Lecture 001

Graphic Novels:


Structure of Graphic Novel

Four key elements:

The Panel

Definition: an area on the page

Unlike film: only display key movements Unlike photography: one image can display elapse of time (conversation dialogue)


Definition: the border of the panels, usually black, rectangular


Size: can vary for design, pacing, and emphasis

Distance: (long or short shots) help see details or big picture




the place to place characters can suggest relationship between objects


Expressive anatomy: body posture and gesture, emotion. Emanata:

Subjective motion: blurry environment -> high speed

Mise-en-scène (to put in the scene)

choose to draw some object, or not.

Words: manipulate and anchor meaning of the images. (Relation with image: sometimes repetition, sometimes complementary. Modern comics use image more.)

Balloon: indicate dialogue

Sound (diegetic sound): not necessarily phonetically accurate

gag cartons: political cartoons

The Sequence

gutter: (white) empty space between two panels, serve as transition -> divide to sequence of time

Transition: requires reader to discern connection between transitions (ordering relation -> meaning)

Compress time: many small panels

Special sequences:

The Page

Layout can guide people how to read, but confusing layout is bad. Diptych layout: using two pages

hyperframe: margin of framed area

The Narrative

Hero's journey: protagonist, spark, escalation, climax, denouement.

Symmetry: opening match closing

7 terms

Framing: Framing is the way events are captured within a limited space on a medium (usually paper). Artists can choose the position of important objects within the frame in relation to other objects, size of the frame, as well as the border style of the frame itself to convey messages. Emanata: emanatas are conventional visual symbols that are used to convey emotion and motion in comics. Some examples are: sweats, hearts, and motion lines. Subjective motion: subjective motion is a visual effect to capture the movements of objects in space in comics. Usually subjective motion can be the blurring of background into lines that parallel to the direction in which the object travels. gutter: The gutter is the empty (usually white) space between the border of multiple panels in graphic novels. It serves as a division between two panels. Conceptually, it can be used to create relationship between panels in sequence where the reader can infer the events between the two panels. Mise-en-scène: in comics, mise-en-scene is an artists' choice to include certain objects into the panel while purposefully leaving off other unimportant objects. This conscious choice allows the artists to manipulate the audience's attention. Balloon: Balloon (or conversation bubbles) is a visual way to represent conversation exchanges, sounds, or thoughts of a person or an object within a graphical context. The shape of the balloon as well as the border of the balloon can sometimes inform the readers the origin or the volume of the sound. dietetic sound: a special type of sound that happens within the story. In contracts to non-dietetic sound that only serves the readers, dietetic sound can be heard by the characters in the story.

More Words

Reductive: not all comics show every moment (abstraction, simplification) Blocking: positioning of characters to show relationship

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