Design Elements and Principles: Min Kim

A page from Scott McCloud’s Novel. “Understanding Comics” where he begins an introductory to what comics are and their importance. (Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, HarperPerennial, 1994, pg 4)

Beginning in chapter one of Scott McCloud’s novel, we are introduced to the broad scope of comics we recognize that are depicted on panels of an enormous globe. As McCloud brings into question what exactly a comic is, in a design perspective this panel is extremely effective in communicating and highlighting the main topic of comics. The sheer size of the globe completely engulfs the page towering from the top to the bottom. We understand that this representation of graphic novels is the key importance of McCloud’s message. Even the shape as a globe further enhances the idea that world of comics is extraordinarily vast and the variation in the repetition of panels feature the diversity McCloud exclaimed. In addition, the contrast in size of McCloud’s character and the globe attributes directly to John Lovett’s design overview in that the globe (or icon of comics) is the center of interest. Furthermore, it is interesting that McCloud often chooses a plain black background to develop this stark contrast.

A page from Scott McCloud’s novel, “Understanding Comics” where he elaborates on the perspective we live in. (Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, HarperPerennial, 1994, pg 34)

On another page, we see the explicit use of the black background as McCloud explains the idea that our faces are akin to a perpetually outward facing mask. Against the black background, McCloud’s character contrasts in tone as a light icon in a dark space. Again, he and the mask poses as the center of interest; however, the focus shifts more to this mask that seems as if it is being placed on our faces as it encroaches closer and closer. . This is achieved through the gradation of the mask and the placement of “shadows” to portray a sense of movement which Lovett elaborates as an effect that causes our eyes to move with the shape. In conjunction to this observation, McCloud places this lens on us and asks of us to have some introspection of this very existent yet ingrained perspective. We can also identify it as a mask because of the texture drawn on with gradation to have a resemblance to a face.

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