Archive for ‘Visual Communication’


Well, in my case, GET, ’cause they already offered us a set, making this a thoroughly tainted recommendation.

But… but… Dude, this looks so cool! So does the app. Very story-machine-ish.

Issue Maps!

Here’s another fun one to throw into the “Is it Comics?” basket: illustrated issue maps like this one.

An easy “no” in cases where it’s just words (like in this classic from Mr. F) but a more interesting question when the pictures do more of the talking.

If you go far enough, would it start to look a little more like this?

[Thanks to Dafna from Carnegie Mellon for reminding me of these crazy, wonderful charts]

Cartoonists: You Can Do This!

If you can write and draw comics, you can give a great presentation.

Presentation software is incredibly easy to learn. Pick good pictures and some stories to go with them and you’re set. If you’re a little shy, just read one of your comics; maybe one or two panels per slide.

Dave McKean isn’t Steve Jobs or anything in the above video. But compared to 99% of all presenters, he’s mesmerizing. Why? Because his work speaks for itself. And Dave has lots and lots of cool pictures and stories to share.

Pictures blow bulleted lists out of the water, and cartoonist know pictures. Why don’t more of us do this?

Drawing your Attention to Drawing your Attention

Great post by Aaron Diaz on Focal Points.

[via several people, including Kate Beaton, but I think the first was an email from Spencer Greenwood]

Cause and Effect

Ed Piskor offers a great round-up of that peculiar comics phenomenon: the single panel in which an action and its consequences/reactions share the same visual instant.

[via BoingBoing via Mike Fortress]

Friday Odds and Ends

Not comics, but everybody keeps sending me I am Sitting in a Video Room (be sure to watch the other 999!) and this recent news piece on “the writer who couldn’t read” on the assumption that I’d find them interesting—which I did, so here they are.

Via Spurge, his annual Comic-Con Survival Guide and an awesome Jack Kirby Quote.

Finally, here are some nice immersive comics pages from concept artist Justin coro Kaufman.

So, yeah… truly random, but there you go. Go back to playing Angry Birds and enjoy the weekend!

Spiegelman was Right! (again)

Running late this morning, so just time for a quick one.

Paul Laroquod points to an interesting Scientific American article about the history, influence, and value of simplified line art and its relatives. Along the way, they point out a correlation between great line artists and lazy eyes.

Art Spiegelman has been saying for years that his own impaired vision in one eye probably influenced his own 2-D world of comics and art, but I doubt he ever expected science to back him up.

Time and Again by Jacques Khouri

Here’s an elegant variation on some spatial ideas that’ll be familiar to regular readers (at least the theory nerds among you).

I liked it a lot. You might too.

Thanks to Rachelle for the pointer.

Can’t… Stop… Watching…

One of the things I love about this cheerfully insane page is that but for the load times, this is something that could have been approximated with software dating back to the early nineties.

We sometimes neglect the fact that when we graduate from one generation of technologies to the next, that doesn’t mean we’ve exhausted the creative possibilities of the previous ones. The advent of CSS or PHP didn’t negate the inventiveness of something like this brain-scrambling oldie, for example, it just opened the door to new shenanigans.

Creativity is backwards compatible!

[link via... um, I don't know! Who told me about this??]

[Oh WAIT! Chuck in the comments points out that the same artist has a Webcomic! THAT'S probably what led me there. Definitely check out this equally long-loading but nevertheless great comic!]

What Learning Looks Like

Pictures Work.

When I took on the Google Chrome comic, one of the lures of the job was a chance to use a bully pulpit to show how simple pictures could make complex ideas understandable and memorable. My medium was comics of course—and comics have some unique advantages in this regard—but others have been doing impressive work in animation along the same lines (this, for example).

The trick in either comics or animation is to embody your ideas rather than sugarcoat them; to make plain, through images, the patterns and concepts you see clearly in your head, secure in the knowledge that even the most byzantine, advanced, jargon-laced topic probably rests on a few fat visual metaphors almost anyone can grok with a little explanation.

Treading a middle ground between static and moving images is this 10-minute video featuring Jeremy Rifkin and drawn/animated by the smart folks at Cognitive Media* for The RSA. It’s a joy to watch and it made me wonder how much better the learning experience in school settings could be if they incorporated even a fraction of the enthusiasm and visual lucidity on display here (albeit, sped up to a superhuman degree).

More videos in the RSAanimate series can be found here.

I don’t use the word “revolutionary” lightly—well, okay, maybe I do—but the trend toward visualizing information in education (in combination with a growth in visual literacy) is a genuine opportunity for a revolution we desperately need.

*Thanks to Austin in the comments thread for identifying Cognitive and dropping them a line. It turns out that I’ve actually met Cognitive’s Andrew Park, when he sat in on my workshop at MCAD a few years back. Small world!

[And thanks to Jared Finkelstein for first pointing out the video]