Monday, September 03, 2007

Keeping the whole story in front of you

For a long time I've had a challenge being able to see the whole story at once, and think about it as a whole, rather than sequentially. This is my latest effort: iconic cartooning. The idea is a simple cartoon that captures the essence of a scene or event. No words are allowed. It is made with symbols of import to the author, with little need for representation.

The clip shown at left is from an early chapter in this story. I apologize for the poor rendering. It covers the journey to the colony ark, and some first events. In the top square, we see a figure with a star on the back of his head and another with flyaway hair. These symbolize Jonah and Mischief, respectively. Mischief is smiling animatedly, Jonah looking away. Heat waves off his head mean he is angry, she irritates him with her cheeriness.

In the second frame are three characters, Mischief with her flyaway hair, then another with curly hair (Avery) and one with dark glasses and a badge (security officer). The security officer strikes Avery with a stun wand that shocks him.

These two little squares describe a scene in which Mischief meets Jonah on the shuttle, and he is rude and spurns her. She moves to sit next to Avery, who is suddenly set upon by security, stunned, and removed from the shuttle, not to be seen again.

The remaining three frames show Mischief trying to make up again with Jonah in the cafeteria, and then Mischief asking the chaplain for news of Avery, where the chaplain warns her that security is watching.

The advantage of the visual format is I don't have to read it, I just have to see it. Moreover, I don't have to think up the right words. I just draw the Mischief icon with a goofy smile and her hand up and I have the feeling of what she is saying without writing it. Seems to be working.