Nov 13, 2018 in Education

Comics: From Child Play to Art

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Comics have evolved and greatly developed over just a couple of decades. After a long period, the art of comics has finally come to a point whereby it has been in a position to receive full acceptance as an important art form on its own right (Beaty 2012). It has proved to be a source of pleasures for many individuals. Comic arts have also served as a source of inspiration to people all over the world. That is not forgetting it as powerful tool for relaying information. Think of advertisement that uses comic art as a way of enticing customers on social media, local television and newspapers among others. In the broad sense of the word, comic art has transformed the way people live in contemporary society. This paper will provide clear discussion in support of the fact that comic art has evolved and that can be traced back to children’s works of paints, papers, walls and pencils among many others items such that current artists have been developing their works from such ideas presented by children in the past.

Evolution of Comic Art

Comic art is said to have its origin in the activities that children involve themselves in their daily lives. When the toddlers play around with objects like paints, pencils, papers and/or house walls, they come up with a sense of art without knowing they do so (Morton 2012). To them, those are just routine activities that assist them to pass time and make their small hands and minds busy. However, from an artist’s point of view their activities have a crucial role in promoting the field of art (Jenkins 2013). Prior research done in order to establish what children thought when they engaged in drawing and painting has suggested that the toddlers had a clear idea of what they were doing. For them, game served as a way of expressing their creativeness (Bratton, Taylor & Akay 2013). As a result, many artists have taken the advantage by closely observing those activities children engage in while they play around, in attempts to come up with one of the most thrilling arts of the century.

Ruth Oosterman in her article, “Artist Turns her 2-Year-Old’s Sketches into Painting”, confirms an era where children’s activities are no longer to be ignored. Oosterman talks of an artist who had been observing her two years old daughter who is interested in painting. The girl was so passionate about painting that she cannot afford to set a step away from her father whenever he was painting (McCormack 2013). As a way of expressing her ability about the same, the little girl resorts to drawing sketches. To an average person these sketches might appear meaningless and worth nothing but to be thrown into a dust bin, but to the artist, the sketches bear an important message that expresses the girl’s innovativeness about arts. In fact, the artist talks of forming collaboration in drawing with her daughter (Dalley 2013). That is, she takes her daughter as a fellow colleague where they are supposed to assist each other in the field of arts. Whenever her two years old daughter would make a sketch using ink , the artist would take that sketch as a source of inspiration. This example illustrates that artists might engage themselves in artistic activities since the time they are toddlers.

Similarly, an online article by Rachel Clun titled “A Dutch Artist Turns his Childhood Drawings into Art”, reinforces the case presented by Oosterman. Clun presents the Dutch artist as one who uses his child drawings when at the age of four years to come up with real and appealing photos later as a grown up. Using the outlines of the sketches that he made when he was little, the Dutch comes up with several photos that bring him a lot of money. When interviewed, the artist stated that, his child activities have made him the man he was at that time. Nothing but passion and interest to become an artist in the future, made him come with sketches. He goes on to say that whenever he was in search of a subject to paint, he resorted to collaborating with little children and keenly observed their drawing activities as they poured their creative minds on the paper.

A good example that traces the source and origin of an advanced form of comic art is when a genius artist turns kid’s drawings into high definition images. According to an article, “Genius Artist Turns Kids’ Drawings into 3-D figures”, the genius was in a position to come up with fourteen animated figures from the drawings and sketches made by kids. Most of these 3-D figures were animals, though not real but pertaining characteristics possessed by real ones (Clarke 2012). These animated figures also produced voices and sound as they moved on the screen. That was a great achievement in the field of arts for the genius to have been in a position to come up with something different. That was especially when he came up with something that incorporated voice and expressed feeling as opposed to prior artistic work that could only provide motionless pictures on a piece of paper. In addition, Mom Me Staff, when interviewed, showed to have always been in a lot of anxiety since he had been a child to design human like figures that moved on a screen with a synchronized voice. That is, he had the anxiety to see the human like figures created talk like a real human beings and express feelings. (Thawonmas & Tani 2011). The reason that motivated him to devote much of his time to observe keenly the drawings and sketches made by kids and converting them into a 3-D experience appearing on a computer monitor using his detailed knowledge in computer designs. That was an immense achievement that marked a turning point for innovations in the field of arts. Thanks to this genius today people can experience comic arts on TV screens and computer monitors contrary to a period before this innovation when one could only have a thrill of this art from images painted on paper.

