Scott McCloud: The visual magic of comics

One guy you are going to have to get used to in this class is Scott McCloud.

This video is an “unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.”

You can  download a pdf of his book here or buy it here. His book Understanding Comics is a must have for any illustrator, comic writer, creative thinker and art student.

Also, check out his web comics, they rule.


4 thoughts on “Scott McCloud: The visual magic of comics

  1. Scott McClouds “durable mutation” idea makes a lot of sense. I’m surprised to know that people thought he was crazy back in the 90’s when he proposed the idea of an infinite canvas. If one is limited to a page while reading comics, their thoughts and imagination could be interrupted just by the turn of a page. It makes sense to take advantage of the technology we have today to end the possible disruption of imagination. Technology is allowing us to use an infinite canvas so we can scroll through images a certain way in order for us to stay with the story. An infinite canvas gives more fluidity to the commic. Personally, I’d rather be holding a comic in my hands and flipping the page rather then seeing it on a computer. For some reason, I am much more attentive to a book or comic in front of me instead on a computer. I feel like I can see the detail more on a paper copy and it’s easier for me to follow the story. However, my mind can travel elsewhere as I flip the page of a comic. But that just means the story isn’t as interesting as I would like it to be. This probably is different for many other people though, so the infinite canvas idea is a great option to try out.

  2. I really enjoyed how Scott McCloud began his talk by explaining to the audience how he was the black sheep in his family. I think it was very clever how he talked about his insecurity for being the comic book artist, but then tied everything together by saying that it is in his nature to be an artist just as it’s in his father’s nature to be a scientist. I felt that by him saying this he was trying to reiterate the fact that all humans are born with a basic understanding of things and have their own personal natures. I then found it very interesting when he began to talk about different variations of the human face and how when you abstract it you can still tell by basic shapes that it’s a person’s face. Scott then went on to talk about technology and how “comics” have been around even in the time of Pharaohs. As time goes by the comic has kept the same structure with qualities such as rectilinear panel arrangements, the idea of an unbroken line that you follow as you view the images, and eventually captions or text. As Scott continued to talk, he brought up again how as time goes on our media adapts to its environment. It’s just like how we went from scribing to typewriters to computers. Eventually comics end up on a computer screen and the image is limited to that screen. I liked how he concluded his talk by saying that comics and media will always adapt to its environment. I find this very exciting as someone interested in digital media because it means art is always going to grow and that means we’ll have to face new challenges in keeping our media similar to the past, but at the same time trying upgrading it and the experience. This is a prime of how time will always shape art.

  3. As an artist, it is inspirational to see Scott McCloud tell the story of his childhood and how that deeply affected his career. He was born in a family of engineers and scientists and yet he chose what he loved to do. I also took interest in my childhood through tv shows and books that I read that is the first phase in discovering who we are. Taking a field with comic books and artists requires a lot of courage and determination in order to share your ideas and imagination to the world. What was interesting is that he discussed how most inventors had faith in their work despite what other people thought because they had a vision of the future. Artists have a vision of what can be possible and that involves a road of discovery just like Scott had with comic books. With this discovery, he was able to understand the tools to create visionary artwork by using the human senses to help people relate to what they’re reading/seeing. One of the reason I wanted to become an artist is to share my imagination with others through media by sparking the senses of others through storytelling. Art lets people escape from reality and the struggle is to grasp some way to correlate these ideas into reality. Through media, or comic books, this allows artists to recognize who they are through this journey of self discovery

  4. I find it very interesting how Scott McCloud came from a family with very similar interests as each other, job wise at least. His dad being a scientist and engineer and all of his siblings going off to do ‘real’ jobs like his father. One sibling goes into science, one goes into the military and another into engineering. It is very nice though that he said his father still had faith in him, even though what he wanted to do with his life is so different. I think things like tv (cartoons for me especially) as well as comic books have played a huge role in my life as an artist. I grew up watching The Simpons as my favorite show, I feel this played a huge role into the art style I turned to. It’s interesting to hear about other stories of how people discovered themselves as artists and how his scientific background effected his comics and the way he understood them. He looks at comics in a much deeper way than most people would ever think possible.

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