Framing: Alex Gutzwiller

This image appears on David Lasky’s Portfolio- Comics Art at: 



David Lasky’s illustration for “The Ocean Has a Brain” (page 8) written by Lisa Marlowe.


This comic illustrates the affects that framing has concerning how we perceive the content of a comic. The individual pictures within this design are each frames separated by borders allowing each piece of work to draw it’s own attention and be lifted apart from the other surrounding images. According to the Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, in their book, Graphic Design: The New Basics frames are  “subservient” to the design they surround yielding to the image but also shapes our understanding of that image. In this comic, the borders of the frames are white, which do not draw attention to their lines making them disappear and “subservient” to the images allowing for the content to stand out. The white borderlines also make these frames implied separating the content subtly drawing attention and lifting the designs apart from the setting. Lasky uses frames within a frame concept by illustrating the ocean dream of the author filling the whole center of the page with an ocean image that appears to be within the “brain” of her head (as dreams are). I see the movement of the ocean waves and feel connected to the dream that includes an image of car floating within the water as if traveling with the dream. The lower 3 frames make up parts of the author’s face showing a nose, mouth and ear. With the use of white borders I see past the individual lines of the frames as if they are invisible creating an entire image of Marlowe’s head creating the frames within a frame element. Lastly, the top of the comic shifts in scale where 4 smaller horizontal frames containing clouds and script. This shifting of scale helps to shape the understanding of this comic because not only do the clouds appear within these frames but also the horizontal lines help to show layers of clouds that are seen in the sky. Typically, dreams are often described as coming from above and within the thoughts of our minds. The script within these horizontal frames sets up the idea for the comic and places the viewer within the scene because the dream is explained here and seems to flow down from the top. With the use of shifts in scale and the frames within the frames the comic is more visually understood by the reader and allows the viewer to relate to the image in an interesting way as dreams are common to us all and often we all try to examine and remember our dreams, just as Marlowe recalls the dreams of her childhood.


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