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The Kind of Comics of Art Today

Motivated by the great yearn and anxiety, the field of comics has significantly broadened in the 20th and the 21st centuries. That can be attributed to the fact that people have become highly innovative. Instances of advanced technology have contributed to this development considering that the technology has made it easy for people to produce different types of comics (Das & Suganthan 2011). The following are the kinds of comic present today:

Cartoons shown on TV present the advancements in technology. Comics have also greatly advanced due to incorporating the heroes of movies and TV programs. The target of this comic is to serve as a way of spending leisure time (Siegel & Johns 2013). The target group to receive entertainment through this form of comics are young people below twelve years. Apart from purely entertainment, many programs serve as as source of education. The most popular programs include: Tom and Jerry, Batman, Spider Man, Hulk, and Flash just to mention but a few. The comics can also be watched online where one can stream on YouTube (Duffy & Jennings 2010).

Another form of comics created generally for entertainment consists of video games for PCs, mobile phones and play stations. The entertainment does not have any target group but is common among the youths. It is mostly played using pads connected to the device containing the game. As a result of being so popular, the comics are used for commercial purposes especially in play stations (PS). The type of games varies depending on the type of interface used for playing. The games designed to play on PCs differ greatly from those for mobile phones. Games used as a form of business are known to provide a great thrill of entertainment especially if they contain high standards interface to enable one experience as if he really participates in that particular game. A good example is when individuals take part in playing games such as controlling an airplane or a vehicle. The most popular games include: FIFA, X-Men and Spider Man.

The type of comics found in newspapers and magazines is frequently presented the form of photographs, images and texts. A good example is comic strips that include sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels displaying brief humour or narratives most probably serialized with text balloons and captions. The texts in newspaper and magazines incorporate a variety of text font characteristics. Traditionally, they only consisted of horizontal text strips with black and white font colour. However, with the current technology, texts appears in different font colours aiming trying to provide the exact picture of what is happening in the plot. They are mostly used as a channel of delivering news and information to people within a certain locality. Most probably, they become a good medium for advertisement of job vacancies, school admissions and promotion of product sale especially by companies. Magazines are often used to reveal information and/or knowledge about a particular topic such as leisure, lifestyle, health and fitness, exercises, entertainment, marriage among others (Landreth 2013). They are issued at certain duration of time, for example on monthly or weekly basis and include only a number of pages convenient for carrying them. Distribution of magazines is done by Newspaper vendors.

Gag cartoons is another example that adds up to the list of modern comics. That type of comic involves the use of single-panel cartoon with a hand-lettered caption beneath the drawing. In other cases the cartoons may not have the caption but instead incorporate speech balloons. Their intention is to provoke laughter, they are mostly featured in magazines such as Punch, The New Yorker, and Playboy. Other publications such as Humouring use cartoons as the main focus of magazine instead of articles (Webster 2012).

Editorial cartoon also known as political cartoon have found their use in politics where they are used to illustrate and relate current events or personalities. They typically combine artistic skills, satire and hyperbole as a way of questioning authority and bring to attention of the citizens what is trending in the country. These types of comics are primarily used to bring to light the issues of corruption taking place at the leader ship levels. Social ills of the members of the community are not spared by these editorial cartoons. Their goal is to point out any immoral activities taking place within a social setting. Such images are also known as editorial cartoons (Weaver 2013).

