Pictures and Stories Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :


The aim of my project was to create a short story, which combines the textual elements of fiction, plus illustrations ranging from digital photographs to illustrations. My goal was to be experimental and to satisfy a need that has not been done before. I was frustrated by the fact that there are hardly any fictional works that combine both text and picture and illustrations aimed at the adult audience. Currently, the majority of books that incorporate pictures are made for and marketed to children. The major influences on this project include works by filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Chris Marker, comic book authors Alan Moore, Steve Niles, Elman Brown, Drew Hayes, Neil Gaiman and Dave Keanes.

The Park is a narrated story told through text and graphic images. The viewpoint of the story is told as if the reader were an invisible observer in the world of the two characters. When reading the story, the reader gets the feeling that they are intended to be part of this world but are not a factor in it. The Park, opens and ends in a park with both characters undergoing a spiritual transformation in the middle.

Introduction to Pictorial Storytelling (I think that best describes your project)

The human imagination has given been given the unique gift of communicating abstract concepts and ideas to each other through story telling. All forms of story telling, written, illustrated or spoken, have given the narrator or author the power to enter people's minds with their ideas. One major form of story telling throughout history has been through the use of pictures. The early uses of pictorial story telling were applied though the cave drawings

Drawing uses a kind of universal language. It is easy to understand that drawing is perhaps the most fundamental of the visual arts and is closely related to all the others. Writing itself is simply the drawing of letters, which are symbols for sounds. Although drawings differ in quality, they have a common purpose -- to give visible form to an idea and the artist's feeling about it. As an art form, drawing is the translation of the idea and the emotion into a form that can be seen and felt by others.

One example of this personal feeling is clearly seen Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's brown-wash drawing "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt." This drawing shows the artist's light-hearted approach to the serious subject of religion. In contrast is the wash drawing 'Interior', by Fernand Leger, a French artist of the 20th century. Leger created drawings with technical precision and was a follower of the cubist school. Leger used his style to break down objects and reassemble them in his own way to get the effect he wanted.

The different types of drawing significant to my research and inspiration are line drawing, form drawing, animation and cartoon/comic book drawing and graphic art. Line drawing is the simplest technical approach to drawing. As indicated by the name, line drawing is usually expressed by line only. There is no attempt to distinguish and contrast between light and dark. Line drawing was mostly used in Asian, Egyptian, and early Greek art, and its influence can be traced through Byzantine and medieval work, particularly where the Asian influence was strong.

Form drawing can be shown in a drawing with a series of lines or crossing lines in many different directions. Such lines, together with sharply accented highlights, have been used by artists such as Rembrandt. It is important to note however that most artists have used combinations of line and form techniques. Comic strips and political drawings in newspapers are called cartoons. One application of a cartoon is a caricature, this form exaggerates a situation or a person's characteristics, usually for purposes of satire. This form has been used as powerful weapon in the political arena. There are many famous caricaturists, such as Sir John Tenniel and Thomas Nast, who have embraced this genre.

The oldest drawings of which there is any record are those on the walls of caves.

Ancient Egyptian writing developed from drawings that represented objects and events. Each picture symbol, which included birds, fruit, and flower forms, was drawn in outline, and in sharp contrast to the realistic drawings of the cave dwellers. These early storytellers told of great encounters they had with animals and other tribes. The early artists tried to tell their stories by painting pictures on the cave walls or rocks and told of encounters with their ancestors. Anything they did not understand they rationalized with a fabricated story. This is perhaps the beginning of the fiction genre.

The art of writing and the development of the written language changed the way people communicated stories. Early applications combined illustration with written language but as language capabilities became more advanced, the use of pictures to tell a story declined for adult audiences. The use of language allowed the reader to use their imagination in a different way than with previous pictorial storytelling. Through the use of text, readers were able to take the story and make the details their own. The use of illustrations and pictures in children's literature is still a predominantly accepted form as an attempt to aid a young reader in understanding the relationship between the visual picture and the written description.

The use of pictures in adult literature has declined for two reasons; first the literary community contends that the purpose of writing is to provide the reader with the idea and then allow him or her the license to create their own image. The second reason is monetary. The costs associated with publishing novels that incorporate illustrations, colour photographs, or drawings is considerably higher than one with just plain text. These illustrations not only contribute to const in ink, labour and various other productions costs, but also increase the page count of the works. In order to keep costs down and include illustrations, many publishing houses feel that the quality of the novel may suffer.

Despite this, I believe there is an audience for everything and I intend to produce quality work that satisfies my creativity and interests. After all, prior to Picasso, the cubist form of visual art was non-existent but the world thanks him for pursuing it. I knew that finding something I could compare my work to was going to be a very long search. So instead, I just decided to take ideas from images in literature that combined art and fiction, and like a jigsaw puzzle, fit them together. I am aware of all negative sides of incorporating pictures in stories and was initially concerned that pictures can conflict with what the reader has imagined. If the picture isn't good representation of the text, it runs the risk of ruining the reader's experience. Still in the end, my decision was to move forward after I saw the benefits of pictures in graphic novels. From the beginning, this project was for my benefit, for my personal use. It was a challenge to explore the outer edges of my own limitations and possibilities.

The Idea and its Influences have always been drawn to the illustrations in children's picture books, and have secretly hoped that one day such illustrations would emerge in novels or short stories. My search for illustrated works that are geared toward adult readers led to me to explore comic books and graphic novels. These genres are targeted at adults as well as children. Through my exploration, I was swept away by the variety of artwork they contained, and the wide range of subjects they covered, from death to eroticism. But once the initial visual fascination with the artwork began to wear away, I began to feel as though there was something lacking from.

A soon realised that it had something to do with the writing style. The written descriptions often do not adequately describe the visual pictures. One of the beautiful assets of a great novel is its ability to paint a picture through the use of words. The idea of writing a story through both the use of pictures and words both fascinated and challenged me. Through my exploration, I found that two aspects of the story inspired me the mos. The first is the structure of the work, the balance between the written text and the visual illustration, and the second is the thematic content.

After watching Chris Marker's short film La Jette, which is made almost entirely of still black and white images, I decided that my story would utilise the use photographs. I was encouraged even more when I discovered that this film had been adapted into a book. It was just like watching the film again, except that this time there was no voice over narration - the narrative was on the page, and the photographs were on the page! My goal, after seeing both representations of La Jette, was to use not only photographs, but also to incorporate a writing similar style…

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