Understanding Comics Response

Understanding Comics is an interesting book as it serves to deconstruct comics as a medium of expression while simultaneously presented in comic book form. I think this was a good choice on the author’s part as it enforces the thesis: comics can be more than one’s original perception.

One of the most thought provoking points that author Scott McCloud makes is that comics are intentionally simplified artistically so they become more universal. McCloud remarks that connecting basic drawings to an individual is not a difficult process as people are “a self-centered race.” Indeed, people can find human imagery in everything from electrical plugs to cars.¬†McCloud makes many parallels between more traditional forms of literature and comics, but his reference to universality is especially unique as many modern books are heavily criticized for having “universal” characters. ¬†In essence, McCloud argues that one of the benefits to having comics as a medium is that readers can easily insert themselves vicariously, while books with vaguely described characters are not received well.

McCloud also debunks some misconceptions. , McCloud forces¬†the people who find comics modern and childish to consider ancient evidence of “comics.” One of his key points is the difficultly in defining what exactly a comic¬†is. If it is indeed a series of sequential images which tell a story, then numerous works can fall under the often scored category of comics.

As a fan of cartoons and comics myself, I find myself easily persuaded by McCloud’s writings. Some of the most moving stories I have experienced have been in cartoon form, and I would definitely argue that the medium did not detract from the message. I fully understand the struggle of explaining a cartoon’s emotional depth as people, upon hearing or seeing the medium, automatically discredit it.


new understanding on comics

As a big comic fan, I should say that this is the most interesting textbook I have ever read. I read a lot of comics, so what the author is telling us is not a big surprise for me. But there are a few things refreshed my understanding about comics. In the past hardly have I ever thought them as a form of art. I used to regard comics and animations are quite similar. I used to regard comics as a series of screenshots of a certain animation. However, after I read this book, I realized that these two are quite different. In comparison to animation, comic is more abstract. It let the readers involves more. The readers need to use their brain and take part in the process of telling a story. Comics have more interaction with the readers. Although we are looking into small pictures, but the comic lead us to paint a larger, wider world in our mind.

Another thing that surprises me is that is the organization of the panels and frames. For example, I notice that there is a page about how the width of the frame effects on the time. I never thought that this could be a big deal when I was reading comics. But in fact these subtle little stuffs matters a lot on our reading experience and those artists must put so much effort on them. It’s not easy. Sometime people may think comic artist is a humble job compared to writers or directors, because they fail to see these deep quality and deep efforts the artist made in comics. Knowing these, I love comics more.

Appreciation for Art of Different Mediums

Comics have always been a particular thing for me to note. While it hasn’t always been prevalent in my life, I have encountered them plenty of times. Growing up, I seldom read comics. I did start getting into them more as I got older, but I never really appreciated them for what they were. Considering them as art was something that hasn’t really come into consideration for me until I read McCloud’s book. Even when I took Art History as a class in high school, there wasn’t any mention towards them. Reading through the book, I realized how much an “Invisible Art” form that comics really are. The closest thing that I can associate with comics is pop art, which I did study, but here’s the interesting part about comics (obvious depending on the style that the artist draws in): They are a bunch of images that go in order to tell a story. However, they’re a bunch of them of a particular style all put in to tell a story. How it differs from other pieces of art is that it follows a certain sequence in order to tell a story. While certain other pieces tell their story via an interpretation, comics are a bunch of those pieces grouped together to make a story. This book was really good for me to appreciate how substantial comics really are because now I realized how much detail and work that goes into each specific image. Previously, I would read comics and not appreciate how much work each image would take. It’s the process of creating the story that makes comics so awesome. Also it’s really cool to see how natural your eyes just follow along with the story. It’s not hard to see which strip is next, even with different sizes. You can just kinda tell which is to go where next!

This book disrupts comics in my mind

To be honest, I would never think I would love comics some day before I read Scott Mccloud’s book “Understanding Comics The Invisible Art”. Living in a world filled with Japanese animation telling boring stories and even pornographic comics on the Internet, I was inclined to avoid all kinds of comics and animation, let alone ¬†admitted it is a kind of “art”. If someone have told me comics is art, I would definitely say “Are you kidding me? No way!”

The 4 chapters’ reading task, half of a book, I thought, would be a huge and tough task for me to tackle. But as I read further, I started to love this book and literally could not put down this book. I have to say this book changed my view towards the whole comics industry. I get to know the general history of how comics is developing and am so surprised that sequential pictures may¬†date back to 16th century in Egypt. The concept of “icon”, the vocabulary of comicsÔľĆalso intrigues me a lot. In a computerized and digitized world, we have to use icons a lot in our daily work and interpersonal communication and icons do help us convey our messages and ideas a lot. Like emoticons we use in our online chatting, eg. :), :P,¬†*^_^*¬†,Śõß, these icons actually are much more stronger than words in terms of expressing our ideas and emotions. That is also one reason why sometimes comics convey ideas and messages more clearly and easily than words.

Can’t wait to learn more about comics!

Comics Have Changed My Worldview

Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics¬†surprisingly changed my worldview as a visual artist. As it was humorously educational about the broader definition and history of comics, it also very boldly and concisely opened my eyes to a clear structure for evaluating visual artwork. In doing so, McCloud helped me understand my own place as an artist in this world, and where I could go next to take my art even further.

What was most powerful to me in this reading was McCloud’s step by step visual explanation of how an artist travels from reality to abstraction. I have to admit that before this reading, I was one of those people who walked into a museum and looked at Mondrian or Kandinsky or a huge white painted canvas and said “WTF. Why is this hanging here?” But after getting a grasp for McCloud’s concept of “the picture plane,” I could literally see how omitting physical appearance can better convey¬†concept, and lead viewers to a more universal or subjective viewing experience. Likewise, I could see how the closer an artist gets to replicating the physical world through realism/detail, they can better portray the beauty and complexity of the physical world, though it creates a very objective experience for viewers.

Why this reading was so important to me is because I am a surrealist/attempting realist, but my art never felt like I had a purpose or concept behind it. My only purpose was to get closer to perfection, though the kind of art I truly admired was conceptual contemporary art–something I had no understanding of how to achieve until now. Seeing as I am pretty far to the bottom left of McCloud’s pictorial vocab of visual art, I now aim to move more towards the center by clinging less to objective icons/objects of obvious meaning. Maybe this transformation will even help me grasp how to get my ideas across with less work and more thought in all my forms of communication (art, design, writing, speaking, etc).

