sequential images

Taarika John

Taarika John is an illustrator based in Mumbai, India. I came across her work during my visual keyword research on behance.

The project that caught my eye was her Final Diploma project, where she worked with the ‘Art in Transit’ project. Art in Transit is a multifaceted public art initiative facilitated by the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and the city of Bangalore.

 

Storyboard. Taarika John
Storyboard sketch. Taarika John
‘The abandoned plot’ Taarika John

 

It is fascinating to see how she visually explored the themes of monotony and routine in context of space, narratives and experiences. After mapping the area surrounding the ‘Art in Transit’ location she combined her mapping results with a fictional narrative of the non-fictional space. I think the comic convey her message very well using a multidimensional layout, depicting different perspectives and a balanced composition.

 

behance (2017) Manifestations of Monotomy [Online] 2014. Available at: https://www.behance.net/Taarikajohn [Accessed: 21 November 2017]

John, Taarika (2017) Taarika John [Online] 2017. Available from: http://www.taarikajohn.com/monotony.html  [Accessed: 21 November 2017]

John, T. (2015) Art in Transit [Online] Jan 02, 2015. Available from: https://mappeenya.wordpress.com [Accessed: 21 November 2017]

Art in Transit Bangalore (2017) Connecting people and city through art [Online] Available from: http://www.artintransitbangalore.com [Accessed: 21 November 2017]

 

Keyword outcome

Coming across Jon McNaught’s work and his creative approach inspired me to look closer into the field of ‘silent comics’. It is impressive what you can achieve in terms of mood and intimacy without a dialogue or even a plot.

Encouraged to apply this to my chosen keyword I picked a daily routine (making tea) and structured the activity as a silent comic by breaking down the different steps.

 

Sketch: daily routine of making tea – A. Shemilt

 

Color 1. Daily routine of making tea – A. Shemilt

 

Color 3. Daily routine of making tea – A. Shemilt

 

There is still room for experimenting, not only with the theme but also with form and style. The idea that is growing slowly in the back of my mind is to combine the aspects from Taarika John’s approach with artists portrayed in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. Possible outcomes could be book illustrations or a series of posters. Work in progress!

I learned that even with the absence of words or a preset storyline in comics there are different ways of suggesting subtle narratives. By providing just enough visual information through colour and composition I can evoke potential narrative layers and have the viewer fill in the (visual) gaps. To my own surprise I discovered that I don’t have to have a meaningful meassage as a starting point. This was and still is a bit of a learning curve for me to trust the ongoing process enough that some way or the other an idea will develop.

I benefited from researching other artists and their works and by doing so I began developing an interest for silent comics; something that was not on my horizon before and something that I would like to explore further in the future.

 

 

On Silent Comics

In this post I reflect on silent comics. This was triggered by my visual research for my keyword project. I found a well researched blog entry by Thal Sneddon, that I will re-blog here (in parts). Sneddon is a freelance writer with a Master in Comic Studies.

From: The Silent and the Sequential: Wordless Comics (Sneddon, 2015)

“When we go with Scott McCloud’s definition of what makes a comic – “Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” – we see that words are not required, though the distinction between “pictorial” and “other images” does imply a perceived hierarchy. Eisner requires only that a comic is “sequential art”, acknowledging that a comic without words is possible but cautioning that “sophistication” on the part of the reader is required.

In wordless comics dialogue is absent but narration is not. The lack of words means that the reader has to piece together the story, and even then, much is subjective and open to interpretation.

Unlike film or television where we simply receive the visual and audio communication, or even a book where we supplement what we are given with what we imagine, a comic actively requires us to move the characters, backgrounds, action or inaction, between what we are shown. In a wordless comic further clues are removed, making the read even more of a subjective and personal experience.”

Some examples:

Marc Antoine Mathieu: 3″

 

Masashi Tanaka: Gon

In the article “Silent Comics” (Postema, 2016) the Barbara Postema, argues that the “wordless genre allows the comic to create a space that pushes the visual register to communicate in more intricate and varied ways. Wordlessness can allow the image to push beyond representing the visual diegesis in some kind of mimetic way: in addition to the visible world, the imagery is expanded to represent other sensations, including sound and its qualities and dynamics.”

 

Great examples for representation of sound in a ‘soundless’ comic:

Joseph Lambert: ‘Keep it steady, turtle.’

 

“Due to the absence of dialogue, often the narratives of silent comics remain somewhat indeterminate, or lean towards the symbolic.”

This really resonates with me. Often I don’t have the confidence to make up a story or I would feel too embarrassed about it. Learning to develop pictorial narratives without relying on words can be just as powerful. This also leaves enough room for the reader’s own interpretation and frees me from the pressure of having to pick a specific message.

 

SNEDDON, T. (2017) The Silent and the Sequential: Wordless Comics [Online] January 20th 2015. Available from: comicbookgrrrl.com http://www.comicbookgrrrl.com/2015/01/20/the-silent-and-the-sequential-wordless-comics [Accessed: 28 November 2017].

 

Postema, B. (2016) Silent Comics. In: Bramlett, F., Cook, R. & Meskin, A. The Routledge Companion to Comics. London: Taylor and Francis.

 

Jon McNaught

In this post I reflect on Jon McNaught’s work. A printmaker and illustrator from England, he uses screen-printing and lithography to create miniature images and silent narratives, depicting quiet moments from everyday life in small, often tile like panels. His inspiration is taken from his local surroundings and the British landscapes. Intrigued by Japanese woodblock prints (e.g. Hiroshige) as a student, he became interested in printmaking in order to recreate the displayed atmosphere.

‘Puddle’, Lithographic print (2012)
From ‘Dockwood’. McNaught’s third comic book published by Nobrow Press 2012
Over the sea. Screenprint (2009)

 

His (mostly) silent comics are almost completely void of text and convey an atmosphere that I find very appealing. It is the simplicity he uses in form and colour that resonates with me and that lead me to discover those quiet narratives that I didn’t perceive at first. By combining the visual elements with sound elements specific to the place he adds another sensory layer, which, in addition to the absence of a clear plot makes the reader feel as if he was discovering and experiencing the depicted moment.

His narratives “are less concerned with plot, drama or action than capturing melancholic moods and ephemeral plays of light and shadow, connections and contrasts between the man-made and natural worlds, and the extraordinary in the ordinary.” (Paul Gravett, 2011)

 

I was happy to find a video from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. In this workshop he talks about his background, motivation and process. I have watched it several times already 🙂

Additionally there is an interview with Paul Gravett from 2011.

 

Gravett, Paul (2011) John McNaught: Printing Comics [Online] May 8, 2011. Available from: http://www.paulgravett.com/articles/article/jon_mcnaught [Accessed: 21st Nov 2017]

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (2014) [Online] March 26, 2014. Available from: https://archive.bezalel.ac.il/skn/c6/בצלאל/Search#search=05bbe54a2b9efe8ced6dd6db7792bdbe