Print versus Digital: Jessica Harja

Honestly, I’m not really sure what the future of comics will be. As it has always been, print remains a very expensive form of work. There are times where it is cost-effective. But if you are an up and coming artist and trying to move out print copies, it is difficult because it is impossible to be able to afford printing mass quantities out with no income. Speaking from a student artist point of view, I’ve done research into creating art from a print perspective and I’ve seen what other online artists have discussed in terms of trying to make their work known. Most young digital artists that I am aware of nowadays use online media in order to share their work. Ultimately, taking away from what their work could be.

Don’t get me wrong, I think their work is great as it is and some comics are better designed for a digital medium. But there is something to be said about print work. Depending on the way the digital copy was created, the way in which you view or read the comic or artwork is controlled. Based upon access, how you move throughout the comic, how you experience it, etc. Whereas a print version is just that. A print version. You can read through it at your own pace, you have the feel and smell of the paper in your own hands, and it’s a much more personable experience with the effort the artist put into creating their work. When I was reading the printed copy of the textbook, it was more of a one on one experience and it was easier to take time to read through the material. However, with the online comics it was less so. Some aspects of going through the comics were controlled and it didn’t seem like it was a one on one experience anymore.

McCloud, pg. 59.

In this sequence of panels, McCloud discusses the significance of symbols and icons and how they gain their meaning from the viewer. (Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, pg. 59)

If I were to create a comic, I would want to create one that is more focused on the concept rather than making it more realistic or full of detail. On page 59, McCloud states that “Icons demand our participation to make them work. There is no life here except that which you give to it” (McCloud, pg. 59, 1993). This was one of the many statements that stood out to me while I was reading the book. I find that comic books really do have more of this interactive quality to them more than most other media. Does the hyper-realistic artwork of the comic really matter if you can’t glean the concept of it? Of why the artist dedicated time to creating it? I’d want mine to be minimalistic and simple. Some of the most inspiring comics I’ve read have hardly had much information to go off of.


McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993. Print.

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