There was a lot of unexpected but truly useful techniques of visual communication in this reading, I can’t wait to finish it. I really feel how true it is that showing is better than telling!

Below are two of my artworks I want to start with redoing in more abstracted styles.

Cali Ladybug R


attempted surrealism with Oil on canvas (2010)

attempted surrealism with Oil on canvas (2010)

Alicja’s Response: Comics

Let me start with a confession – I don’t like action movies. It is not that I think they are inferior to other genres, I just find them extremely boring to watch. I guess you could just say that they do not have what I look for in a movie. I don’t like action movies, but I like “Drive,” and not just because of Ryan Gosling’s mysterious blue eyes.
“Drive” is an action movie, that is often described as “neo noir”, “indie” or a “drama.” That is what is so special about the movie – it combines elements of different genres. In other words, apart from all the action, in the film there’s also a time to take a breath – a time for the viewer to experience the atmosphere, created by beautiful images and music.
Now, I always thought that comics is to an action movie what a novel is to a drama. Needless to say, I was never too fond of the art of comics. Doing this week’s reading though I realised why that was – because I was only exposed to the art of comics in its traditional Western form.
Scott McCloud in the Third Chapter of “Understanding Comics” describes¬†different types of transitions. He mentions six of them: “moment-to-moment”, “action-to-action”, “subject-to-subject”, “scene-to-scene”, “aspect-to-aspect” and “non-sequitur.” (74) Naturally, some of them are more popular than the others among the comic artists. Interestingly though, he observes that while “action-to-action” is by far the one that dominates the works of the Americans and the Europeans, that is not the case in Japanese comics, where the frequency of using a certain type of transition is more spread out.¬†“Action-to-action” is still the primary type in Japanese comics, but it is joined by a substantial number of “aspect-to-aspect” transitions.
“Aspect-to-aspect” transition is one that does not move the action forward, its focus is not on the change. Instead, it celebrates one still moment, one scene. Consequently, Japanese comics artists, with their “aspect-to-aspect” transitions, narrate stories differently than their American and European counterparts – they keep pushing the plot forward, but are not afraid to sometimes slow down and stop to indulge in the beauty of the moment. In other words: if “Drive” was a traditional comic, it would be Japanese.
Scott McCloud explains the difference in the usage of transitions by alluding to the Western focus on “getting there” versus Eastern emphasis on “being there”. I am not sure if that is very accurate – McCloud claims that “western art and literature don’t wander much […] we’re a pretty goal-oriented culture,” obviously ignoring the tradition of Bildungsroman and road novels, whose focus often is not on the goal, but on the wandering. “Wandering”, however, is still moving, as McCloud said, it is “getting there” – wherever “there” is. That is where, I believe, the difference really lies – Western culture celebrates movement, transition, while the Eastern, it seems, has an appreciation for a single moment as much as for the entire journey.
Fortunately, as McCloud points out, in the modern world, the West and the East meet. One result of that, I hope, already is (or will be) the emergence of Western comics that are not just action-driven. All I need to do now is look for them, and find a “Drive” amongst them.

Brand new understanding of comics

The book Understanding Comics written by Scott Mccloud is very interesting as well as inspiring. In the form of comics, the first four chapters tell us about the formal terms of comics, the historical development of comics as a medium, and the concept behind this kind of art form. The content of this book completely change my view on comics. Before reading this book, I considered comics only as a kind of entertainment to kill time; It was something that my parent would prohibit me from reading in school because it was a kind of distraction. However, after reading a few chapters of the book, I begin to realize the value of comics as a creative art form and a special medium to convey messages with the combination of both words and images.

In fact, comics have a very long history. Back to ancient Egypt, there appeared sequential drawings which were similar to the comics today. However, due to the stereotype of comics, the recognition of many old drawings as a form of comics met great difficulty. Therefore, one of¬†the most important reasons why I think this book is inspiring is that it describes in detail what comics is and how it is created, by which we can make a better judgement of this art form. Among all of the formal terms explained by Scott, the idea of “closure” interests me most. It is defined as “the phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole” .In my opinion, this “closure” somehow summarizes the value of comics. The drawing in comics is nothing but the simplest lines and patterns. However, it can deliver the most complicated and different messages behind them. This all contributes to the space of imagination created by comics. Without too many constraints, the way that comics are presented is very casual and informal, which allows readers to use their own imagination to connect the whole story.
Finally, I want to talk about the author’s decision to use comics to tell the story of comics. Personally, I love this idea very much. Using the form of comics is not only more vivid than using only words, but also more convincing because the readers are being showed what the
author are telling them simultaneously. It is like a live experience, which helps the readers have a better understanding of comics.


Response to Comics

This textbook written by Scott surprises me a lot by its funny form ‚ÄĒ comics and its interesting content ‚ÄĒ comics. It uses comics to attract readers as well as showing comics itself, which is different from traditional textbooks that use few pictures to decorate words. From this book, I learnt some important points of comics.

First, sequence matters in a comic book. In other word, sequence transfers image into ‚Äúthe art of comics‚ÄĚ (5), making images moving as well as adding story to them. Scott uses two image of a gentle to explain it. First image is a gentleman with a hat on and second image is still about him but he is raising his hat high on his head. From this sequence, we see a story that a gentleman takes his hat off to greet us. But, one interesting point is that if we change the sequence, we may see a gentle putting his hat on, which is completely inverse to our previous understanding. So, this may be a special point that makes comics different from films. Comics is actually a combination of images in a certain order. Also, sequence shows how time passes in a comic books.

Second, I was amused by Scott’s way of explaining how drawing style works on sending message to readers. He suddenly changes the face of the man in this comic book from a very simple/abstract one to a detailed/ realistic one. Haha. I totally understand in a sudden that fewer details of images works better for readers to receive message of words, otherwise we will be attracted by pictures instead of words. Additionally, here is a strong example of the advantage of comics: by vivid drawing, authors can easily give readers a direct feeling to help readers understand in a short time.

Last but not least, Scott pinpoints that comic leaves a big space for readers to imagine. He explains this with life example of ‚ÄúPeek-A-Boo‚ÄĚ. Although sometimes we don‚Äôt see something such as mommy, but we learn that she still remains. That‚Äôs how comics functions. Scott draw part of the character but we still get a whole body of character by our imagination. I seldom read comic books. My understanding of comics comes from cartoons such as Detective Conan, a Japanese cartoon. Comics can surprise us because it can hide some details by not drawing until author want to reveal it by showing the whole image of a character. That‚Äôs what makes a good story.

