The perks of teaching comics composition; being offered some of the sweetest gifts. My warmest thanks to former CommDe thesis advisee & soon-to-be Graphic Storytelling student at LUCA Beeldverhaal (Belgium), mademoiselle LycheeVanabudChaiprakorb, for this comics page which nicely encapsulates what my job is (sometimes) about, some nice comics features (non-linear narrative; De Luca/Siamese murals effects…), and an important lesson: comics help us to cut across boundaries. As Shane Denson puts it: the comics panel’s frame marks “a boundary that defines the image as a unit, thus separating it from the space around it, but it also marks a zone of connection and in fact invites the viewer to cross its threshold, to pass into the territory it defines” (Framing, Unframing, Reframing: Retconning the Transnational Work of Comics, 2013). It’s one of the many beautiful paradoxes of comics making; drawing borders that are meant to be respected AND passed through, in a constant back and forth, connecting each image with the ones around and beyond, intertwining the individual [panel] and the collective [page] in a all-at-once & one-with-everything unique experience. Little Muay gets a bit hurt at the end of the page, and that might be another lesson; comics’ scaffolding composition is no easy feat.
Thank you dear Lychee for this great page; it means a lot to me. Keep crossing borders, from Thailand to Belgium, from each panel to the others! A. Nicolas
The graphic narratives produced by my Thai [and exchange] students were inventive and striking, as some explored not only the COVID-19 crisis but addressed social and political issues in a straightforward way, revealing Thailand’s traumatic decades made of military coups and bloody crackdowns. I guess the assignment came timely, capturing the frustrations of a new generation of young adults, revealing visually the overburduning and endless cycle of coups and sociopolitical struggles. With my students and with Richard McGuire’s approval, we decided to set the assignment as a challenge and invite everyone to take part, as we believe that in these times of self-isolation, it might be interesting to widen the limited and constrained space we now inhabit by exploring it through time.
“Like how does something happen, and… how does it reverberate through time? And that act of memory is important, and comics are great for memory. Like even when you have a short comic, like a three-panel comic, you’ve got a past, a present and a future as soon as you look at those three boxes. And that allows you to reflect and compare times.” (Art Spiegelman, in: Conan, N. (2011). MetaMaus: The Story Behind Spiegelman’s Classic; radio interview, Oct 5)
So here’s the layout that you are free to use [click on the image for larger version], and please add the hashtags #MeanwhileHereComics and/or #การ์ตูนที่นี่ (‘KatunTiNee’ which means “Here Comics” in Thai language) so that we can follow your artworks online.Thank you in advance for joining!
“Time, as cut into minute sausage slices and laid out on the [comics] page in an array from which larger connections and patterns may be sensed, is the cartoonist’s ‘paint’ or ‘clay.’ […] Trying to communicate the hugely incomprehensible yet indescriptibly fine texture of life in little reconstructions sort of mirrors the way we remember it… Really, when one come right down to it, in the end, that’s all we have: our memories!” (Chris Ware, in: Why I Love Comics. The New York Times , 2015)
OUR STUDENTS’ COMICS
#MeanwhileHereComics pages by students of the “Creative Writing Section 11 [Experimental and Fiction Comics Composition]” course. More will be added soon. In the captions below some pages, I’ve introduced links to some local/Thai events referred to in the graphic narratives. PS: I’m proud of my students’ hard and meaningful works. #ProudAjarn
As these “constrained comics” & concept are quite challenging, composition was achieved over a couple of weeks, and with the submission of several drafts commented by yours truly… via the Line app due to current COVID-19 crisis. If you want to spot the differences, and see how every minute detail [from color to fonts or encapsulation] matters in comics composition where “each element is thus: one with everything” (Nick Sousanis in: Unflattening, comics dissertation published by Harvard University Press, 2015).
“More good stuff from [Bangkok], thanks for sharing!” Nick Sousanis (February 9, 2018), assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.
January 2018. Fifty (1st year) Thai students at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) received 2 pages displaying 7 scattered panels (with erased text) taken from various pages of the graphic novel Big Questions by American cartoonist Anders Nilsen. Within 90 minutes, they had to produce additional panels (if necessary) -and add dialogues- in order to bridge the imposed panels and weave a cohesive and convincing graphic narrative. Following brief comments provided on their comprehensive layouts, students finalized the artwork at home. See below for 20+ of their #BiggerQuestions constrained comics.
Inspired by on a constrained comics exercise used atPierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-lab.
CommDe students working on a “exercise in style”… with style!
CommDe student bridging the gaps between Anders Nilsen’s incomplete and scattered panels.
CommDe students bridging the gaps between Anders Nilsen’s incomplete and scattered panels.
Fifty CommDe students bridging the gaps between Anders Nilsen’s incomplete and scattered panels.
BRAIDING: “The way panels (that is the images in the panels) can be linked in series (continuous or discontinuous) through non-narrative correspondences, be it iconic (repetition of certain symbols or elements) or other means. In a way this is a kind of rhyming for comics.” Derik Badman commenting the term introduced by Thierry Groensteen in: Système de la bande dessinée, Presses Universitaires de France, 1999.