Design in action

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (@HassanOE) has been doing some brilliant analyses of comic book illustration and design in his series Strip Panel Naked. He takes us through the details of how comic book pages work, looking at the impact of the various elements, explaining the visual and psychological effects, and doing it with an infectious level of enthusiasm.

While he talks about various elements in his series, I see it all as design. It’s all planned, deliberate decision making to achieve a desired goal, whether in the layout, coloring, dialogue or whatever. I think Hassan’s work first came to my attention when I stumbled across his analysis of a James Bond page. It’s a simple page, but a great opening, and we can see how the lines of writing, lines of sight and lines of architecture all work in concert to lead us through the action. One thing that fascinates me about this write up is the inclusion of the original script. We can see how the author was designing the scene in his head. I find the use of all caps in the script interesting. It’s as if the author thinks in comic book dialogue, so he has to provide melodramatic emphasis even in his description of the scene.

In the video below, he gives a detailed analysis of several pages of a Black Widow book, showing how the action moves through the pages and also from one page to the next. He also goes into the mechanics of the design, showing how the different elements move the action and control our eyes and sense of time.

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