Thursday, May 14, 2009

Telling a Story Through Sequential Art

One difference between art and design is that much art, for the last 100 years, has avoided narrative content or story-telling in favor of non-objective explorations or abstraction. Many areas of design have maintained the traditions of story-telling. Illustration, animation, film, theme parks, video games and a variety of other design fields rely heavily on good story-telling. This separates them from many contemporary fine art conventions.

A good way to introduce students to traditions of story-telling is through sequential art. Sequential art includes comics, comic strips, graphic novels, story boards and so on. Sequential art has been discussed at length by Scott McCloud in his book Understanding Comics and Will Eisner in his book Comics and Sequential Art. McCloud's definition includes a variety of media (even Egyptian hieroglyphs) but excludes art forms such as animation and the written word.

Develop a curriculum for sequential art that introduces increasing levels of challenge for students over time. You might start with a single panel that implies a story followed by three panels that tell a story, up to a page of panels and even, for motivated students, a full 22 page comic.

Click on the heading above to see a good introduction to the mechanics of sequential art by Ian Yates .

No comments: