This week I started the Writing and Drawing Comics E-Course with Summer Pierre. I have never taken an online course before, so I have been amazed at how lively and fun the whole experience has been.
One of the things we focused on this week was working within panels, using the list as our way in.
The great thing about lists is that you can make a list of anything. One of Summer’s suggestions was to make a comic about the things we had seen, so I looked around a little more as I went for a routine neighbourhood walk. I felt like I was looking with fresh eyes. The street was brimming with possibilities!
Depicted in a 9-panel comic, these random sights became a collection of moments that worked together, a window into my day and the world in which I live.
There is something so simple and accessible about a list. Shopping lists and to do lists are practical tools of everyday life. And yet lists also perform a deeper function, creating order out of chaos.
The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order.
– Umberto Eco
In the case of comics, the order that is created takes the form of narrative, however loose it may be.
I usually think of a story first, then attempt to make a comic about it. The exploration with lists has shown me a whole new way of creating stories; by simply placing things into a grid of panels, connections are made and a narrative is formed. Voila!
After looking at small moments in a single day, it was fun to consider huge areas of my life so far and distil them into a list. For example, 9 jobs I’ve had. It felt strangely satisfying to create a narrative out of what has felt like a rather chaotic and haphazard journey.