Emotion in a single image

23 Oct

There is a question that artists have pondered for a long time that is how do you perceive emotion or sensory information through an image or icon? As McCloud states, “the idea that a picture can evoke an emotional or sensual response in the viewer is vital to the art of comics” as “the invisible world of senses and emotions can also be portrayed either between or within panels” (121). The best way that this can be accomplished is through an idea known as “synaesthetics” or a technique that “unite(s) the different artforms which appealed to those different senses” (123). Examples of this can include the way lines are drawn, what shapes are used, and how easy it is to tell what the background truly is. As McCloud states, “If pictures can, through their rendering, represent invisible concerns such as emotions and the other senses then the distinction between pictures and other types of icons like language which specialize in the invisible may seem a bit blurry. In fact, what we’re seeing in the living lines of these pictures is the primordial stuff from which a formalized language can evolve!” (127). As opposed to intensity, these lines and shapes should be used more often in order to evoke an emotional and sensory response from the reader.

What this means is that when an opportunity presents itself, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, if it fits the story in an appropriate way then a few lines and sound effects should be used in a comic to evoke this feeling. The reason being that it will allow for greater ability to relate from the reader and a better understanding of the world that the characters inhabit. If the author or artist can allow for a reader to get a better experience and immersion into the world of the story, why shouldn’t they? Readers ultimately get more out of it and enjoy the story more, and the writer and artist will have a greater appreciation of their work. This could also apply to character design by careful application of lines in their facial structure like rounded lines and big, emotional eyes to convey a sense of childishness. After a while, it becomes evident how much something so simple as a line can enhance a reading experience.

Works Cited

McCloud, John. “Chapter Five: Living In-Line”. P. 118-135.

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