CRWT30240 Making Comics

Academic Year 2023/2024

Cartoonist and comics theorist Scott McCloud defines comics as “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.”

This module will examine comics as a storytelling medium in terms of its formal and aesthetic potential through a study of comics produced over the last fifty years in America, Europe, and Japan.

Key topics will include plotting; the language of comics scripts; panel design and layout; thumbnailing pages; establishing shots; panel-to-panel flow and pacing; transition devices; gutters; creating the illusion of time; lettering and sound effects; spotting blacks and lighting; colour theory; print and/or online comics; and self-publishing.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this module will be able to:

Identify the formal features of the comics medium;

Outline the process of comics production from plot to page;

Appreciate the work of a diverse range of comics creators from across the world;

Evaluate successful versus unsuccessful storytelling strategies in comics;

Produce either an illustrated comics story or script for an artist to draw.

Indicative Module Content:

Key topics will include plotting; the language of comics scripts; panel design and layout; thumbnailing pages; establishing shots; panel-to-panel flow and pacing; transition devices; gutters; creating the illusion of time; lettering and sound effects; spotting blacks and lighting; colour theory; print and/or online comics; and self-publishing.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Lectures

20

Specified Learning Activities

60

Autonomous Student Learning

120

Total

200

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Classes will consist of a 45-minute presentation on aspects of comics theory, craft, and practice, with the rest of the class devoted to task-based learning, which will be divided into 20 minutes of structured/controlled practice, and conclude with 25 minutes of free practice.

The presentation will be tied to set readings of theory, craft, and/or practice that students must complete in advance of the class. For example, if the presentation is about lettering, then the readings will be about lettering in, for instance, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics as well as an example in practice from, for instance, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg.

The structured/controlled practice will consist of an in-class exercise or task related to the general topic of the presentation. For example, if the topic is layout and pacing on the comics page, then the task will relate to that.

The free practice section of the class will allow students to use their own creativity to develop an aspect of the craft of comics relating back to the main topic of the day. For example, again, if that topic is pacing, then this part of the class will be an opportunity for the student to develop some aspect of pacing in practice. Note, after the first couple of classes, this section of the class will naturally fold into preparation for the midterm and, in due course, the final assignment.
 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Final assignment: 70%

1) 750-word account of the formal devices and strategies employed in producing 2) a script for a 5 to 6-page comics story, or an illustrated 5 to 6-page comics story.
Unspecified n/a Graded No

70

No
Continuous Assessment: Midterm assignment: 30%

Portfolio containing two pieces: 1) 750-word critical analysis of a short comics story ; 2) a plot treatment or thumbnails for a 5-page comics story.
Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No

30

No

Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided in individual consultation for the midterm assignment. There will be consultations available in advance of the final assignment.