11 June 2009

McCloud: Two,Three, and Late.

McCloud started off chapter two by introducing icons. Icons are used to represent a noun and have many categories such as symbols, language, and pictures. Symbols can be used to represent concepts, philosophies, and ideas such as the American flag or the peace sign. The icons of language, science and communication can include numbers, letters, and music notes. The last example of icons McCloud uses is pictures which are images used to look like their subjects and unlike a ying-yang, used to represent an invisible idea, a picture will resemble their subject. McCloud continues by making us realize how we’re much more responsive to a picture of a cartoon, than a more detailed image of a person. It’s because we see ourselves in that character and can relate to it better than an actual picture of someone else. McCloud uses examples of how we as humans are a “self-centered race” and see faces in everything such as cars and different shapes (32). The less detail and character an object has, the more general it is, but the more complex an object is, it’s harder to relate it to anything or anyone else.
In chapter three, McCloud gets further into closure. He explains closure through many examples. For one, I’m aware that my mother is the room next to mine. Although I cannot see or hear her, I know she’s there. McCloud explains my perception of that reality “faith, based on mere fragments,” closure (62). Closure occurs continuously in comics in-between panels. With the information given in the first and second panel, closure allows the reader to let their imagination work and conclude what occurred between panels.
After giving these chapters a good third reading, I understand the point McCloud is trying to explain, although I couldn’t help but wonder, gosh, who the heck would analyze all this? I also enjoyed reading the panel-to-panel transitions and learning the different effects they have. My new favorite, mostly used in Japanese comics, are the aspect-to-aspect transitions which are used to create a certain mood or sense of place. In these scenes, time pauses and allows the reader to become aware of the scene itself. I feel a bit more knowledgeable, being able to tell the different transitions apart from each other and catching the effect of closure when it occurs. Hah.

Maybe Comics Are Not the Mona Lisa, but They Are Art

In Chapter 7, McCloud defines art as “any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species two basic instincts: survival and reproduction.” McCloud then goes on to discuss the 6 steps that every artist must go through to create art. The steps are idea/purpose (purpose of the content), form (the form it will take), idiom (genre the work belongs to), structure (putting it all together, what to include and exclude), craft (constructing the work, applying skills), and surface (production value, the superficial exposure).
I like McCloud’s definition of art. It is broad enough to not only include fine art masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, but can also include what some would call lesser art like the comic book and everything in between. Sometimes I think that people try too hard to make art fit into this perfect mold. If art is all about expressing human emotion, then how could it ever fit into any kind of mold? That would be like putting limitations on what people can feel (and that is just not cool). I also agree with McCloud’s 6 steps (even though at first I thought it was another chapter two). At first I thought there is not process to art, rather it just happens. However, then I took the time to think about it. Anytime in my life I have created art, whether it be a painting or a song, I go through these steps; I have an idea, I decide what form I want it in, I pick my genre, and so on. I just never realized that was what I was doing until McCloud explained it. Maybe McCloud could have talked a little more on how one doesn’t always realize that the steps are happening, but overall I think he did a great job of getting the point of how art is created.
Chapter 9 is all about wrapping up what McCloud had said throughout the book. McCloud refreshes us on his opinions on everything from his definition of comics, “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence,” to icons. He creates closure for his comic about comics. Then goes on to explain the infinite possibilities of comics.
What a great way to end a book. To his credit, I think the summary of every chapter is neat, succinct, and to the point. McCloud seemed to move though them seamlessly. I wish the rest of the book was like that. McCloud should have tried to make the chapters on icons and timing this seamless. I think they would have been received better, especially by me!
Overall, I think McCloud did a great job of selling the idea that comics are art. I didn’t always agree with his methods (30+ pages on the vocabulary of comics), but the end result has made me see that comics are a valid art form, and I think they should be better respected in the art world.

