Understanding Visual Narrative Through Comics

This is a textbook I don’t even view as a textbook because the imagery adds a level of fun for the reader to learn stuff. That was not a smart sounding sentence, but you know what I mean. I’m glad I bought this book from last semester because it was just as fun reading it a second time. One of my favorite aspects McCloud explores are “gutters.” Specifically from pages 68 to 72 when he talks about closure, how the audience fills in the gaps with the cultural and analytical context they know. He gives a bunch of examples of smaller comics that start moment-to-moment and end scene-to-scene. I always assume my audience is too smart for me to begin with and always end up writing vague scenes in literature because I have the confidence they will fill in any gaps with clues I have given them thus far. That is something I will more than likely incorporate into my visual narrative assignment! I can appreciate everything being laid out flat, but I always prefer a hint of mystery so not only is there no one way to look at it, but the audience must partake in whatever journey I send them on.

Time frames is the other concept that stood out to me as helpful for my own future assignments and visual endeavors. Specifically when McCloud introduces it on pages 94-95. Him telling us that comics may seem quick, but their time is a lot weirder when taking the reading speed of the viewer stands out to me. I have grown up reading manga, and sometimes when you get to a page that is littered with text, you almost don’t want to read it. The only times I was excited to read it was when the context of the story was setting something up for a reveal. You read manga and comics for equal part story and art! I want to make sure I can set up my own well timed slides or panels that do not take too long or too short to experience. I want to change panel sizes and not make it one note unless my story calls for it so I can eventually change it, things like that.

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