Friday night’s lecture at Irvine Valley College’s Performing Arts Center was both enlightening and entertaining as Scott McCloud, the most recent guest speaker for IVC’s Distinguished Academic Lecture series, dove into the subject of the importance of visual communication and the expansion of that communication with technology.
McCloud presented in front of a packed audience, using a PowerPoint-type visual aid, containing well over 400 slides. The images on the slides ranged from comic excerpts, to simple animations, to video clips, and there was never a dull moment during the hour long talk.
While the topic being addressed was seemingly complex in nature, McCloud conveyed to the audience the importance of using images to improve understanding of normally complicated messages. From government information to graphic novels, McCloud stressed on the importance that visual communications holds in sharing information with a vast amount of people. 90 percent of a story is held in the artwork of a graphic novel or comic. McCloud used examples of comics without text to show that you do not need words in order to tell a story.
He goes on to urge artists to make any digital space their place of creativity and design. In the digital world, there are no boundaries. The idea that most artists and content designers are applying the “shape of the previous technology as the content of the new technology” is absurd to McCloud. The monitor is a window with which to view the vastness of universe behind the screen, but it is not the limiting barrier to which the content may be constricted to.
McCloud has given numerous talks all over the world in the past twenty years since his first book, “Understanding Comics”, was released. He has spent his life analyzing why comics exist the way they are, how they are able to connect with a vast array of people over the centuries, and what the potential holds for comics in the future with the expansion of technology.
He prefers digital creation of art over the more “old school” act of drawing everything out on paper. With the use of tablets, Photoshop, and online publishing, he has been able to efficiently distribute his art and stories at a fast rate.
It is somewhat ironic that his next book is going to be released sometime next year in physical book form.
Many of the audience members were impressed and highly entertained by McCloud’s talk. One student, Joanna Carlos, 19, communications, said, “I’ve always been interested in this kind of thing.” She went on to say, “I like seeing how different people communicate and how effective or ineffective it is and how to fix that. And then how not to make that mistake myself.”
Other students were so spellbound by McCloud’s lecture that they were simply at a loss for words. Cody Martin, 19, physical therapy, said, “Yeah, that was pretty cool.”
To see for yourself the interesting dynamics of McCloud’s research and understanding, visit scottmccloud.com or watch his TED talk at ted.com/talk/scott_mccloud_on_comics.html.