Archive | March, 2011

Implied Complexity – Mike Mignola

14 Mar
by L. Nichols

One of the greatest strengths of cartooning is in the things that aren’t shown.

Scott McCloud talks about simplification of form in Understanding Comics (which if you haven’t read, I highly recommend). A photo of a person can only represent that one person. A smiley face symbol can represent any smiling face. Cartooning navigates this world between representation and symbol.

For me, I think of cartooning as something very much based in design. It is design in a specific usage. Manipulation of the understanding of forms. (Maybe more than just that, but that is a good start ?*). Cartooning can range from the goofier, caricatured styles (Kevin talked a bit about this) to styles that are more based in reality. Regardless of which style moves you, I feel like cartooning in all its forms really speaks to the idea that “perfection is not when there’s nothing left to add, it’s when there’s nothing left to take away.”

Today, I want to talk about the use of cartooning to imply complexity and particularly Mike Mignola.

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Another Day, Another Slay

11 Mar
by Darryl Ayo

I’m not a real cartoonist, I’m an impostor. I have a day job. Nine-to-five with a paycheck that comes like clockwork and health benefits. With the rise of the full-time professional independent cartoonist, I have felt as though my day job makes me less of an “official” cartoonist than some of my peers.

But this, right here, is how I can feel 100% official, even while I’m spending most of my time in the office.

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9 Mar
by Kevin Czap

Joanna Newsom Ys

…we move within his borders
Just asterisms
in the stars’ set
We could stand for a century…
— Joanna Newsom, “Emily”

An asterism is a collection of stars seen in the night sky that appear to form a pattern. The star patterns we see, like the Big Dipper, can be light years apart in reality, but their apparent proximity lets us connect the dots to create a picture in our minds. Our constellations come out of this phenomenon originally, when preceding human cultures were able to form stories from the shapes they perceived in the heavens.
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The Magic of Design

7 Mar
by L. Nichols

In English, the word design is both a noun and a verb (which tells one a lot about the nature of the English language). As a noun, it means – among other things – ‘intention’, ‘plan’, ‘intent’, ‘aim’, ‘scheme’, ‘plot’, ‘motif’, ‘basic structure’, all these (and other meanings) being connected with ‘cunning’ and ‘deception’. As a verb (‘to design’), meanings include ‘to concoct something’, ‘to simulate’, ‘to draft’, ‘to sketch’, ‘to fashion’, ‘to have designs on something’. 1

When I first read Flusser’s essay about the nature of the word design (About the Word Design 1), I was simultaneously floored and also a little angry.

A designer is a cunning plotter laying his traps. 1

As someone who studied engineering, as someone who works as a graphic designer, as an artist, I felt attacked , accused of blatant deception. But the more I thought about what he was getting at, the more I realized that there was a definite basis of truth to the claim of designer as a trickster/deceiver. Maybe being a deceiver isn’t such a bad thing.

I always hear comics people talking about design. Page design/layout. Character design. Book design. Website design. Etc. etc. etc. But what does this really mean? If we agree that design is about deception and manipulation, is tricking/being tricked really such a bad thing?

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Dramatic Entrance 05 — The End

4 Mar
By Darryl Ayo

Okay, I’m going to switch my style up a little bit. The page above is  NOT the first page of Ran Brown’s webcomic THE END. It’s actually the fifth page.

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Looking Funny

2 Mar
by Kevin Czap

drawings by Vincent Giard

A while ago, the ever-inspiring Frank Santoro wrote up a little soapbox on Comics Comics about drawing style. His position seemed to be a yearning for artists who were mean with a pencil in that representational way Noel Sickles, Alex Toth and Jaime Hernandez (his examples) were known for. Frank was wondering where all the naturalism had gone, seeing a trend away from this style of observational drawing in alt comics. What there tends to be a lot of is what Frank terms as mannerism, or affected drawing.
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