Design Elements and Principles: Nicholas Kawaguchi

Throughout “Understanding Comics,” McCloud effectively implements the design elements and principles, each working in tandem to create an interesting layout while still being very informative. It is apparent that McCloud’s application of these elements and principles are practically present on every page within the book. One page that I would like to point towards is page 47. 

Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” Page 47,

On this page, McCloud is continues his in-depth analysis of the “realistic” and “iconic” scales of comics, particularly diving into the seamless intricates of writing and drawing. The first thing that is very apparent is his use of repetition. There are 12 frames, each exactly in the same shape and almost two-thirds of them having the exact same image of McCloud while the other third has another image of him but in a different view. The key to the repetition is not necessarily in the repetition itself, but rather in the way breaks it. In one image it is just his face surrounded by words, while another is the same but his face and the speech text are swapped. This variation amongst repetition draws a certain attention to what he is trying to get across.  For instance, take the middle section panels. In the first two, McCloud alters the shape of the frame by ripping it in the middle and then mending it back in the next. By altering just one element, he emphasizes his point that writing and drawing are not in separate domains and have the potential to work harmoniously, in one unified frame. The same can be said for almost every frame on the page as size is used to create dominance over certain words. The bigger and bolder a word is the more prominent it becomes and thus the reader has a larger imprint of the particular key words after finishing that section. Looking back at the top two-thirds of panels, there is a slow transition that takes place. From the fourth top panel, the small text that lays in the background slowly begins to fade to black through McCloud’s use of gradation. Eventually, the background transitions back to white then to the small text again. This is also meant to further symbolize that perceived idea that writing and drawing are separate and the revealed concept of their coherence that culminates in an image of McCloud that is also comprised of symbols and letters. One of the final things to point out is the comparison between the top two-thirds and the bottom third. Although not complete, there is a sense of balance among the page. Due to the top two-thirds being so dense and heavy with texts and changing images, the bottom third compensates by using the repetition of the same four panels with similar looking image of McCloud to, in a way, sum up the page’s discussion.

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