10 June 2009

Words, Pictures and Art

Thus far, Chapter 6 has made the most sense to me, although as I am writing this, I find myself confused at the fact that I don't know if comics really need pictures and words together. It has been the easiest to understand, without looking at the pictures. I agree totally with McCloud about having pictures with words. It just makes more sense to me. Although, sometimes a picture can say a thousand words, or as we hear, action speak louder than words, could this be true about pictures and words? As I read on, comics are making more and more sense. They are like reading books, only thing is, there is tons of pictures to go with the words. This may be contradicting, words may need pictures, however, some pictures don't have words, and by just recognizing the gestures, or seeing icons or symbols, the reader might know what is going on in the story. In a way, pictures to some readers may take up too much room and not leave enough room for the words, the story itself. McCloud states "words and pictures had drifted as far apart as possible", but for readers who are like me, need to have a visuals to actually understand what we are reading. I guess it will all depend on what kind of comic, book, short story one is reading. If we are just reading and not seeing pictures, will we fully understand what the writer is saying or talking about? As I type on, I am beginning to wonder, do I agree with McCloud? Are words and pictures together that important? I know if I see pictures alone, I can describe, know what the picture is saying. If I read a story without pictures, just words, will I comprehend what I am reading? I understand what McCloud is saying, but I am not sure at this point if I agree, or if I am questioning his opinion, and had the wrong idea, and now think that I was wrong or not clear on my own opinion, and never really thought about it until now.

I agree that comics are an art form. I have always been amazed with anyone who could draw as comic artists draw. The detail that is put into comics mainly is more amazing that paintings or portraits. I am not one for art, but every time I have seen any comic, even just looking at the cover blows me away. That is real talent. I have to say that I do not find myself wondering if I had the wrong opinion as I did in Chapter 6. The art itself makes comics, in my opinion what they are. They could be in plain black and white, and one could still notice the detail, layout, and of course time that is put into each and every panel. I am anxious to see what Chapter 8 says about color, comics seem very attractive in just plain old black and white.

And It All Comes To An End

Scott McCloud author of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, lets the reader learn about the six-part process of artistic creation which incluides idea or purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, surface in chapter seven. He also notes that artists tend to fall into two classes, depending on which of the first two steps they emphasize more. Those who emphasize the second step "are often pioneers and revolutionaries artists who want to shake things up,"while those who emphasize the first are "great storytellers, creators who devote all their energies to controlling their story.
I believe that McCloud makes a interesting example when he uses the apple in chapter seven to explaom the steps used to put a comic together that most of the time the reader only looks at the surface of what is being told rather then being open to look deeper at what is being said or what others have to say. The readers goes for the “New Kid” and find out the threre really isn’t much to offer.
In Chapter nine McCloud “puts it all together” by allowing the reader to look back at what a comic is which again is Juxtaposel pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence. He wrapes up the book by going over the difference of form and content. Bring the reader to a good point that comics are a way of communication that allows you to express yourself in more ways then one. The future of comics is endless to those who are able to dig deep and use their imaganiation to send a messeage for one to take as their own and enjoy. It is said best by Al Ewing when stated “There’s something joyous about writing a comic for an eight-to-twelve year old — it just feels free. Liberating. It’s nice to have something that’s just straight fun, without necessarily tying into anything or leading on to or from anything — something that anyone of any age can pick up and enjoy
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The unknown world of Art.

What McCloud writes about in chapter seven is pretty awesome. He mentions how even before time, Art existed in many different ways. He explains how two basic instincts such as survival and reproduction can be called art. It didn't occur to me that something I knew about since I could remember could be represented as art. People get ideas from just basically being bored. Examples McCloud mentioned were lines made in the dirt, stones making rhythm, a dance made from just kicking the dirt, and singing from a little girl. What McCloud is telling us, is that art is everywhere, and can be made from even the simplest terms. McCloud writes that our individuality is what sets us aside from everybody else, which leads to our random activities and in turn leads to useful discoveries. "Art" he says is self expression, it must be discovered within us to be appreciated by us. The way we write our signature is a form of art, and many jobs whether we notice it or not deals with some kind of art form. He writes and explains how any medium follows a certain path. He leads us with six steps needed to find the medium. Idea/ Purpose is the meaning of the content that is going to be discussed. Form, what shape it will become, whether it be a comic book or a song. Idiom, are the styles and genre. Structure, putting everything together so it makes perfect sense and flows. Craft, basically getting the job done using skills, knowledge and invention. then there is Surface, what everybody sees first known as the first judgment of whether the material will be read or not. McCloud writes how the best looking apple may turn out hollow, but the worst looking apple could be the best. He mentions how important it is to follow all the steps because it leads to even more appreciation, a better appreciation, and of course a better understanding of art.

