Spatial poetics: control of time and space in graphic narratives

Dodds, Nick ORCID logo ORCID: (2013) Spatial poetics: control of time and space in graphic narratives. Varoom (2). pp. 41-50.

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Deceptively simple on the surface, under close analysis the comic strip page is something of a paradox, a complex and multi-layered structure. For the artist, the formative layout of a graphic narrative is both a conceptual and spatial activity, involving a high degree of reasoning in the selection and placement of any textual and visual elements. In reception, the effectiveness of any narrative depends on the readiness of the reader to recognize, synthesize and decode the linguistic and visual information at hand, in short: to navigate spatial relationships and make meaningful connections between one panel and the next in the strip sequence. For this reason, graphic narratives offer up tremendous potential for textual analysis: for studying at close quarters issues pertaining to spatial design, visual literacy and the breach between expression and readership. This paper will address the formal and spatial apparatus of the printed comic book from a predominately western perspective, with reference to selected American and European theorists and practitioners, focusing on i) page composition and spatial orientation, ii) the dynamic between text and image, iii) the utilization of panels as temporal markers and iv) connoting a sense of socio-geographical setting.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Varoom
Publisher: Association of Illustrators (AOI)
ISSN: 2052-1820
Related URL(s):
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Graphics and Photography
Additional Information: Varoom!Lab Journal is an international research project that fosters research activity within the subject of illustration. This collaborative network of researchers and practitioners aims to be a catalyst for innovation in illustration in the 21st Century and to expand knowledge and understanding of the subject. Varoom!Lab Two contains papers submitted and peer reviewed for the Swansea Metropolitan University/VaroomLab Spatialising Illustration symposium held at Swansea on 24/25 January 2013 (see The symposium explored the ways in which we encounter space and place through illustration, roaming beyond seeing illustration solely as a commercial discipline and exploring it as a visual language inherent in many artistic activities: a medium that evokes ideas and narrative, and one that offers subtle messages about worlds we encounter.
Depositing User: Nick Dodds
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2018 11:19
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 12:01


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