Class Exercise 1 – Defining Sequential Art

Today marks a brand new semester!

In our first lecture today, we were tasked to discuss and decide on a set of criteria that would define “sequential art”.

A quick search on the Internet gave me this definition:

“Sequential art is an art form that uses images deployed in sequence for graphic storytelling or to convey information.”¹

Here is the set of criteria that our group came up with:

1. Before & after
There should be a story, however short it is. There should be a minimum of 2 frames.

2. The order of the frames should convey the intended meaning
Interpreting a series of frames in different orders naturally alters the meaning of the story. If the

3. Image > Words
The images should be the main message conveyer, not the words (if there are words)

We were tasked to look at various images and decide whether they were considered sequential art.

Examples of sequential art

AirplaneSafetyCard2

Airline instruction booklets

history

Comic strips

 

NOT sequential art

infographic_img10

This infographic conveys a message but does not have images in sequence.

 

We had a bit of a discussion about the following art piece by Picasso. Should it be regarded as a single image (and therefore not be considered sequential art), or should we take into account the individual frames within? If we do, it would be considered sequential art since it depicts process of the bull transforming gradually into its minimalist form.

 

picasso_bull

watson_080626_0531_mb_web

The split frames above seem to have no relation with each other, but I think this could possibly be sequential art; the story might be about a man who turned into a dog. We never know!

 

kiaer_20c_12 Marcel_Duchamp_Nude Descending a Staircase

Compare the two images above. They are both made up of split images, but the first image is made up of 3 split images that are the same, while the latter constitutes split images that look subtly different, giving forth a sense of movement. Therefore, I consider the 2nd image sequential art, but not the first.

 

I’m not sure if my interpretations are correct; hopefully as the course progresses, I would be able to gain a better understanding of what actually is sequential art 🙂

 

¹ EISNER, Will, Graphic Storytelling & Visual Narrative, Poorhouse Press, 2001 (1st. Ed., 1996), p. 6

 

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