McCloud writes that he could define, and explain over and over and it doesn't matter whether we understand art or if we could still care less, no one will ever understand the greatness of art as he does within his mind. We all think differently and have different appreciations for different kinds of art. Just because I view one type of art in a different way doesn't mean it isn't art. I think the more we expand our minds the more we will be able to know and understand that art is everywhere, and can be just about anything. We have to allow ourselves to accept that art can be presented in many different ways, whether it be a comic book, a painting, a piece of wood, or even a song. It's still art.

This is the Title of My Blog

In chapter seven of Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud is defending whether or not comics can be art.  Just the fact that he has to answer the question, "Can comics be art?", astounds him because he thinks this is a stupid question.  He has a very wide definition of art, "Any human activity which doesn't grow out of either of our species' two basic instincts: survival and reproduction".  So, of course he consider comics an art form.  Oh, I completely agree that comics are an art form and a very complex one at that.  However, his definition is just too broad for me.  Under Scott McCloud's definition, murder can be considered an art and for some reason I just don't think it is.  Now farting, for all that, will also fit McCloud's definition and can be considered pure art if done correctly.  Especially if that person decides what they want out of that art form is laughs.  Scott McCloud discusses a path consisting of six steps that all art mediums follow without exception.  They may not always come to fruition in the same order but these six steps will always exist and they are, idea/purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface.  The step which most interests me because it is appreciated by people more easily, is surface.  If you ask me, surface is the reason why comic books are so overlooked and why movies, for example, are so quickly loved.  It doesn't take much effort for humans to be entertained by movies.  Since movies are so visual, the only thing people have to do is sit there and be entertained by the surface.  In fact, it is the surface of a movie that can make someone not realize how crappy the acting may be.  In this fashion, making surface just a tool for diversion.  The drawn cartoon-like surface of a comic book, on the other hand, will make most "educated" people turn the other way.  As a consequence, those people will sadly miss out on all the great purpose, form, idiom, structure, and craft hidden inside.
Chapter nine is basically a summary of why comics are such a glorious art form.  Comics are just another way to communicate expression from one person, or persons, to other people throughout our world.  This is something I agree with as I don't believe anybody should be confined or set limits to learning new ideas and trying new things.

Six Steps That Pull It All Together

In chapter seven of Understanding Comics:The Invisible Art written by Scott McCloud he emphasize the importance of art and the basic instincts of survival and reproduction. He uses the comic strip as the means to why art is misunderstood and the meaning of how art is related to everything people do. He uses this example to lead to his next point that all things lead to a pathway, including the art of comics. McCloud includes six steps as a pathway in creation of comics in this chapter. He claims that in order to produce a comic, not necessary a successful comic it is important to 1) Idea/purpose :have a clear understanding of the purpose and the content of the work 2) Form, how it will pan out;3)Idiom, what genre and vocabulary will be used; 4) Structure, what and how to organize the work; 5) Craft, actual constructing of the comic; and 6) Surface, the ending result and how it all works together. It is not a guarantee that following these steps will result in a successful comic, however it is a starting point to give an artist the tools necessary to expand there love of comics. McCloud shows how artists struggle when trying to complete these steps as his evidence that comics entail much more that just art or words. He emphaiszes the importantance of having a plan of attack when working on comics. I feel that this chapter was one of the easiest readings in this book; maybe its because of our class discussion and clarification of the other chapters.

In chapter nine, McCloud, reiterates everything from previous chapters as his evidence that comics are art and how the history has come a long way. I especially found his panel that stated" the mastery of one's medium is the degree to which that percentage can be increased, the degree to which the artist's ideas survive the jouney" becuase it not only reflects comics it reflects on everyday life. The more open minded we are, and live our life to the fullest, and follow our dreams anything is possible.

The Path Bringing It All Together

Scott McCloud explains in chapter seven of Understanding Comics that comics are art (yet again). He continues to write about how all art has various characteristics/properties in common. He believes that comics are art mostly because of his definition of the word art: "any human activity which doesn't grow out of either of our species' two basic instincts: survival and reproduction!" McCloud then gives an example of (what I'm assuming to be)a day in the life of early man. The male begins by chasing a female around in chances of mating, then is forced to run for his life in a means of survival while being chased by a large animal. Scott McCloud refers to all of the time in between survival and reproduction as art. He then states that "any work in any medium will always follow a certain path." The six steps of this "path" are: purpose/idea, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface. McCloud then continues to explain how artists use the six cycle path and uses an apple as an example in the process.

