Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crows, Cartoons and Screen Paintings

This "comic strip" is an amazing work of art considering the limitations of the technology and the generally accepted paradigm of comics. It was drawn by margantj using Pixton, a cartoon web based tool that anyone can use.

As art it reminds me of Japanese screen paintings. These paintings are beautiful and I still remember visiting an exhibit of folding painted screens while in Tokyo many years ago. After looking at several in an instant I got that each panel was a painting that could stand alone, but they were meant to be seen together. The metaphor of people in a group that functioned well together stayed with me.*

In Understanding Comics, Scoot McCloud develops the theory and practice of designing comics. One of the things he describes is the space between the individual drawings in a comic strip. Because of this space between, the reader is engaged to fill in what has transpired (time), or the connections between the drawings (space). It's cool. This strip is a great example of that principle. I've put them all together so that the connections are clear, and it doesn't require much work to make the connections.

* As a corollary, the Japanese are also very fond of painting of cherry trees in blossom. The individual blossoms of the tree are not impressive, but the whole tree is unbelievable. The metaphor there is that individuals are so much more beautiful in large numbers.

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