Scott McCloud Shared Visual Communication Ideas on Oct. 10th

Educators were busy teaching and learning across the district Monday and Tuesday. Many were eager to hear from author and artist Scott McCloud. Scott is the author of the recently released graphic novel The Sculptor, as well as numerous other fiction, nonfiction, print and webcomic titles such as Understanding Comics and the Google Chrome comic. He is currently at work on another top-secret Google Project about an unnamed not-so-top-secret product. You can find (and participate in) his “inventions” on social media, such as the challenge he and another artist participated in called the 24 Hour Comic. 27 years later, the 24 Hour Comic Day, which started in 2005 and you can find on Twitter at #24HCD has been embraced by “thousands of participants who have created tens of thousands of pages of original art.”

Scott shared his visual lecture called “Comics and the Art of Visual Communication,” what he describes as an “intersection of comics, cartooning, and the broader world of communicating and learning through images.” It is a whirlwind presentation that takes presumptions and conventions, and turns them on their head. The 200+ slides showed the power of cartoons, comics, memes, and other modes of visual communication, with insight and humor. A highlight was an analysis of the negative connotations of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization, look out visual criminals!) symbol for wheelchair access. He describes cartoons and comics in the simplest of terms: amplification through simplification. From Peanuts to Infographics, clear and consistent communication is key for visual literacy. His passion for visual communication is evident in his command of a multitude of visual forms, from ancient pictographs and hieroglyphics, to the visual literacy (and illiteracy) of airplane safety cards and hotel safety signs.

There is no doubt that literature and other conventional art forms can shape ourselves and our world, and comics have that power, too. Comics are often seen as an escape for its readers and fans, but Scott McCloud argues that comics should be viewed as an equal of literature, film and music. His flair for the dramatic and passion for comics, cartoons and the visual ephemera, are contagious. With a range of topics from the “unique power of cartoons, comics as ‘writing with pictures,’ facial expressions and body language,” he helped educators get a better understanding of visual communication as an art and a building block of literacy.