic book artists (or “graphic novelists”) share deep and relatable stories through their work, affecting me, and I assume others, in a much different way than literature can.

In the next chapter, McCloud explains the importance of the icon. Simplified icons are relatable to any person because they can “fill in” their own meaning. Cartooning simplifies an image to focus on specific details, amplifying what the author wants the reader to take away with them. I find this fascinating because it made me realize that the simpler an icon is, the easier it is to understand it’s meaning. This is important especially in comics because if an image is too complex, the reader may be too hung up on what the author is trying to convey and the sequence is ruined.

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