12 February 2012

Sex, Survival, and the Six Steps

In chapter seven of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud, we learn about the six steps of creating art. He starts out by explaining how human interests have been, are, and will be narrowed down to two things: sex and survival. He also points out that the human brain is too complex to simply reproduce and eat 24 hours a day seven days a week. So we came up with other things to do. We started creating art whether or not we were aware of it. Art became another part of our lives in different ways such as music, dance, drawing, and even sports. These arts all follow six basic steps: idea/purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface. The way art is viewed, however, works in the reverse manner. It is often times admired from the surface before the meat and potatoes are seen and finally the idea and purpose are recognized. Some people are satisfied with just reaching certain steps but others continue on to see through them all. McCloud even suggests that perhaps the motive for stepping on all of the stones traces back to the beginning of seeking sex or economically surviving.

Personally I like how McCloud explained how art fit into the circle of life. It was interesting to think back onto the question of, "Why do I do the things I do?" Come to think of it, I agree with what he is saying. Why do people dress they way they do? To attract the opposite sex or to impress an employer at a job interview. Why work? To make money to buy food, water, and shelter; to support the family at home; maybe even just to impress a crush with flashy things. All of our energy, though, cannot be spent on those two things. People are efficient creatures and often times have down time but our brains are too complex to simply do "nothing". McCloud described the caveman's downtime as doing "nothing".  However, in doing nothing people were indeed doing something. They were subconsciously creating art. As people advanced from cavemen to technology fiends today so did the art. Behind the art are the six steps. Following through the six steps is motivation. Motivation is determined by reproduction and basic human survival. I enjoyed how McCloud created this full circle of ideas.


  1. I'm not sure I see the circle you're stating McCloud makes. Maybe because your response is basically just McCloud's same ideas restated ;-)

  2. He started out talking about reproduction and survival and how it lead to the six steps of art. Then after he explained the steps he sugested that people might just go through the six steps to survive or reproduce...