Chapter seven, in my opinion, is a tad bit confusing. There's many things that McCloud pieces together and it's hard at first to understand how he is doing so. His example of the apple kind of left me scratching my head. I couldn't understand if he was trying to say that the shiny apple was actually bad all together, because he refers to the inside as "hollow" or, if it was okay except that it was lacking some necessities?? I'm sure it's a great example, I just can't really understand it. One thing that did clarify some things for me is the part where he explained that the six steps are like a dinosaur's skeleton in that "they can be discovered in any order, but when brought together, they will always fall into place." So maybe that shiny apple was missing some steps??

In chapter nine, McCloud basically summarizes everything from the whole book, Understanding Comics. He begins the chapter by asking two questions, "Why is this medium we call comics so important?" and, "Why should we try so hard to understand comics?" He believes the answer to this "lies deep within the human condition" and explains how "all problems in human history stem from the inability to communicate." To him, comics as a medium "serves as a bridge between minds, " and that's what allows all of us to better communicate. Comics is a form of mass communication, enabling opinions and "individual voices" to "have a chance to be heard." In the end, McCloud writes about all the things comics has to offer.

This last chapter was easy to comprehend. I thought it was a good summary of all the things McCloud previously talked about throughout the book. He made a lot more sense when piecing ideas together than in previous chapters, but then again that's just it, I've already read his ideas in previous chapters, so that's more than likely why things were easier to understand now.

I Didn't Mean to Cunfuzzle One's Ears

Chapter seven of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art talks about comics as an art. Scott McCloud writes how anything that people do that is not meant for them to survive or reproduce is art. He gives an amazingly funny example when he mentions a neanderthal who is chasing a woman to mate. The neanderthal eventually loses the female, but suddenly a large cat animal attacks him and starts chasing him. He is running for survival. He ends up being lead to a cliff and there is a tree on it. He quickly jumps up and grabs a branch to avoid the oncoming predator. Luckily for the neanderthal, the tiger cannot stop in time to stop from falling off the cliff. The man is safe. Next, instead of going to find food to survive, or find another woman to reproduce; he sticks his tongue out at the fallen tiger. The neanderthal’s reaction to defeating the animal is what McCloud defined art. In order to create art, McCloud claims that for any medium, there is a path that needs to be taken. The path contains six steps: idea/ purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface. He also mentions that most forms of art that appeal to people are hollow beause nesecary steps in the path to creating art are skipped.

Altogether I thought chappter seven was confusing. He contradicts himself when he says that anything a human does that is not meant for them to survive or reproduce is art, but he calls the most common pieces of art hollow. When art is described as hollow, it seems pretty degrading for the artist. That is like saying that someone didn’t try on their work. Something else that was confusing was when McCloud writes how anyone who creates any medium of art goes through the six step process. The process is supposedly going to make any work of art excellent. If everyone goes through this process and the process seems to ensure great work, why would he call other works hollow?

Chapter nine was the last chapter of Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art. It was a simple chapter that just summed up each chapter of the book.
This was a good chapter because it refreshed my memory of everything that I had already read. It seems like this whole ordeal would have been a lot simpler if the whole book was that one chapter, but it probably wouldn’t make as much sense.

Six Steps to Putting it all Togethor

Chapters seven and nine of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics The Invisible Art, consists of the deeper meaning of comics to the creator and average people. Chapter seven asks the question, "can comics be art?" McCloud admits that the question is far fetched, but of course answers yes. McCloud claims that art is brought forth by humans down time. Humans have two instincts, survival and reproduction, and art is created when there is nothing else to do. In down time art gives humans three important activities 1) physical and mental exercise, 2) art provides a emotional outlet key to human survival, and 3) random acts can lead to new discoveries. It boils down to that every human creates some form or another of art. I find this to be true from my own experiences. My everyday experiences are based on survival, and sometimes reproduction. At the same time though I cannot count on two hands how many times random and thoughtless things have lead me to something fun and exciting. From here McCloud goes on to claim that artist do not paint, write, or make comics for the fame and fortune. They simply do it for the self satisfaction and the higher goal, ART. Artist basically say that their art has only one value, it is important to society. Sometimes the art is truly important, but the kicker is that all mediums of art are created the same way. The six step process of 1) idea/purpose, 2) form, 3) idiom, 4) structure, 5) craft, and 6) surface. Image a apple having the six layers, the outside is the surface and the center is idea/purpose. The average person looking from the outside in only sees the surface of the work, but if one digs deeper there is another world on the other side. It all starts with a individual who starts reading comics and takes an interest ,slowly and surely him/her works their way to the deeper meanings. The individual who goes clear to the center of the apple are often pioneers and inventors of their craft. That particular individuals apple may not come out in perfect shape as another, but the six steps are still applied. In art this six step system may be the end all and be all, but for me it doesn't work that way. In my life nothing was ever broke down this much in front me. Just keep trying and sooner or latter you will get it in some shape of form.

