16 panel biography, a comic book assignment

Facial expression images from "Making Comics" ~ Scott McCloud 2006
Facial expression images from “Making Comics” ~ Scott McCloud 2006

It’s been almost two years since I participated in Scott McClouds’ comic book workshop, and there are lingering artefacts and ideas which I see and think about all the time. Above is a series of images from Scotts’ book Making Comics which he had printed on 8.5 X 11, and taped up over a window on our 2nd day of class. They show the idea that there are six universal expressions, and that by combining them, you can illustrate the full palette of human emotions.  This idea is dynamically modelled in the interactive project, Grimace. I took this sweet pano on the day of because the light was so good, and still use as my desktop wallpaper on all my computers to this day.

I haven’t delved deep into this book, and for some reason mostly choose NOT to include faces or facial expressions in my visual practice as can be evidenced by the way render most of my characters. ( I will explore that idea later). But I am amazed by how much I have wanted to keep that image present in my life. Another artefact, one that has been on my fridge for the past two years was the result of some homework Scott gave us to draw our entire life history, in a series of 16 panels. This was a terrific assignment, but quite a challenging one in that it makes you dig deep into your personal experience for inspiration. Since the pedagogy of the workshop was critique format in which we hung our works up gallery style and in turns would tell the life story of the person NEXT to our piece, essentially reading out loud an individuals story based on the images that were presented to us. And people presented some very personal and intimate moments. Life, death, abuse, discrimination, tragedy and triumph. There were a few moments it felt almost too personal but it really led to an impactful discussion and Scott handled the critique like the pro that he is.

I’ve wanted to scan these images and share them for awhile now.  People seem to like them posted up on my fridge and I am always talking about them, but perhaps this way will be better to spread the conversation and get more reactions. I used the native wordpress gallery to display them and put a watermark on each image before uploading. As an activity for practicing story telling I could suggest this to anyone. The final piece look like this.

Jason Toal 16 panel biography.
Jason Toal 16 panel biography.


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