IdN Volume 24 | No 3: Sequential Art, Comics & Illustration – Thinking Inside the Box
IdN Volume 24 | No 3: Although more commonly referred to as “comics”, especially if the tales told concern the antics of super-heroes, the remit of a narrative genre in which illustrations share equal billing with the words is much wider than that of simply propagating fantastic world-saving feats. It can involve film-making story-boards, animation and speech balloons, and with its 2D presentation of “moving” graphics, it acts as a kind of halfway house between literature and the cinema. Good drawing skills are as necessary as the ability to delineate a plausible story-line. But within those very wide parameters, there is room for as many styles as there are practitioners of them.
Sequential Art, Comics & Illustration
The term “sequential art” seems to have been first recorded in 1985 by comics artist Will Elsner for the title of his book Comics And Sequential Art. He analyzed the essential elements into four parts: design, drawing, caricature and writing. And he summed it up as an art form that uses images deployed in sequence for graphic story-telling or to convey information.
In IdN Volume 24 | No 3, we have gathered together 36 sequential artists to give us their views on their art and share examples of it with us. One of the traps that young designers tend to fall into, they mostly agreed, was to assume that their readers know how the story will go and what happens next, having become so lost in their own interior world for so long that when they come to actually draw the sequences they have imagined so often, they often skip vital details. It is crucial for sequential artists to remember that most readers are coming to their work for the first time and need to be led gently by the hand that guides the pen. By the same token, one should not become too bogged down in the technical perfections of each frame, but always keep in mind the need to express the idea of movement and continuity.
Whether you are a “comics” fan or not, we hope that this in-depth consideration of the craft will shed a new light on something that is still controversial in some circles and not taken as seriously as it should be – either by the literary or the graphical fraternity. Whatever your views, you should find material here to boost or challenge them, in short to give you a fresher and more informed outlook on the format.