ZZ’s response to “Understanding Comics”

When I got this book, I was surprised to find out that there actually is a comics textbook. I have to say, as a textbook teaching people how to understand comics, it really does a good job in this form, which is vivid and understandable. This book reminds me the time when I was a little kid, watching monthly comics magazines stealthly in primary school during classes. I was just reading them for fun. But right now, I feel like less and less people are reading comics. But there are a lot of fans that are collecting tons of comics books. Comics seemed to be a thing only existing in childhood. Maybe due to the development of cartoon and animations, people tend to be enjoying the seemingly nonstop sequences more. To some extent, people are cultivated to be lazier. After I read this comics book, I know some skills and professional settings of the comics, which makes me want to read comics. I find that the concept of ‚Äúclosure‚ÄĚ is like the spirit of the existence of comics. It might be the most representative specialty of comics. It enables readers imagine the scenarios happen between two pictures. It makes comics this form have the ability to be interpreted to every reader‚Äôs own version, which causes more changeable imagines. I think that‚Äôs the reason why there are big fans are obsessed with comics books. It rekindles my passion I guess.

Response to “Understanding Comics”

          When I got this book at the start of this semester, I was shocked by the form of book. I can’t help thinking: Why should we read a comic book?

          Before I read this book, I have only read one comic magazine which is related to comics because I thought that comic books are only for those little kids. Also, comic books always give us an impression of uselessness and valuelessness. However, this book has totally changed my attitudes to comic books.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I was trying to record some words which impress me when I was reading. And the first sentence of them is that ‚Äúcomics is the word worth defining, as it refers to the medium itself, not a specific object as ‚Äėcomic book‚Äô or ‚Äėstrip‚Äô do.‚ÄĚ This sentence reminded me that comics is far away from what we thought before. Comics is more like an industry where we can explore deeply. The author asserts that comics is like a vessel, which can hold any numbers of ideas and images.‚ÄĚ It breaks our too narrow thought that comics can just make fun.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† When it comes to the definition of comics, Scott uses many pictures to describe each added detail about comics. While there have existed many words to describe comics, the most essential thing is that ‚Äúsequential art‚ÄĚ. Yes, whatever we read about comics, we often see from one to another, then keep going. The word ‚Äúsequential‚ÄĚ let me think of six types of most panel-to-panel transitions in comics—-action-to-action,subject-to-subject,scene-to-scene,aspect-to-aspect and non-sequitur. We may wonder why we are supposed to pay so much attention to the transitions of theses images. The reason has been explained later by the author, ‚ÄúThe degree of reader involvement necessary to render these transitions meaningful.‚ÄĚ

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Characters are the features in comics which are paid much attention to. The most interesting thing is that we usually use the form of cartoon to show people. ‚ÄúCartoon isn‚Äôt just a way of drawing, it‚Äôs a way of seeing.‚ÄĚ As the author says, cartoon is more likely a new access for people to touch and feel comics. ‚ÄúWhen you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself.‚ÄĚ People are regarding themselves as center of a circle, which drives them to think of themselves when they see new things. Cartoon is abstract and a little bit far away from the real life, people can feel more relaxed when they see cartoon.

          This book for me is professional though it is only a comic book. Its views come from observation, history and analysis of psychology, how amazing is it!

Overcoming the Inferiority Complex of Comics

The moment I got my copy of Understanding Comics from the librarian, I knew it was an extraordinary book. I could sense it from its typical comic-book style colors, which was so different from other piles of grey-blueish textbooks in the room. I could sense it from the shrugging huge guy in blue T-shirt on the cover. The best part is, I could sense it from the surprised look from my classmates. Having Understanding Comics as my textbook has seemingly given me a sense of mental superiority.

However, in today’s society, comics as an art form suffers from a kind of inferiority complex. This is exactly the reason why the book, a comic book about comics, was written(drawn) – to erase people’s bias towards comics as an art form, or¬†according to the definition the author has given in the book, the art form of “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce and aesthetic response in the viewer”.

In the first chapters the author explains why comics should be considered a serious art form. By defining comics using dictionary terms, drawing historical wall paintings and wood engravings as examples of early prototype comics, and categorizing comics in a pyramid by their creative characteristics, the author has managed to convince the reader that comics is serious art, and should be taken seriously.

Individual chapters focus more on technical details about how comic storytelling is made possible. The author did not attempt to do that in typical textbook way; instead, he conveys the content to his reader directly via the “Scott” figure in the book while still keeping on drawing references from famous comic works. In addition, the “Scott” figure actively tries to break the fourth wall and interact with the reader directly. One of the best examples of this is the “pipe” illustrations at the start of the second chapter where the figure “Scott” interacts with the reader to push them to rethink the values of “icons” in comics.

The author mentions in the book that comics are often seen as negative influences over teenagers in the United States. The situation in China is similar. In China comics are sometimes known as XiaorenshuÔľąŚįŹšļļšĻ¶ÔľČ, which can be translated as “Children’s books”. They are also seen often as distracting or corrupting to the teenagers, which many perceive as the main market of comics. ¬†However, the artistic potential of comics can be something much bigger than children’s picture book.¬†¬†Understanding Comics¬†will give anyone interested in this art form that is often undervalued in the society a new insight into the creative process behind comics and its artistic value.¬†The book¬†is a meta-comic-book that should be a must-read for anyone who is interested in this art form.¬†

Comics- A Special Form of Art

There is an interesting sentence at the beginning of the first chapter of ‚ÄúUnderstanding Comics‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúcomics were those bright, colorful magazines filled with bad art, stupid stories and guys in tight‚ÄĚ (2). The reason why I think it is interesting is because that is exactly my thought on comics even till the moment I began to read this book. To be honest, ‚ÄúUnderstanding Comics‚ÄĚ is the first comic book I have ever owned. And what‚Äôs more, I don‚Äôt know the correct order of reading it as well as feeling hard to get used to all the capital letters. However, just as comics artist Scott McCloud says in his book, ‚ÄúI became totally obsessed with comics‚ÄĚ (3) after reading the first four chapters.

Introducing comics in the form of a comic book is really a brilliant idea. The book begins with the definition of comics. The process of trying to define comics is really tough and it is nearly impossible to draw a clear line between comics and other forms of art. For example, as McCloud mentions, film, before being projected, can also be considered as ‚Äúa very very very very slow comics‚ÄĚ (8). Comics can be both or neither art or articles. It is a special form of art, which has a strong power within. Then McCloud brings us to a trip to the history of comics and tries to explore the possible future of comics.

