Scott McCloud in Chile
First of all, I love how Chile is growing and expanding cultural boundaries lately. There’s a lot of work still to improve, but hey, I’ve just came from 3 conferences of Comics Scholar Scott McCloud.
Diego Portales University – the one I studied Industrial Design back in 1996 – held the 2nd Lecturas de Juventud Symposium in the Nicanor Parra library. The main course is reading in youth and its sociological studies and the main guest was comics scholar Scott McCloud. Imagine all my comic book pro’s comrades and me struggling to get any of the few invitations to the event. I lost hope last week but at the very last moment, my former 2Cy1M partner and writer German Valenzuela offered me his spot in the event.
Scott McCloud just gave his lecture a few hours back and I am here sitting in front of my computer putting my ideas in track to be able to process all the info.
I am not a specially wise guy. I have certain trouble expressing myself from ideas to words and not mumble during the process… I really feel that I gain more comfort writing even in english than discussing a point so , for my poor little brain, McCould lecture was literally mind-blowing.
To speak about comics is one thing to me. I am a literal guy. Speaking about the basics in comics, panels, in between panels, communication dynamics, the core analysis is really another to me. So, after 3 lectures (I mean, the main conference, a second one for a small group that was really a chat between a poet and a sociologist with Mccloud and a even smaller third one, held at the UDP’s US Embassy American Corner, which was actually a Q&A) I will put my two cents here about what I think I learned and let’s see what it happens from here.
First of all, I’ve been attended several TED-like conferences, from distant points like sales and marketing to one about that book and movie called The Secret (that one time I felt I was almost blackmailed) and let me tell you. There’s no one batter on the conference-stage abilities than the americans. Their conferences entertains, teaches and surprises to the audience at the same time)
Well. At the very first conference, Scott spoke about the dynamics of comics. What you really see in his two groundbreaking books: Understanding Comics and the one I adopted as a bible, Making Comics appears here. Comics is a form of communication that lives with us since the dawn of times, but it has its own narrative and language structure that is really a power tool for educational purposes, teaching about what is happening in the panels with the mark of time in between them. That’s the ability of comics: To form a message from drawings that allows to tell a story that takes place in a specific time and space with a rhythm that is able to understand for the viewer. A pace that is universal and timeless at the same time.
On the other hand and this took my mind for a walk: I’ve been always been a traditional at everything. I like to read printed comics, I like traditional inking rather than digital inking (despite the fact the latter is getting more points now for me). Digital comics, digital art forms and digital comic structures are not “the enemy” as one time thought. Nope, they are a way to think and express outside the box and show to the world different ways of telling stories. Examples shown as a new form of making comics in the digital era made my mind to start evaluating the innovation in my career.
The next step on comics is to endure woman’s presence in the media: Both artists and content. In maybe 10 years the amount of girls reading comics should be 50-50 the same amount of men/boys. That’s something that can drive your interests and content process making. On the other hand, child comics and kid illustration books are rarely a undiscovered field of work that will be a great way to introduce kids to comics, to promote reading abilities techniques in schools and separate the underrated profile comics had been throughout the years and make its own pace.
At the third conference, we spoke about politics in the two big publishers. The DC-Republican / Marvel-Democrat urban legend is nothing I thought it was. The main core of those big publishers is to address non political issues, like sexism – or the bad cases of women sexualization in comics.
And with this I really believe I am loosing a bunch of information. If my brain is able to remind more info I’ll share it with you.
In my case: I got the possibility to speak briefly with him about comics, the freelance workforce in american comics and the real situation of specialization fields like – in my case – inkers. His words were encouraging but real. There’s not so many reasons to keep dividing the comic storytelling process, since all is drawing. Keep trying new things, experiment and try to find that “maybe I have one or two stories to tell”.
inking is a tech job. No, no, I know it’s an artistic-driven job, but despite that job offers are really really decreasing everywhere at inker’s early work stages then the more technically skilled and tool experimented you are the more chances to get good gigs you have. Really. But the role of the inker in the comic book process is more like a tech job that supplies a service and that can make you think that you are in a crossroad: To evolve and become a better and more skilled inker or increase my field of work, experiment with the whole story-telling process, but not taking the best out of me.
Maybe the answer is to think and create outside the panel.