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Blog posts tagged as 'optical'

Interesting 2007

I gave a talk at Interesting 2007 about three weeks ago now. The day was great and though I wasn’t able to stay for all of it, I really enjoyed myself, and the few talks I did catch were very absorbing. So well done to Russell for sorting all that out.

Me Speaking at Reboot

I gave a talk on comics and while there are some images of me talking about them on Flickr, some people have asked for a list of the comics I discussed. Below is the list and brief descriptions. I’ve also transcribed my talk and put the slides online: Comics and Pictures.

Though I read lots of different comics, I only really follow four authors: Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Garth Ennis. Really, you can’t go that wrong reading stuff by these guys, they are awesome, although many people find Ennis a bit heavy. Here is the list in the order that I discussed them:

  • The Kingdom by Mark Waid and drawn by Ariel Olivetti and Mike Zeck. Wikipedia has a good description of Hypertime, so no need to hunt down this comic if you are just curious.
  • Sea of Red by Rick Remender, Kieron Dwyer and Salgood Sam. This is the one about vampire pirates.
  • New Universal by Warren Ellis and Salvador Larroca. This is the comic I discussed where all the characters are derived from film stars.
  • Planetary by Warren Ellis. This is really good, everyone should read it. There are four main books, all are good. I specifically discussed Planetary Crossing Worlds which includes the Batman story.
  • The Filth by Grant Morrison. This is the best comic that there is, everybody should read this. It is the one with the guy who speaks with thought bubbles.
  • Desolation Jones by Warren Ellis and J.H. Williams III. I’ve mentioned this before. It is a great read, and drawn with deft elegance, really nice work.
  • I spoke about Madman. Very weird but good.
  • I also mentioned a cover from The Flash who can run really fast, and that’s about it.

I’m enjoying a couple of American authors at the moment: Ed Brubaker‘s Criminal, and Joss Whedon‘s Astonishing X-men is good too.

That is the list of comics I mentioned. They stock them at my favourite comic shops: Orbital and Gosh, both nicely located in central London.

Burtin vs. Ellis/Williams

I presented this comparison at Design Engaged last year. I like it because it talks in a really visceral way about how we read visual material. It deals with looking as an act as opposed to something that just happens to your eye. Comics are often disregarded amongst Graphic Design communities. This irritates me since comics deal with such rich and sophisticated material.

Below are two pieces of work, the first is a spread from Desolation Jones by Warren Ellis and J.H. Willliams III. Without revealing too much of my Ellis/Williams fanboydom, the series is excellent but this page is especially deft. Ellis discusses it in his weblog here.

Look at the way the red line connects the sequence.

The line morphs between road markings, Indiana Jones style aerial map views and back to the light trails from the vehicle. Williams guides your eye through the page, setting the page’s pace and rhythm. Optically it is very clever, it deals with how your eye scans at speed and also stitches the cue into the content of the panels.

Desolation Jones

The second image is by Will Burtin (thanks to James King). It is optically similar to the comic.

Although research material on Burtin is fairly thin, I understand that this image was produced during his time designing for the U.S. Army. This image is taken from a manual, illustrating how to disassemble your rifle.

Burtin has drawn two sets of dotted lines over his work. The lines indicate his expectation of how a readers eye will move over the page. The dotted line represents a quick scan of the page, dealing mostly with just the images and the dashed line represents a detailed read.

Will Burtin

Burtin knows how the page is being read, he acknowledges that the reader will read it at different paces, and presumably this has affected his slightly strange layout. Interesting that he expects people to read along gun barrels.

Burtin and Williams both use letters and images, in a sequence, on the page, and expect them to be read in two different ways: First in overview and then in detail. They deal with arrangement, pace and rhythm with the same sensitivity and same language.

Comics are in everything.

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