Invisible Emotion: Bailey Tompkins

Illustration of Dance of Death, From the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493, Located in Special Collections in the WSU MASC

Chapter 5: “Living in Line” from Understanding Comics, mentions how to use line quality in order to convey emotion. While in the MASC, at the WSU library, I found multiple examples on line quality which conveyed emotion, but I found the illustrations from the Nuremberg Chronicle to be most telling. The representation of the dance of death not only implements line quality with the aspect of thickness of the line but also the direction and angles of those lines. The thicker lines on the dead skeleton brings emotions of emptiness and coldness compared to the thin lines on the still living skeletons which brings emotions of lightness and joy. The direction of the line also plays a role in the emotion that it displays. The more horizontal lines bring a sense of calmness whereas the more vertical lines represent anxiety or anxiousness. Overall, the line quality used in the illustration of the dance of death utilizes the thin/thickness of the lines as well as the direction of the lines to express emotions.

Illustration from RAW, by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, pg. 87, Located in the WSU MASC

Chapter 6: “Show and Tell” from Understanding Comics, defines a lot of terms of the relation between words and images. The term that I would like to focus on is duo-specific. Duo-specific means both the words and pictures send essentially the same message. I found many examples of this in the MASC, but one example particularly stood out to me. In the graphic novel Raw, by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, there is an illustration of a car crashing along with the words “CRASH” emphasized. This is a clear example of duo-specific because if the words crashed weren’t on the page, the reader would still clearly know what was happening in the scene. The words “crash” and the image of the car crashing are sending the same message to the reader that the car is in a collision.

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