01 February 2012

Time Machine- Chapter 4 of Understanding Comics

In chapter four of Understanding Comics The Invisible Art, author Scott McCloud informs the reader about time in comics. He explains how our mind fills in the time and motion between panels. It is brought to our attention that the various shapes, sizes, and spacing play a big role in timing. For example, if  the panels are spaced out more the mind automatically reads a larger amount of time between the actions displayed. The same can be said if a horizontally wide rectangle is used as apposed to a smaller vertical rectangle. On some occasions the panel may bleed off of the page creating a feeling of timelessness; other times there is no panel to create the same effect. Also in this chapter, McCloud describes motion. The reader cannot see motion but can imagine the motion between panels. Often times authors show motion within panels by drawing lines of the moving object. There are different variations of how to draw motion in one panel used by different parts of the world. Time in comics is crazy and mixed up but somehow unscrambled by the human brain.

I like McCloud's description of time in comics because he explains the different essences of time and space. We perceive time frames through shapes and sizes of panels. The different spacings between tell a different story.  Even motion within panels is depicted differently. All of these things are picked up subconsciously but I fear I may have never noticed without McCloud's help.

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