13 February 2012

The Six Steps to Understanding Art

Art has many different forms it comes in, some of these forms we might not even recognize as art. For example, taking a stick and drawing simple lines can be considered art. Or even taking two stones and making a certain rhythm with them, or a little girl singing a song. All these are different types of art forms but at the same time there similar.
Previously in Understanding Comics the Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud, he explains the ways in which comics are different from other forms of communication. In Chapter 7, however, Scott explains that all art has certain characteristics in common. Many critics ask, “Can comics be art?” Scott believes it can, partly due to his use of a very broad definition for the word “art”. Scott defines art as “any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction!” Using a series of panels Scott explains how the pursuit of art serves three evolutionary purposes. The fist purpose is that,” They provide exercise for minds and bodies not receiving outside stimulus.” Kind of like how sports or games do in present days. They also “Provide an outlet for emotional imbalances, aiding in the race’s mental survival” such as self expression. “And perhaps most importantly to our survival as a race, such random activities often lead to useful discoveries!”
In this chapter Scott also presents the six steps that good art should go by. First, is idea/purpose, this is the purpose of the work, what the work puts out such as ideas, emotions, and philosophies. Then comes form, the form is how the artist decides to put it as. Maybe a book, or a chart, things like that. Third is idiom, “the genre that the work belongs to….” The fourth step is the structure, how to put it together. Fifth, is craft how you will construct the work. Last but not least is the surface, the “production, and values…the aspect most apparent on first superficial exposure to the work.”
My thought on chapter 7 was that it was very informative and Scott did a well job on explaining all these different steps. He made it easy to understand everything he meant, and this also helps on understanding comics themselves. For some people art is nothing, it’s just something they come across on a daily bases but never really stop to look at. But for some, art means their life. Some make a living off of art; they make these beautiful art pieces that most people might not understand. Sure art is created with a purpose but it’s up to the viewers to decide what they make of it.


  1. This is a very good summary. it has great detail and sticks to the main points of the chapter. I also agree that McCloud does a great job of explaining all the steps so the reader comprehends the message.

  2. I really like your summary and I also agree with you on how McCloud did a good job on explaining all the different steps. He did make it really to understand.

  3. This is, actually, not a very good summary, Sean and Nancy. There are tons of quotes in here that aren't necessary.

    And where's the response? All we have is an opinion on how well McCloud did :-/