Wrapping up all this madness chapter nine reviews and re-explains the entire book. McCloud feels that comics hold the key to human minds and personality's. Everything is lost in the fire because one individual cannot see and feel what another individual sees and feels. Comics are a medium to people to truly be heard, and the better we understand the better we will hear what they are saying. The neat thing is that comics can be read and constructed by anyone, age or ethnicity. I agree with McCloud because I find myself having a hard time conveying ideas and emotions to others. I don't know if comics are the best mediums, but the human race has to start somewhere.

08 June 2009

Chapters 2 & 3 Blog

In Understanding Comics: The Invisible Ar,t by Scott McCloud he talks about Vocabulary or “Icons” in Chapter Two. The idea that he gives the reader many pictures, but explains that those pictures are not what individuals are looking at but images used to represent a person, place, thing, or idea. He then moves on to cartoons and writes about how he refers to them as a “form of amplification through simplification,” which is one’s interpretation of what is going on in the cartoon by what that person hears, sees, and believes. McCloud discusses experiences and how they “can be separated into two realms,” that of concept and senses. McCloud discuses how readers are able to relate themselves to a cartoon by connecting their feelings and emotions to what is taking place in the cartoon.
I feel that McCloud makes a good point about how humans tend to see a lot of human characteristics in objects like the picture of the car on page 33. As people we encounter other people on a daily basis so a face is what we come into contact with the only imagine that is repeated in our minds.
In Chapter three he comics about how humans learn. He starts off by explaining that as an infant we construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences (such as seeing and hearing) with physical, motoric actions. As we become adults we then are able to recognise objects, and know what they are by the use of our five sences and the what we are told to believe that object is. McCloud then categorizes panel-to-panel transitions into six classes: moment-to-moment (“very little closure”), action-to-action (“progressions”), subject-to-subject (staying within an idea), scene-to-scene (“significant distances of time”), aspect-to-aspect (“bypassed time”), and non-sequitur (“no logical relationship between panels”).
I think that in chapter three it was easier to relate to the material being read then that of chapter two. I think because as humans we think psychologically or by habit which then humans are able to create their own ideas and perceptions of what is going on around them.
Jerry Herrera

Icons and "The Gutter"

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes how he believes icons in comic books effect the human mind. Icons are just pictures that represent an actual thing and without question the majority of people should know this. However, he dives deeper into this subject by explaining that people assign personalities and likeness to icons where none exist. For example, if someone is looking at a drawing of an electrical outlet it is nearly impossible for that person not to envision a face in their mind. This supports his claim that by instinct humans are a very egocentric race. Scott McCloud also discusses non-visual self awareness. When talking with another person it is all to easy to focus on that person's details whether it be their face, body, legs, or feet. At this same time there is also some sort of image of ourselves in our minds that we are aware of. Mr. McCloud argues that that image in our minds is much less detailed than the actual object. In agreeing with him, this is simply because it is impossible for anybody to remember every exact detail of the object that is being unconsciously conceptualized in that person's head. Icons in comic books seem to have their own identity. For a comic book to lure an audience, the audience must be able to identify with it's characters and icons.
Scott McCloud also discusses the space that is in between every comic book panel. It is called "The Gutter". "The Gutter" is actually a phenomenon called closer. Closer is basically things that happen or exist although one is not currently observing it. For example, if a car has passed somebody on the street but is no longer visible, we know that it is still there based on the faith of our five senses. Comic books use closer constantly and it is what takes place in the human imagination. It is difficult to write an effective quality comic book without the proper use of closer because it is in that time and space that humans can, in a way, choose their own adventure.

