Scott McCloud (smccloud) wrote,
Scott McCloud
smccloud

What do you think about this?

I think my suggestion came across as more radical than I'd intended, but it's resulting in an interesting discussion.
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  • 19 comments
Fascinating.

I am reminded of art professors saying things like "The eye is drawn off the side of this painting and nothing brings it back".

Comics sometimes do use that, an imbalance in each panel, to draw the eye onward, but normally the page itself is -- as you say, balanced. Th eye finds something to bounce back along -- if not in one panel then within the next few. Now I'm wondering how long you could keep the reader falling, on an infinite canvas with imbalanced panels...

But I suspect that just forgetting what happened in the last panel will get you the motion equivalent of the greying you talk about in Understanding Comics, in the color section -- lines, like colors, not working together, so that the overall effect is grey. Maybe even jumbled enough to be static.

Well. That's what happens when a beginner tries it -- I've seen it in a lot of webcomics. I'm not sure an expert could forget in the same way, so maybe the effect would be different...

That's a good point about potential "greying," Shweta!
Not too radical, but I think the immediate response is a knee-jerk one. I had it as well, then stopped and thought about it. So why not? I'm still daring you to show us, Scott. :"D
Should only take three years.

kamenkyote

11 years ago

I think about this kinda stuff when I'm working, but in a much more vague and hazy manner. I like when you put these ideas into words. :)
I think that trying to balance a page as a visual work of art only may be a problem to the story telling aspect as a whole. As long as the imbalance isn't so jarring as to interrupt the flow, it should take the back seat, as far as I'm concerned. I guess what I'm saying is whatever is on the page should be there to propel the story before it should be there to look good, because thats not the point. (Unless it is the point.)
Maybe this is more what I mean: If the imbalance itself is serving the story, then you should definitely go with it. If not, then only go with it if balancing the page will detriment the story. If balancing it does not serve the story, then I would just to whatever felt best. Gut feelings matter, you can over think things sometimes.
I thought the idea was interesting. The only thing I'm worried about it confusing the reader with the imbalance if it's not handled well. I know Frank Miller used heavy blacks in Sin City slowly getting heavier to denote a shift in available light and Steve Ditko created a kind of claustrophobia in the panels of his early work because of how small they were. Each panel's composition was handled separately versus looking at the page as a whole (like he did later in Dr. Strange). These examples worked well to the advantage of both of these creators. Now that many creators use larger and fewer panels on their pages than Ditko and rely more heavily on the use of color than Miller did, maybe we're losing some strength in comic art compared to earlier work. I'll have to mull it over.
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