Comic comics are another type of comic that features stories in all genres. They are designed to cause discussions on the current society issues and are also known as comic magazines. They present their content in forms of juxtaposed panels that show individual scenes. Panels used in these comics comprise of descriptive prose and written narratives, often dialogue balloons that resembles of a comic art form (Rubin 2011).

Web comics are published online on different websites. They have also found their way in books, newspapers and magazines. Almost everyone can create this type of comics as it involves self-published print comics published by the author online. Those able to read the published information vary widely. That is, many are read by immediate friends and family, while others are exposed to millions all over the world (Venezia 2011).

It is also important to include graphic novel in the list of common comics of today. Graphic novel is purposely used for comic periodicals. It is presented as comic strip, however, with the great success of some of its versions like Moore, Spiegelman Maus, Millers and the Dark knight Returns, in the 21st century; it was added in the book store category. Different genres of comic books include manga, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, horror, humour, romance, adult and that for children. The most popular type of comics, especially in the United States, is Superhero comics (Shafer 2011). These comics are similar to modern mythology that includes fantastical settings and characters that possess superhuman abilities. Common examples include Spiderman, Batman, X-men, and Wonder Woman (Landreth 2012). Alternatively, there are those comic books that are often realistic more opposed to those reflects superheroes, however, they are not necessarily very real to life. A great number of them present fictional events while others are focused on educational missions. This genre includes the American Splendour, Strangers in Paradise, Ghost World, and Sandman (Vecchi 2010).

Comics would have not been real if they did not include genres that were specifically meant for laughter, as the name goes; comics mean laughter. Having that in mind, comics have been redefined to trigger laughter (Levitz 2013). That type of comics finds their way in social media like Facebook and Twitter. Social networkers are able to share jokes as well as read jokes from other jokers online. The comics have become popular in social networks as continuously rising number of people spend most of their time online (Gunning 2014). The targeted groups in this case include high school, college and university students (Spiegel, 2013). That is also facilitated by the fact that, a considerable number of these groups possess smart phones which enable viewing these types of comics even without access to PC (Drewes, Bratton & Schaefer, 2011). Examples include the Funny Joke for Today Community found on Facebook. It utilizes cartoons in its profile picture to give a hint to social networkers. Membership is achieved by liking the group where after joining the group you get ability to read and share jokes with fellow group members. Other examples include 2 Cows and a Chicken, 9 Chickweed Lane, Adult Children among others (Breen 2012).

Therefore, the field of comics evolved including childhood experiences. One will accept the fact that the type of comic arts that are found today did not exist a couple of centuries ago (Park 2012). That is to suggest that artists have been in a persistent venture to have fought all the odds pertained to comic art. As evident, comics were first introduced as drawings or sketches painted on paper, walls and boards. It was not before long when the drawings became advanced incorporating images and photographs (Meskin 2011). While this was the case, artists started to view the venture in a rather more advanced way; this saw a 3-D age commence leading to art that allowed development of moving comics that produce synchronized sounds. (Campbell 2013).

Childhood activities do not only reflect the future capabilities of a child, but mark the start of an era that will introduce new comics to the world. As the case viewed suggests, some of the discoveries of today, were triggered by the activities children involve themselves in (Trawick-Smith & Dziurgot 2011). That is to say that if the genius who created 3-D figures did not pay attention to artistic activities of children, the world would not have had the chance to experience advantages of the technology (Pagello 2012). One must agree that, some of prominent artists emerged to be popular and influential in the field due to motivation from their childhood desires and experiences (Blundell 2011).

In conclusion, comics cut across a variety of arts. These arts find their origin from the activities of children. Comic arts are used as a way of spending leisure time by playing games and watching movies. They have also come out to provide a medium through which people communicate ideas and information by means of newspaper and magazines. They are also used by companies as a medium of advertising job vacancies. Students in learning institutions benefit a lot from some of these comics as they provide learning materials in form of comic books. Social networkers have also shown to embrace the field of comics as they share and read funny jokes on the internet. Therefore, it is in no doubt, that comics have changed the manner in which people interact with others.

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