My favorite part of the book is when McCloud describes icon. When we see a circle with two dots and a straight line in it, we will automatically think that it is a human’s face, but the truth is that it almost nothing likes the realistic face of a person. McCloud explains the reason of this instinct in a psychological perspective. He illustrates the process of turning a man’s portrait into an icon with a sequence of pictures; each one changing a little bit from the previous one. The final icon consists of only a circle, two dots and a straight line. People tend to apply themselves to pictures, which is the main reason why they consider the two dots as eyes and the icon as a human’s face. And actually the final icon is the most applicable one because it gets rid of all the features of the person and only focuses on what people have in common. That explains why comics are so welcomed. Also, McCloud mentions the role culture plays in comics.

The most magic part of comics is that we can feel the flow of time and the change of places when reading comics, but they are not included in comics themselves.

In all, ‚ÄúUnderstanding Comics‚ÄĚ is an amazing book, which not only changes my original stereotype towards comics, but also makes me fall in love with comic books. It suddenly occurs to me that collecting comic books can be a great hobby!!

Understanding Comics

Ahhh…I feel I am a little crazy because of the excruciating CAPITAL LETTERS all through the book!

Well, let us come back to the content itself. This book is unique and creative because it illustrates things of comics in the form of comics! Interestingly, one of the advantages of comics which I think is that the combination of words and pictures are better to be understand and illustrate things more clearly.

At the very beginning chapter, the author, or to say, the cartoonist introduces the history of the comics‚Äô origin. Frankly speaking, this is a little dull. But the following chapters are more interesting! The author makes fun of the character he designed for himself from time to time. And with some brief analogy, we can see clearly of what he wants to say. For example, on page 38, the sentence: ‚ÄúHEY! HE HIT ME!!‚ÄĚ easily persuade the readers that people will draw themselves simplest cartoon in their mind.

After I finished reading the assigned chapters, I began to think why the subtitle of the book is ‚ÄúTHE INVISIBLE ART‚ÄĚ. The reason I think is that comics are not the combination of messy icons and words, there are also artistical factors between pages. No matter it repeats the same picture for several times only change the words or comparing totally different drawing styles, they all obeys certain rules. There are six kinds of transitions in comics, that is: moment, action, subject, scene, aspect and non-sequitur. And also, each frame of comics must occupy a different space. These are all the art of comics, the art which seems messy and invisible.

I recall the memory of comics I used to read, Doraemon. Although I still cannot recognize most skills mentioned in UNDERSTANDING COMICS, once again I feel the charm of comics.

My Reflection on “Understanding Comics”

I’ve seen a lot of Japanese comics and cartoons and consider myself as¬†a great fan of Japanese comics. Until I read this book, I found that actually I knew so little about the art of comics.¬†It’s really the first time that I have read such a book which systematically introduces thoughtful theories of comics in the form of comics. After reading Chapter 1 to 4, instead of simply being a reader, I get to explore comic makings from another brand new perspective.

Scoutt McCloud sets the record straight for comics first, and then he elaborates the vocabulary, grammar, and time frames of comics. Firstly, he depicts that it’s really hard to make a definition of comics. Then he starts from introducing different kinds of icons and further explore the reason why comics use relatively simplified lines rather than ¬†realistic methods. He explains that people are much more able to positively get involved in comics if the comics use abstract and simplified icons or lines. This part of insight is also what I was totally unaware of when I read a comic book before.

He also emphasizes a lot on “closure” and “the Gutter” between two individual panels. “If visual iconography is the vocabulary of comics, closure is its grammar”, says the writer. (67) So we can see the significance of “closure” in comics. For the limbo of the gutter, as the writer explains, it contains limitless imagination and understandings of readers. The quotation clearly and powerfully points out the reason why “the gutter” can be the “very heat of comics”: “Within these panels, we can only convey information visually, but between panels, none of our senses are required at all, which is why all of our senses are engaged.”(89)

Besides, there are basically six types of transitions in comics (moment, action, subject, scene, aspect, and non-sequitur). We can see that western countries and oriental countries use these types quite differently. I’m not so familiar with western comics, and I would like to explore them more.

Comics include icons, words and so many other things. Comics are able to show movements and flows through static means. And most importantly, there exists a misunderstanding that comic is only for kids to read. Actually comics is an invisible art of mind, it can be very thoughtful and influential.

I really enjoy reading this book, although it’s a little bit hard to adjust myself to all the capital letters:D

My response to “understanding comics”

First of all, I need to say that I really like this book. Actually I am not a person who is a big fan of comic. I seldom enjoy a comic and even never read an entire one. But this book does attract me, and I think especially for people like me, not often know comics and have zero knowledge of it. It shows me a new world about comics and changes every traditional opinion in my mind.


Scott re-defined ‚Äúcomics‚ÄĚ based on what Will Wisner thought, sequential art. He also explained why cartoons could use the simplest ‚Äúlanguage‚ÄĚ to represent people‚Äôs thoughts. What really touched me is ‚Äú when you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself‚ÄĚ(36). The simplest things usually are the strongest hit for people‚Äôs heart. Young children love comics or cartoons because they can find themselves in that world. Scott said that‚ÄĚ the cartoons a vacuum into which our identity and awareness are pulled…‚ÄĚ(36), which I think maybe cartoons is not only a vacuum but also like a mirror so that we can see our hearts. For this, the funniest example that Scott gave to us is ‚Äúwhen one car hits another, the driver of the vehicle being struck is more likely to say: hey you hit ME! ‚Äú(38) The vehicle becomes an extension of our body and it absorbs our sense of identity.


In addition, Scott also explained how the ‚Äúpanel- to-panel‚ÄĚ(70) transition in comics could be placed in one of several distinct categories. They are moment-to-moment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, and aspect-to-aspect and non- sequitur, which I never heard about it before. He compared differences between Japanese and western comics specifically. He thinks that western cartoonists like number 2,3 and 4. But most Japanese cartoonists also like number 1 and 5. Maybe western cultures are much straighter than oriental cultures. But cultures will develop quickly and multiply due to both western and oriental cultures. As times go by, collision and fusion of different cultures become more and more important, it promotes the development of history, not only in comics area.


What Scott said about how to combine words and comics or how to express ‚Äútime‚ÄĚ in comics are also interested me. Scott uses a new perspective to let me know the relationship between comics and other factors in the arts. They are something I never think about. For example, I have been learning Chinese painting for more than ten years. But I think calligraphy is a kind of part of the work. Not like words in comic, Painters sometimes use calligraphy not only instruct the time and place or background of the work but also to finish the composition of a picture. I think this is really different from the comics. So this book does give me a new world.


