Comics - the art of visual designing
Comics an excellent ‘visual art form’
Let me start with a quote from wikipedia that reads as - Outline of visual arts, Art materials, Comics - as an art form established itself in the late 19th and early 20th century, alongside the similar forms of film and animation. Three art forms i.e. conventions, pictures- WIKIPEDIA
Most noticeably the mixing of words & pictures Yellow Kid, created by Richard F. Outcault Comics (A comic photo from wikipedia)
Comics come under the graphic designing of images where these are utilized in a sequence. The impact of the characters depend on how well have these designed and presented that can keep a reader or viewer spell bound and interested. Since almost all, the comics are in a series therefore the artist has to keep the continuity of the scenes and dresses of the characters in mind. That is one of the toughest forms of visual art where an artist has to think 24x7.
Comics on paper are losing their ground
Children find it more interesting to watch cartoon channels whenever they find time or they are allowed to watch but there was a time when cartoon comics used to sell like hot cakes. Children have forgotten about popular stripe books popularly known as comics few examples Spiderman, captain America, ghost writer series, Power man, Flash Gordon, Super car, Giant superman, The twilight zone, Batman, Betty and veronica, Gold key comics, The ghost stories, Monster of film land, Archie, The big series, Wonder woman, Harry Potter etc. All these character had their own ways as per the creators’ imagination. However, one thing was common that it was the ultimate of imagination and creativity was at its peak while the artists worked on them piece by piece. That needed lot of imagination and hard work as well.
If we discuss our own comics, we also have a long list of such characters and every also newspaper and magazine publishing these in never-ending series. The time has changed children do not remember the characters of comics any more but if you ask them about the same available on TV channels you would be amused to see their knowledge about cartoon characters. Look at another very popular cartoon character Mickey mouse that was created almost 84 years before but is still so young and one among all-time famous list.
Mickey mouse was born as ‘Oswald the lucky rabbit’ back in 1928 by Walt Disney. This character used to be round shaped, white colored, big button like nose and big, wide black colored years. This rabbit became instantly successful among all age group of people but a sudden jolt shook Disney brothers’ Universal pictures that forced them to change that popular rabbit in a new avatar. The rabbit had smaller ears with reduced body size though still round in shape. The rabbit almost looked like a rat in its new birth and under a new name ‘Mortimer’ whom every one else liked it but not Lillian Disney, popularly known as Linen who found this name odd. Therefore the name was changed to ‘Mickey mouse’ came to stay with its launch on silver screen. This mouse was speaking and the art of animation was on its greatest form when people heard a cartoon character talking, Walt Disney had provided his own voice to a rat that made history.
Up to 1935, Mickey a rock star but that famous character of Mickey Mouse had a new made over again in the same year while he was recreated in Pear’s shape with smaller eyes and nose and now young animation designer Fred Murray colored him. With characters like Mini, Pluto the doggy, Donald duck and Goofy the comic has given the wonderful promotion to animation art and with his pet dialogues like ‘O Gosh’ Oh boy’ ‘see yah soon’, ‘ouch’ ‘gee’ although there are many more those are as good and famous.
To Indian world of fantasy
Comics designed by famous artists Pran with his witty comics like Shrimatiji, Pinky, Billu and most famous Chacha Choudhary with brain that works faster than a computer and his assistant Sabu the problem solver. Narayan Debnath, Aabid Surti with his unmemorable Dhabbuji, And for Indrajal comics, Anant ‘Uncle’ Pai most famous work ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ presented in 1967 gave a wonderful boost to Indian children for their knowledge and entertainment values. Writer cum illustrator Anupam Sinha have contributed a lot to Indian comics world with their unique creativity. The Indian comic world also benefited a lot with reproduction of The Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, and Rip Kirby in different regional languages with lot of imagination used in translation and reproduction. However, the comics are going off the paper barring a few strips or rare sales in market. The art of comics shifting its scenario toward electronic media full swing with graphic designers replacing artists having paints and brushes.
We have very popular comics in almost all languages
Tantri the mantra, Chhoutu and Lambu, Vikram Bethal,Chota Bheem, Kalia the crow, Tenali Raman or Tenali Ram, Alladin Girl child- Meena’s World, Phantom, Ram, Chacha Chadoury, Chacha Chaudhary, Mowgli the Jungle Book, Hanuman, Panch Pandav, Sri Krishna, Ganesha, Devi, Amar Chitra Katha and the list goes on but the fact remains that there are no more takers. Every one is watching the comics on cartoon channels.
Comics is losing market but not its art form
Actually, the market depends upon demand and supply and this is true about comics as well. If we remember the success of ‘Chhota Bheem’ for its creative and graphic values the difference is clear and for any one to see. As another fact remains that people live in nostalgia for a particular art but they must not forget that the past cannot brought back, what is gone, gone forever. The art never dies only it may change the look. Now graphic designers are trying to reverse the trend by converting popular electronic series into paper comics. Designers like Ishan Khosla can do it. Some times back, I did read William Beachy the famous designer who gave a very detailed description of how to draw and make comics although I did not understand it fully well, not being my niche. However, what I understood by his statement that designers and artists are planning to bring comics back to paper form in big way.
The most important part of comics is its presentation and in this period when the art of comics in paper form is in trouble this is up to the graphic designers to look for the changed trend although the content would always remain an important factor. They shall have to bring back punch lines like ‘The mind of Chacha Choudhary works faster than a computer’. They also need to combine it well with better designing also this is brought in digital format, for the time being under process in America. The examples are there for your ready references. Amar chitra Katha has just published ‘The blue umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond in comics form (If any one wants to know more about it may read about it can see it on goggle or The Hindu dated 23 June 2012 for a detailed report). The credit goes to artist who has designed the book so beautifully.
If the art of comics has to survive, they shall have to find better designers to improve the quality of printing on paper with keeping price tag in mind. As some of the designers already busy in reverse process of bringing, back some of the characters from electronic media to print media. The future of comics is in the hands of graphic designers now as the electronic media is adapting these comics very well. Photo credit wikipedia and self sources
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