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What non-comic artists can do to achieve amplification through simplification

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 9 months ago

So let me guess. You read McCloud's Understanding Comics and your saying to yourself, "this is great and all but what practicable use is it to me? I'm not an Comic or an artist in general!" Many ways friend. For instance, take McCloud's, "amplification through simplification." He defines "amplification through simplification" by using icons and words as examples and in turn flips it around to define icons and words via "amplification through simplification!"


McCloud asserts that the more simplistic either a word or an drawing (icon) is the more perception it demands of the reader. In demanding further perception the reader than has a tendancy to identify with the icon or word. For example consider this statement, "the bullet permeated his jacket making a resounding thud that echoed throughout the room and he slowly slid to the floor lifeless." Now consider this remix through "amplification through simplification," "BANG! He dropped to the floor dead." This is the literary equivalent to a drawing of a face that is just a circle and some lines. Which statement come more fluidly to you? Which was more action packed? The simplified one of course. "Amplification through simplification" is a very useful tool when writing if the author wants the reader to feel the full force of the emotion he is trying to convey.


McCloud's work can be absorbed two ways, either litterally or subjectively. If take what he is saying and apply it exclusively in the way he presents it then you are cheating yourself. His ideas do not apply not to just Comics but to writing and to conveying messages as a whole. I will close this essay with a story. Many moons ago when I was in Boot-Camp there was a huge push from the civilian world to stay the use of profanity in Boot-Camp. On our first day my Drill Instructor denounced the idea by saying, "Civilians are right, profanity is not quality leadership. It is however, effective leadership. What is going to get you out bed on ship faster? Um, dude there is some smoke coming from the Engineering Compartments and people are running around so do you think you can get up and help me save the ship? OR, Get your ass up! There is a F***ing FIRE!" Is that not a spoken "amplification through simplification?" Absolutely.

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