But isn't Scott McCloud primarily a comics artist?
Yes, but he keeps a blog and he does lots of interesting things with images on it, like the Morning Impro exercise.
Must be a good resource for comic artists.
It is. Besides, I think there are lots of parallels between the storytelling devices used in comics and those being adopted by webloggers.
Well, the individual posts of a blog are quite similar to the frames of a comic. And both are separated by a thin, but significant space. It's a space where the reader fills in the details.
That seems like a fairly superficial difference.
Maybe. But I think there are possibilities for interesting comparisons to be made between the two genres.
Both formats use sequences as the mode for telling a story, and the story is delivered in increments.
So what do you want to ask Scott about, specifically?
Oh, lots of things. About how creating images for the web differs from creating work for print. About if he imagines the Morning Impro as spawning larger pieces. About copyright issues, and selling work online.
About if it's possible to overcome the "tangibility" of real objects and replace them with virtual versions. Can a webcomic ever be as loved as a print version, that can be stuffed in the back pocket and read anywhere? That kind of thing.
About the positive aspects of online delivery- ease of publication, ease of distribution, ease of reproduction. About online communities and web-comics. Lots of things.
For some reason, this morning I remembered a piece of advice they gave us in last week's bomb threat seminar. We were discussing what to do in the event of a chemical attack on our building.
"The most obvious way to spread chemicals throughout a building like this one is to use the air conditioning system."
Yes. That would definitely do it.
"The symptoms of posioning include nausea, painful stinging or watering of the eyes, cramps."
"So what should you do if you start feeling these symptoms?'
Yes, go on.
"You should hold your breath and rapidly exit the building."
Great. That's just great. When they give you advice like this you basically know that it is a kind way of saying "you are doomed." I think, therefore, it would be much better advice to say "Start tap dancing and performing numbers from "A Chorus Line" as you may as well do something slightly entertaining in your dying moments.
More Wacom animation, when I should be studying. However, I justify it by saying that it's practise for Tropfest. This was supposed to be "B for Breakdancing Bear" but he just looks like he's dancing, really. I need to find a sound loop to go with it, perhaps at Flash Kit. It's as much to amuse my father as anything.
Ok, I've put a Flashkit loop in now, but it's not really looping very well. Can't really justify spending any more time on it, however.
The first time I saw the Eiffel Tower I found myself thinking "How is this different from seeing it on a postcard or on screen?" I couldn't shake the feeling that this was yet another image. I was standing far enough away for the Tower to look around about the same size that it would look in a photo and it's such a familiar construction that it looked exactly how I thought it would look. I only really started to get a sense of it as a new experience, something that I hadn't seen, when we started to climb it. The solidness of the metal gave it a physicality that just looking at it was unable to provide. I had a similar sensation when visiting the Taj Mahal.
Every now and again you will have the sensation of "really seeing" yourself. Obviously, there are the daily, considered inspections of the face in the mirror, to clean the teeth or comb the hair. There are examinations of the body, to see that the clothes are not riding up, or coming undone, or that hair that needs to be removed has been removed, but this viewing is done in increments, and close up. So when you finally, for whatever reason, actually look at yourself as an entirety, it can be something of a shock. You notice the ageing, the wear and tear. You notice that suddenly your hair is much longer than you thought, or that you face has adopted an expression that you associate with someone older, someone more adult than you thought yourself to be.
When I'm travelling on the tram home, I tend to keep my head down, reading a book. However, without meaning to, I keep track in my head of where I imagine we are along the journey. Generally I find I am reasonably accurate, so that if I look up, the scenery outside the window will match up with the image in my head. Occasionally, however, I will be wrong, and when I look up I have a momentary sensation of confusion which is almost like blindness, where I can't actually "see" the scene outside the window, because my mind is so intent on matching it up with the image of where it thinks we should be. It takes a second or two until my brain is willing to relinquish the imagined scene for the real one.
I've been reading James Elkins' book The Object Stares Back and it's made me think about the way we perceive images on the Internet, and how unstable these images are.
What do you mean, unstable? Aren't images fixed things?
Not really. Even in the "real world" viewing an image isn't entirely straightforward. There are all kinds of things that modify the way we look at things.
Like where we see it, for one. In a book? In a gallery? In a comic book? In someone's photo album? Then there's any knowledge you may have of the image-maker. That can make you look at something in many different ways.
And then there's physical factors. Perhaps the viewer is partially sighted. Perhaps they are colour blind. Maybe the viewer has studied art history or perhaps they believe that image-making steals your soul.
Oh, it definitely does that.
So on the internet, many of these points (such as context and the viewer's physicality) are relevant, plus there are additional factors that might modify how we see an image.
How do you mean?
Well, perhaps your server is slow, and so at first all you see is a missing image icon, or a line of ALT text. Maybe the image has been sliced, and appears in tiny portions at a time, or in stripes.
Then there's the fact that colours and tones appear differently on every computer, it would seem, even the web safe ones.
That sounds like it would be kind of annoying.
It can be frustrating.
What can you do about it?
Nothing. You just have to work with it, take it into consideration.
I suppose at least you've got the original, so you know what it's meant to look like.
Well, the idea of an original is kind of meaningless, when you are talking about web delivery. There is no original. There's just mass dissemination of reproductions.
I don't get it.
I'm not sure that I do, either. I'll get back to you when I've thought a bit more about it.