Visual Narrative I

Brayden Sathrum


DTC 354 

Visual Narrative I

“Understanding Comics,” by Scott McCloud, digs deep into the origins of comics and how they can be defined and manipulated to create extraordinary stories. Comics are an excellent way of exploring visual arts because they rely on a blend of pictures and text in order to tell the tale. After reading about how comics create the effects that they do, there are a few key takeaways that I will apply when creating my diagrammatic writing piece.

One part that stuck out to me was when McCloud describes how “less is more” and that finding a balance between subtracting and adding content is key. I believe this fits well with all types of storytelling because knowing when to allow your audience to infer information can elevate their experience. Especially in genres like horror, granting the reader the ability to let their mind generate some of the imagery can be effective. In terms of the diagrammatic writing assignment, I think it shows how using intentional language in a simple sentence can have more depth than a descriptive paragraph. 

Another piece of this book that I took note of was when McCloud talks about gutters and how the space in between comic book panels tells its own story. To me, this is beneficial when considering how I want to tackle my diagrammatic story. Knowing that my tale will be told through slides, there will be empty space around the content. When deciding how I want to structure my story, I want to take these gutters into consideration. Leaving spaces blank intentionally could, at times, leave readers with a better sense of the story than if I had a slide full of content. I believe this fits well with the idea of “less is more” as well, since having space left open is a minimalist approach to writing.

 By combining these two concepts from McCloud’s book, I think I will be able to create a story that is intentional with every slide. I want to ensure that every piece is strategically placed and has its own meaning. McCloud’s guide to comics also shows how this medium has a lot of crossover with other kinds of writing and, as such, uses similar rules to create a strong piece. I think learning from other visual arts is an incredibly helpful way of improving your own writing style. Overall, I’m excited to take these ideas and apply them to my diagrammatic story as I think it will strengthen the storytelling.

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