07 June 2009

Icons and Closure

In chapter 2 of Understanding Comics written by Scott McCloud, he describes the icons as " any image used to represent a person, place,places, things or idea." He is skeptical about using the word "symbol" because is is a broad term when describing and clarifying comics. He shows the reader how abstract comics can be. He starts off with a photograph and clarifies that is not a pipe that in reality it is a picture of a pipe. He writes that our minds are trained to find simplicity of pictures and create our own meanings of the pictures. He also brings to mind that we call images pictures because of there resemblance to their subjects.
When McCloud begins to clarify the art of comics from the Americas, Japan and Europe the distinction becomes more intense. The masking effect is visual when looking at the panels. I enjoyed this part of the chapter most because I could see the distinction of different areas where comics are created. I also enjoyed how McCloud has an entire page of icons. The icons and there captions really lead me to open my eyes and realize that I take pictures literally and not symbolically.
According to McCloud, if an artist wants to portray the beauty and complexity of the physical world, realism of some sort is going to play a part. I see how misconception of comics and the underlying can create people to over look them. If you really read between the lines and text and look for the true meaning and not necessarily the realism of the art the comic becomes more interesting. I know that when ever I see comics, I am more interested when there is realism. When I see the more cartoony comics i over look them because I feel they are geared toward a younger audience. I now understand that realism is just making the panel more complex.
In chapter 3 of Understanding Comics, McCloud elaborates on the six styles of comics. The first style described is the panel-to-panel that is often referred to as the moment-to-moment that requires little closure. The second is action-to-action that shows progression, the icon show how a baseball player is swing and then gets a hit. Then is the subject-to-subject, that involves the reader to render these transitions, the picture of the runner who finishes the race and the stop watch leads the reader to interpret the runners time. Then there is the scene-to-scene that takes place over time and space, McCloud shows us a panel a man looking for someone and then shows a house with caption of ten years later. Then there is aspect-to-aspect, that sets a wondering eye on different aspects of a place, idea, or mood, for example McCloud has a Christmas tree and then a panel with Santa Claus in the snow making the reader believe that because it is Christmas its snowing. Finally the sixth style is the non-sequitur that offers no logical relationship between the panels.
For me the break done of how panel are related or not related helped with the reading of closure and the importance of actually understanding all six styles. I would have never know that there were so many styles to creating/interpreting comics had McCloud not written about them. Like most things closure is an important aspect in everyday life and in comics. I feel that this chapter was more understanding than chapter 2.

Iconism and Closure

In chapter two of Understanding Comics, McCloud begins by discussing icons. He explains how icons refer to an image that “represents a person, place, thing or idea.” There are different types of icons including images, words, science, communication, and pictures. In this chapter, McCloud is constantly discussing the different levels of iconism and realism. He describes how iconism and realism are incorporated in comics in order to reach certain effects. He then moves on to cartoons and writes about how he refers to them as a “form of amplification through simplification,” which basically means that cartoons are images that are “stripped down.” McCloud discusses experiences and how they “can be separated into two realms,” that of concept and senses. He then goes on to discuss The Picture Plane and how the “shapes, lines, and colors” in the pyramid don’t need to “pretend” to be anything else than what they are.

From the start of the chapter, I found myself confused. I didn’t really understand how all of McCloud’s ideas fit together or how he was trying to fit them together exactly. I got really lost when he began discussing symbols and the different types of icons. I wasn’t sure if he was stating that symbols were a type of icon or they weren’t. I also didn’t understand the whole pictorial icon part which involved the photograph of the face being compared to a sketch of the same face in the photo. It was hard trying to distinguish what exactly McCloud’s point was. I understood his ideas for the most part, just not how they all fit together.

In chapter three, McCloud writes about how infants only know of what is in front of them, if they “can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, or touch it, it isn’t there.” Adults on the other hand know what exists even if it’s not right in front of us. This is called closure. McCloud goes on to discuss “the gutter” or space between panels. Readers will all have their own perception of what is going on in “the gutters.” McCloud categorizes panel-to-panel transitions into six classes: moment-to-moment (“very little closure”), action-to-action (“progressions”), subject-to-subject (staying within an idea), scene-to-scene (“significant distances of time”), aspect-to-aspect (“bypassed time”), and non-sequitur (“no logical relationship between panels). He then discusses these categories and goes over which categories are most popular among various comics artists.

This chapter was a lot more understandable and less confusing than chapter two. I see how McCloud incorporates the Theory of Cognitive Development, focusing on the Sensorimotor period where infants have not yet developed object permanence, into the subject of closure. It also makes sense how readers will have their own perceptions about what is happening in “the gutters” because every reader has their own ideas and imagination. I never knew that there were different categories of panel-to-panel transitions, so the section where he talks about the classes was very interesting.