In a word, understanding comics is a book to enjoy. Yes, it is ‚Äúenjoy‚ÄĚ.

My Response to “Understanding Comics”

When I first open this book, I felt it is quite different from the comic books that I have read before. This book is using comics to explain comics, which is quite different from the story-telling comics. Actually I thought it was a dull book because I saw a man with the same clothes, same hair style and no eyes in almost every pages. But after I started reading, I got a lot of inspirations. I understood that the author was trying to reveal some implicit mysteries of comics. He goes from the superficial phenomenons that we observes from reading comics, to deeply analysing the causes and techniques behind it. We, as the audience, tend to see this phenomenons as ordinary and for no reason. We might not think about why those separated images create sequential stories without reading this book. Some insights always made me lost in thoughts.

The first chapter is ‚ÄúSetting the record straight‚ÄĚ. The author led us to the journey of defining the specific meaning of comics. By giving more and more specific ideas about comics, the author compares comics with films and other paintings. Also, he explores the history of comics, relating it to ancient picture manuscripts. By doing this, the author broader the common sense of comics. This broad definition of comics may not necessarily true, but at least it shows us that the core spirit of comics is the sequential painting. That is the own language of comics.

The second chapter focuses on the vocabulary that comics is using, on what the images look like. His interpretation that ‚Äúaudience tend to put themselves in the simple characters in comics because their perception about themselves are also vague.‚ÄĚ is very interesting. When the characters are too precise, our eyes are usually attracted by the way they looks like. In that case, we might spend more time on one picture instead of looking through all pictures to understand the stories or meanings. From my point of view, I believe that if the purpose of a comic book is only to tell us a story which can happen on everyone, then the characters in it can be any ambiguous images that represent the characters. Also, if we want to make the images flow and create the continuity, audience are required to read at a level of speed. The only way to increase the reading speed is to omit some details in characters. However, if we want to create a sophisticated series of comics, the characters in it should have special personalities. In that case, the images of character will be more vivid.

The second chapter is more like the ‚Äúgrammar‚ÄĚ of comics. Scott introduced the concept of ‚Äúclosure‚ÄĚ. Comics always leaves enough room between two panels to create different movements. Actually, comics is closely related to imagination, just like other art forms. I think literature is quite similar to comics in this aspect. Both of them stimulates our thoughts and lead us to imagine. That is totally different from TV series or films. So by reading books and comics, audiences can have so many different interpretations and feedbacks. But people‚Äôs reactions of a film or TV series are quite similar.

The fourth chapter the most implicit but important element in comics: time. We can not see the time in comics but we can actually feel it when we read it. In comics, time is always represented by places. The change of place means the change of time. So many techniques and informations in this chapter are very simple but really make sense to everyone.

I also want to point out something that is not about the content of this comic book. The way that Scott uses to draw this book is also innovative. Because he is using comics to explain comics. He can use the words to explain it specifically, and at the same time draw some images to demonstrate his ideas. For instance, when he said that more detailed characters tend to drag audience from the content of comics, he changed his own face to a realistic one and that suddenly let me pause for a few second to see what he looks like. My personal experience convinces me that Scott’s idea is right. I think that is the advantage of this book.

Susie’s Reflection on ‚ÄúUnderstanding Comics: The Invisible Art‚ÄĚ



Besides, time frames also play an important role. I had the experience that when reading a comic, a same scene repeat several times which I think is useless. And I now noticed that, it is the author to show the time passes. Time is notoriously difficult to be addressed through a comic as it is planar. However, the change of the size of one scene or the repeat of one scene does advantage show the variation of time.

I used to think that what makes a comic popular is just the content and its drawing. Nonetheless, now I know that there are many other aspects that make a comic a good one. So it is really interesting to know how a comic comes out.

Reflection on “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

I once heard about a story:

A salesman¬†from a Coke company went to Middle East for marketing, and he came back¬†quite crestfallen. He explained to his friends, “Since people¬†there didn’t know Coke before, I thought it would be super easy to have our project on the Middle East market. Though I don’t speak Arabic, I was very confident when designing the post for advertising. I drew three sequent images in order to introduce our Coke. The first picture shows a breathless man walking on the dessert; In the next picture, this man is drinking our Coke; Finally, he is in high spirits.”

¬†His friend said:” It sounds great!”

¬†Then, the salesman complained:”¬†Everything is perfect until I¬†realized¬†that the Arab are used to reading from left to right!”


This might just be a joke, but it reflects that cultural difference exists even in comics!

 In Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Scott McCloud shows us what comics mean to him. He notes that comics have a long history and are more complex than is often imagined. In chapter 3, for instance, by comparing the different forms of eastern and western comics, he indicates that comic is also an art worth further studying.

¬†¬†What impressed me most is his effort of figuring out a definition of comics. As Mecloud says, “The world of comics is a huge and varied one.” (4) Comics have a lot potential: It seems simple but is actually not. I like the description ‚Äúamplification through simplification‚ÄĚ. (30) Compared with real life, though the words are briefer and the characters are simpler, the audiences can always see much more in the world of comics. That‚Äôs the charm of the art of comics.

 Coming back to the little joke at the very beginning, the issue of culture difference cannot be ignored when enjoying or creating comics. Only when we are able to understand a piece of comic work, can we appreciate its value well.

Richard’s reflections on Mentalception

My teammates, Susie and Mental, are really creative and dedicated. For this assignment the group agreed on Susie’s idea on encapsulating Mental in a crystal ball, which Mental gleefully accepted.

Then we came up with the idea of doing “Mentalception”. Susie’s got a mirrorless DSLR with her, so we took a photo of Mental during the Friday lab session on spot and imported it into photoshop.


I placed the crystal ball encapsulating Mental on his own hands (or actually fingertips).

And at last we put Mental the magician against the background of China’s Got Talent.


The entire image blends photos with cartoonish images, creating a comical effect, which reminds me of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The movie is famous for its mixed use of cartoon characters and human characters, demonstrating the power of computer graphics when it was still in its infancy.

In this sense, I think the incoherencies in the image (e.g. Mental’s oversized image and the handling of the ball) can be seen as features that accidentally added to the overall comical theme of this image.

However, other incoherencies, such as the difference of hue/saturation levels between Mental’s photo and the Got Talent background, are still areas that can be improved on. I think with some additional touches we can make Mentalception a better image.

