Wayne's World(s): The Emergent Image and Image Making in the Design of the Comic as Sequential Art

By Janet Blatter.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2014 $US5.00

When is an image not just a picture? This paper investigates the role of sketching within the practice of designing time-based or sequential art. This interdisciplinary (cognitive, semiotic, and literary theory) research describes the polysemic and multifunctional nature of image-making from the vantage point of artists who must monitor their own processes, think about the possible narrative interpretations of the sequenced image, and plan for the viewers’ experience in the final product. Focusing on a case study of an artist designing panels for a Webcomic, the paper outlines key concepts that the artist must deal with, and how he uses his sketches to help him attend to and refocus attention to his sketch as the images emerge. This study argues that understanding the nature of the emergent image requires going beyond the semiotic notion of an image as a pictorial icon, to consider the affordances of drawing as action in (multi) goal-directed design. The discussion of the findings re-frames the perceptual and cognitive perspective on sketching within literary and social theories on sensuous perception and the flâneur.

Keywords: Sketching, Design, Sequential Art, Embodied Cognition, Interdisciplinarity

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 4, Issue 3, June 2014, pp.13-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 876.623KB)).

Dr. Janet Blatter

Independent Researcher, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I am a cognitive scientist based in Montreal, Canada. My research focuses on understanding the nature of thinking and drawing in design-based problem solving, particularly in time-based such as animation and video game design. For the past ten years, I studied how animators, filmmakers, and game designers in find and solve problems during early storyboarding in authentic studio and classroom settings. Most of real-world design problem solving occurs in small teams, so I look at visual discourse – how drawings and sometimes gestures, are used to help designers find and solve problems relating to time, space, and story logic. This research is aimed at enhancing the work experience of experts and students learning how to design for the growing list of time-based media, from live action films to animation and video games.