Blog #1

In Chapter 2, I must agree with McCloud when he states that "the sorts of images we usually call symbols are one category of icon." Everytime we see an icon or symbol, by just looking at this, we can automatically assume that we know what is being said. We could probably say one whole sentence with just one symbol. Do we really know what is being said? As McCloud explains, seeing a flag of the United States does not mean it is a country, or if we see a picture of a cow, that doesn't mean it is a cow. I know that everytime my daughter goes to WalMart, if she sees a picture of a women figure, she automatically knows that is a women's restroom. But it is not really the restroom.

McCloud askes the question, "why are we so involved," in cartoon figures more than realistic images. Well, when looking at comics, it seems as though it is just nature to see a cartoon drawing than it is to think of a comic looking at realistic images. It is much easier to use our imagination when looking at cartoons, than it is when looking a real images. If I look at a real image, it almost seems more serious, as though we already know what is going to happen, or what just happened. But when looking at a cartoon image, our mind can kind of wonder what is going to happen, or what just happened. The expression on a cartoon drawing is more imaginative than that of a real picture of a person, especially if there is much detail to the picture.

In Chapter 3, if readers can use the moment-moment, action-action, scene-scene, aspect-aspect, and non-sequiter, the comic may be easier to follow. Following the different sequences can explain more about the comic, than just reading on and on, with nothing really to follow. I like the idea McCloud has on pages 84-85. I agree when he states, "we assume as readers that we will know what order to read panels in," I myself have opened comics and sometimes find myself confused in not knowing if I am reading in the right order or not. I have had to read one page 2 times to make sure I am following correctly. The examples McCloud gives on "Here's a Story," makes a lot of sense. The creator can have a full page of panels for 1 part of a story, or have 1/2 a page of panels by shortening the story or sequence. I find it hard to keep up with the story, whether reading it or even in a real life situation when there is much more information put out there, versus getting straight to the point.

As I read on, I find it amusing that the points McCloud is using for "Understanding Comics," are somewhat the same points we use in everyday life to interpret everyday situations, i.e., a picture of a hamburger might let us know that there is a restaurant around the corner, but not that the picture is a hamburger.

Blog #1 Ch. 2+3

Chapter two of Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art, is about icons and how our minds perceive them. McCloud writes about how the human eye believes an object printed on paper to be real. Although in reality, it is just a printed version of the real thing. When images are drawn in their simplest form, they make it easier for the mind to understand what is going on. An easier way to understand this is when you think of an image of yourself, it is very basic. We can’t see the details of ourselves and it makes us feel more connected with simple cartoons because they aren’t that detailed either. When pictures are more detailed, it is harder for our minds to perceive what is going. We have more questions as to who the character is and what his or her background may be. We don’t feel as connected to more complex pictures as we do with simple cartoons. Also chapter two mentions a diagram called the picture plane. It is triangular in shape and each corner represents the whole picture vocabulary. The top represents shapes, the left side represents reality and the right side represents language. Comics can fall in between all of these characteristics.
This was a good chapter to read because it was very informative. It forced information into my brain that I never even thought of before. For example when McCloud is saying how humans are a self centered race because we see ourselves in everything like cars, and plugs. We also try to give inanimate objects human characteristics. I never realized that all these things are very true. I always look at cars and see faces. The slower cars look friendlier than fast cars even, and it is all brought together with simple shapes.
Chapter three is about closure, which means to observe the parts of something, but perceive it as a whole. It also talks about the gutter, which is the space in between panels that leads to the next image. Gutters give your mind enough time to understand what happens from panel to panel. Even if there are no gutters, your mind still imagines them to be there. Closure has many ways of being done. There are six styles to making closure: panel-to-panel, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and non-sequitur. Each style differs in time and subject matter. While panel-to-panel captures each movement, non-sequitur jumps from completely different images through the panels.
This was also an informative chapter because it mentions different styles that are used to help you understand different techniques in making comics. Once again I never noticed how the mind assumes what goes on in between panels without literally being shown what is happening. It was interesting for me to see the picture of a man holding an ax over another man in one picture, the in the next picture to see just a scene with someone screaming in the background. Automatically I thought that the man being threatened with the ax was attacked, even though nothing ever mentioned that happening.