Guille’s 1st week reading reflexions

The author talks about the 20th century development of film and photography. And how there is a lose in respect to art of what he calls “aura” which is the live impressions that a piece of art can offer. In my opinion the author does make a very strong point, a piece of art like “El Nacimiento de Venus” from Botticelli is nothing in a picture compared to seeing it first hand in real life. From personal experience art does posses this “aura” when its looked at it physically rather than digitally. I don’t think anyone could say they have really seen a piece of art if the haven’t seen it in person.

My Reflection on the First Photoshop Ping Pong


Here is the Photoshop Ping Pong of our group!






photoshop final one

Our Team: Guillermo Carrasquero, Lily Liu, and me.

We first chose a photo Lily took as our Photoshop background.¬†We started to add things to the background. I got the inspiration from the reindeer Lily added. Since the reindeer’s eyes open wide and look at the sky, I think it would be a good idea to add something into the sky which corresponds to the reindeer’s expression. So I chose the image of Angry birds. They seem to rush down to the snowfield with fire. And I found the color of the background is not so suitable, so I adjust colors though lightness, contrast, levels, etc.

The second time I received the work, I was actually surprised by the added goat with grass on its head and I had no idea about it. Since we did our Photoshop Ping Pong individually through creation process, I didn’t know what other members’ intention. Firstly, I wanted to put the whole picture as a dreamland of a little baby, so I created another labor for baby I selected and changed the¬†opacity. But it didn’t fit the whole scene so well, so I decided to change my design.¬†Then I thought that such kind of strange scene would probably exist in the game, so I use leather and cutting tools to do the slingshot, pills and wooden blocks to the picture to create a game scene. In order to set up a focus, I then put “Angry Birds, GO” in the middle of the picture. Finally I made some adjustments to the color of the picture again.

It was really interesting in Photoshop Ping Pong. I’ve tried different kinds of ways of cutout, and I found pen tool most accurate but also most difficult. I practiced a lot and now figure out how to use as many shortcut keys as I can to efficiently deal with different types of curves and accurately cut images. I also tried a lot of image adjustments and ‚ÄĚfilter‚Äú part. I think I still need to learn more about labor setting technique and composition.

Guille’s photoshop pingpong reflexions

It was not my first time using photoshop during this ping pong project although it was the first time i used a lot of tools i didn’t even know before which is great !!. Creating this crazy image was funner than i imagined it really gives you a perspective of whats achievable through photo editing which is unmeasurable. The sky really is the limit when it comes to photoshop !!

Response to Photoshop Ping Pong

I have never tried transporting one work and only finishing our own part before the Photoshop Ping Pong. It’s so amazing!

The most enjoyable thing during PS Ping Pong is that I cannot know what would happen to our team picture before my teammates have finished it. When it’s my turn to edit the picture, my teammates’ imaginations and creativities entirely amazed me! I would never thought of theses ideas without them. Of course, three different people with different ideas finally have finished a disruptive work, how interesting is it! The initial picture of ours is the white house, then the first teammate combined Chinese and Western cultures together, next, we put features from different eras together to create a scene which would never happen in any time, but we did it. If you see this picture, you may say: you are crazy

Photoshop Ping Pong is also a good chance for me to meet new friends and cooperate with them. We need to pay our attention to only one work, aiming to let the picture more natural. Cooperating with each other.

When we have something wrong with our technique of Photoshop, we can also communicate and discuss about theses problems! Look! This is our work!RedHouse

Reflection on Photoshop Pingpong

By Yang Fan, Catherine Gong, and Connie Yu

Originally, we got an image of a beach, and since we failed to come to a topic, everything changed later were based on the first image that Catherine made, which make the process of Photoshop Pingpong more exciting!

By making animation effect on the sea wave and the sand, the beach seems to be livelier. To make it more amusing, we added both Yu Lizhong, the president of NYU Shanghai and Obama, with the body of Chairman Mao. After erasing some useless settings and adding more symbols about NYU, President Yu seems to be Introducing our university to Obama. Cool! All the stuffs such as the torch logo and the red lantern are showing that NYU Shanghai enables different cultures to interact with each other. And‚Ķthe running horse has the meaning of ‚Äúsuccess‚ÄĚ!

Though all the members in our group have very little experience with Photoshop and our work may be a little bit rough, we are proud of our final image!

Max, Bridget and Renel’s Picture: Max’s Perspective

White House from the Future

This was my first foray into photoshop and I must say it was a lot of fun. ¬†For me it was really challenging at first because I had no idea where any of the controls were or for that matter, what any of them were. ¬†But with a little bit of work and help ¬†I managed to grasp an understanding of some of the controls and then it became easier for me to get what I wanted from the picture. ¬†The hardest thing for me was making sure everything was selected correctly and not cutting off anything important… like Napoleon’s foot. ¬†Overall it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing what my partners contributed as well. ¬†I hope I can do more work in photoshop, particularly to make things like memes or political cartoons.

“White House from the Future” Max, Bridget & Renel’s


White House from the Future


A fun challenge of trying to Chinese-ify the white house. Had a hard time finding good quality photos to make the edits look more seamlessly integrated. Took a long time tweaking the red color overlay in different tabs and refining selections with all three types of selection tools… drop shadows are awesome to play with… and I feel like there’s something missing in the top right corner.

Catherine’s reflection on ps ping pang with Connie and Fan

It is quite a hard job for me to ps a picture as I have no experience before. I used tools that were introduced in class. I started with a photo of a beautiful beach and put Mao and Yu on the beach. I am thinking of a conversation between Mao and Yu. They may talked about changes happened during the several years,especially in education. Because the photo of Yu I found lacked half leg, I drew legs for he. And Marianne taught me how to enlarge figures to make them fit the background. On the cloud I draw nyu torch. It used to be a faraway thing,but  now it holds a school in China. In second round, I added cheering crowds of NYU students to cheer for the new school and the new year of horse.

Alicja, Michelle and ZZ’s Artsy Photoshop Pingpong

The original picture:0

Step 1 ZZ:1At first, to be frank, I didn’t know which picture to choose. After looking around, I came up with the idea that the original picture should be simple so that many things could be added to it. Then I searched Flickr and found out this picture. I wanted to some simple edit to it. So I added a pig to the picture and rotated the watermelon and the floor so that the shadow of pig would not be a big problem, which was hard to be dealt with. And I inversed the color of the big and made the watermelon purple and blue. I was trying to say that the pig ate the toxic watermelon and its color got inversed.

