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Images Playing off Words

This is a simple exercise based on Scott McCloud’s passage about the interplay of words and pictures – from Understanding Comics. In this example, McCloud shows the different types of pictures that might correspond to a given text — literal/illustrative, non-literal, etc. — in an effort to show the variety of ways for the words and pictures to interact. Also, the images one chooses to go with text can radically alter the stories meaning and point-of view.

In this exercise then, we ask the students to write, in panel borders and words only, a small vignette (a one page, 5 or 6 panel story). The students draw the panel borders and letter the narration. Example: “1. I was sitting alone on the bus. 2. A man who looked like my grandfather stepped on the bus and looked this way…” etc. We then pass it off to another student to draw, encouraging them to be creative and non-literal where they can be.