Step 2 Alicja:2The image I received from ZZ surprised me a little at the beginning, with its bold colors and composition. It was quite abstract, and I wanted to keep that character. There was not a lot of empty space for me to work with in the picture, so I decided to copy the photo and paste it next to the original. I rotated it to make it look like a mirror reflection. In this way, the picture became symmetrical and in a sense even more abstract. To highlight the fact that the left part was a copy of the right, I posterized it – the background, the pig and the watermelon. However, at that point I still thought that something was missing, so I searched Flickr for “panda.” When I found a cute picture of a teddy bear panda, I selected it using the path tool and then pasted it into the original image, in between the pigs. That meant that the picture was no longer ideally symmetrical, but it made it more interesting.

Step 3 Michelle:3I took a photo of my face, Selected what I want and then Cut it. I used Craquelure to make my face like stone. And then I adjusted the Curves, Color Balance Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation.

I think that the style of the photo is very modernÔľĆlike futurism. So I want to change the flesh color of my face, I also tried lots of Filter, but Craquelure is the best.

Step 4 ZZ:4When I received the previous picture, I was shocked. Because I didn‚Äôt imagine that Michelle would put a selfie on it, which also inspired me to be more creative. I noticed that there should be something above her head, and then I added one kind of animal‚ÄĒjellyfish to her head as a hat because there were pigs and panda, which turned out to be dreamy. The whole picture now was like an artsy dream.

Step 5 Alicja:5Image number 4 was a big change from the previous ones, as it contained a head and a jellyfish hat. I thought, when I saw it, that something was not quite right about the hat. I had this vision of a big flowery hat, and so I decided to at least add flowers to the jellyfish. It was a lot of work – selecting flowers, copying, pasting and changing their sizes and colors – but it was also a very rewarding experience. I liked the final effect of the hat. I think it worked well with the rest of the photo (which I tried to achieve).

Step 6 Michelle:6I think that the color pink of the background is not suitable for the whole style. So I used Enable Layer MaskÔľĆ changed CurvesÔľĆColor BalanceÔľĆBrightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation. And I used Liquefy, drew the grain by myself. Then I used Lens Flare. Finally I found some wave from the Internet, selected and cut them, changed their size and color balance. I think the harmony of the whole work is the most important. So I need to change every material‚Äôs color or size or brightness.

Susie’s Reflection on Photoshop Ping Pong

Mental In Got TalentIt is really interesting to play with Photoshop and finish a group work of it . And my teammates are Mental and Richard.

The idea actually comes from a picture I saw on the internet, which I think is quite connected with the winter days.

The first step I took is find a picture of the magic ball from the internet. There used to be a Christmas tree in it, but I erased it.  Then our group try to find something new  to put in the ball, and noticed that the photo that Mental was skating, which was taken during winter vacation is really appropriate. However, when we add him into the ball, we found the right part is a little bit empty, so that we find a picture of snowman and let them hand in hand.

After that, we took a picture of Mental, asking him to make the pose like holding the magic ball, and used the Photoshop to put the ball in his hands. At last, we add a background. As Chinese Got Talent is popular now, we assume Mental is a magician who is attending this event. And the picture is done~ So great!!

I really enjoy the time working with my partners. Also, I practiced my skills during the work.




Reflection on Photoshop Pingpong





photoshop final one


I would like to say that this Photoshop Pingpong is an exciting process. Each of us has practiced a lot.

At first we were hesitated because before we tried to choose an image for background, we needed to think a topic in advance. That is a important step in photoshop pingpong because without a topic, we will not have the same direction. If everyone just do whatever they want to do in the photo, the final edition will not make sense. Realizing this, we finally decided to combine real background with cartoon characters to make it feels like a interesting cartoon world.

I love photography and I have a lot of photos with high resolution, so I looked through all of my photos before class. Then I chose some interesting photos. After that, I did some research online to get some inspiration for creative photoshop. In our workshop, we decided to use the photo that I took in Harbin, which is a skiing track. We chose this one because there’s a lot of room left for us to photoshop.

The preparing work took a long time, but the working process went well. For me, I tried to use all that I have learned in class. I added the reindeer falling down from the edge. I struggled a lot to adjust the light and shadow around it to blend it to the background. I tried curves, burn tool, dodge tool and eraser tool. But after that I felt quite good about it.

For the second round, I was a little bit shocked when I saw the big sheep on the ground and angry birds in the sky. I quickly understood that I should not add some more big objects on it or the image would get crazy. So I did some adjustment on lights and color. And then I used the colon stamp tool to “erase” the brown net on the skiing track. After that I added some trees along the way, using eraser to let the pillars come out.

I think I have encountered two problems. One is the tool for selection. I tried three basic ways but I think the quick selection tool is the most effective. Another problem is fitting the selection area to the background. Because I forgot to use feather before saving the selected area, there was always an obvious line on the edge of my selection. So Then I found another way to solve this problem using background eraser. It can erase the edge a little bit and make it vaguer. That also works.

The most exciting thing about this photoshop pingpong is that you don’t really know what other people might do with the picture. Every time you see it again, you need to use your imagination to do some creative adjustment to it. And also, three people will have three different view on photoshop. For example, I would like to make the adjustment looks natural without so many artificial traces. But my partners showed me that photoshop can also be used artistically. We can also add some exaggerated objects or do big changes on it and the result will also seem quite good. I think that is my best harvest in this group working.


Photoshop Project #1

Working with Villa and Nicole was definitely intimidating because they have experience with photoshop and I literally had none. So I just kind of let them take the lead on this project. That being said, it doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything. A lot of the edits made on my technical part were at my own hands, but only after watching Nicole and Villa do things was I able to complete my edits. I learned a great deal and it was a valuable thing to learn. Photoshopping faces onto other bodies and working with the shadow effects due to lighting of a certain image is definitely tough and I’d love to learn more on how to fix it. I couldn’t have done anything without Nicole and Villa’s patience so shout to them and mad props for putting up with my lack of knowledge. Plus it was kinda fun making the photoshop to my face. I always wondered about how good I would look if I had Nicole’s hair from the day she took her picture for her student ID card. It’s been a dream of mine. I just didn’t realize it until recently.

Photoshop PingPong –Sherry and Shirley

Mr._And_Mrs._Smith-round 4


Group member: Sherry Zhuang and Shirley Huang

At first, we wanted to do a picture where there is a mother chimpanzee and a baby chimpanzee. We came up with an idea to change the baby chimpanzee to a human baby. However, the image didnt look very well, so we gave up the first one.

We later decided to work on the classic movie poster of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Inspired by the fabulous course GPS taught by professor Lehman, we substituted Peter’s face for Jeff’s. Then, we took a picture of our GPS coursepack and replaced the gun with it. After that, we put a mask on the woman’s face, with the word “GPS” on it. Finally, we erased the original title of the poster and changed it into “forever love”. That’s all for our photoshop pingpong. Enjoy the love between Jeff and Gps~

Reflections on Photoshop Ping Pong

I started to use Photoshop about a month ago. None of us had much experience in using the exact Photoshop software to edit pictures. However, we still made it, the perfect wedding ceremony of Kevin Pham.

First, I would like to say “thank you” to my group mates Kevin and Nicole. They sacrificed themselves by using their own images to be edited by the whole group. This required a lot of courage and I have to say that Nicole’s hair really looks perfect on Kevin.

Secondly, I learned ¬†that as long as we can go back, such as the function of “history” in Photoshop, we can have a good command of all the techniques if we keep trying. Patience and enthusiasm is especially needed for using Photoshop to edit photos.

Thirdly, we can never use Photoshop to make fake things authentic no matter how skilled we are in Photoshop. Those edited photos may seem realistic at first glance, but we can still figure out what have been changed.

The biggest problem we encountered was the brightness adjustment. Because our work includes the replace of faces, so it is really tough to adjust the skin colour of face and neck to the same level. We tried very hard, thought about all possible methods to solve the problem, for example, using neckless to cover the skin of neck. And also, Kevin and I have no idea about photography. Thus, we can’t figure out which part should be blur and which part should be in focus, but luckily we have Nicole who has much experience in photography.

Though this piece is not perfect if judging critically, we tried and we improved a lot through the process, which, is the only thing that matters. At last, thank you Kevin and Nicole, for being the greatest group mates ever!!!!!!!

Photoshop Reflection

In the past, I’ve done Photoshop related competitions with my friends where we would each edit the same photo, then see who got the “better” results. This was the first time I worked collaboratively with others and I was very impressed with the skill and creativity my group members brought. I definitely would want to do a project similar again ūüôā

Group Work On Photoshop

Mental In Got Talent


Group Members: Susie, Richard and Mental

Well, at the very beginning of the group work, I was chosen to be the only actor in the photo. Therefore, the work began from searching for my proper photo after we decided our theme. The Mental in the crystal ball was cut from a former photo of myself and the bigger Mental was cut from the photo we took on the spot. Next step we combined several elements together and added cute things, that is the snowman. After some fine adjustment, the main body of the picture was finished. Last thing to do is to find a background, we chose the Chinese Got Talent, pretending that I am a talent magician or something. It is done! Cheer!



Yang Fan’s Response to “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

In¬†his¬†essay¬†‚ÄúThe¬†Work¬†of¬†Art¬†in¬†the¬†Age¬†of¬†Mechanical¬†Reproduction‚ÄĚ,¬†Walter¬†Benjamin¬†explains ¬†the¬†changes¬†in¬†the¬†filed¬†of¬†art¬†brought¬†by¬†the¬†development¬†of¬†mechanical¬†reproduction.¬†The¬†most ¬†impressive¬†word¬†‚ÄúAura‚Ä̬†which¬†is¬†originated¬†by¬†himself¬†is¬†very¬†significant¬†to¬†the¬†whole¬†essay. ¬†Generally¬†and¬†simply,¬†the¬†terminology¬†contains¬†three¬†implications,¬†i.e.¬†Authenticity¬†with¬†work¬†of¬†art,¬†cult¬†value¬†as¬†the¬†basis¬†of¬†traditional¬†art¬†and¬†the¬†unique¬†phenomenon¬†of¬†a¬†distance.

What¬†also¬†impresses¬†me¬†a¬†lot¬†is¬†the¬†stereotype¬†that¬†‚ÄúThe¬†conventional¬†is¬†uncritically¬†enjoyed,¬†and ¬†the¬†truly¬†new¬†is¬†criticized¬†with¬†aversion‚ÄĚ(8).¬†By¬†this,¬†many¬†opponents¬†thinks¬†reproduction¬†and ¬†creation¬†is¬†kind¬†of¬†contradictory.¬†Actually,¬†I¬†agree¬†with¬†Benjamin‚Äôs¬†view¬†that¬†there¬†is¬†no ¬†contradiction¬†between¬†reproduction¬†and¬†creation¬†in¬†contemporary¬†societies.¬†There¬†two¬†kinds¬†of ¬†works¬†of¬†art¬†produced¬†by¬†reproduction¬†technology.¬†The¬†first¬†is¬†reproduction¬†of¬†an¬†original¬†work ¬†of¬†art.¬†By¬†stating¬†‚Äúthat¬†which¬†withers¬†in¬†the¬†age¬†od¬†mechanical¬†reproduction¬†is¬†the¬†aura¬†of¬†the¬†work¬†of¬†art‚ÄĚ(3),¬†he¬†explains¬†the¬†disadvantage¬†of¬†this¬†kind¬†of¬†reproduction.¬†The¬†other¬†kind¬†does¬†not¬†have ¬†an¬†original¬†version¬†such¬†as¬†film¬†industry.¬†Its¬†disadvantage¬†is¬†also¬†obvious.¬†‚ÄúThis¬†is¬†not¬†the ¬†approach¬†to¬†which¬†cult¬†values¬†may¬†be¬†exposed‚ÄĚ(6).He¬†argues¬†that¬†this¬†kind¬†of¬†reproduction¬†lacks ¬†cult¬†values¬†which¬†is¬†the¬†basis¬†of¬†traditional¬†art.

In my opinion, reproduction and creation are both indispensable and should be combined   together. They are both significant parts of reproduction of arts.

My response to “On the Rights of Molotov Man”

         I like this style of writing which contains two different writers’ totally different opinions on the same topic. Each person demonstrates their ideas on the art of context in a logical and analytical way, which both seem persuasive and powerful. Joy Garnett believes that it is legal to use part of existing artworks and make creation based on it. On contrast, Susan Meiselas thinks Joy was alienating her own work. But we must put that in mind that they are talking like this standing on their own position. if we can go out of both writers’ thoughts and think more deeply, we can have a more critical understanding to it.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†At first, a question striked me, ‚ÄúWho owns the right to this man‚Äôs struggle?‚ÄĚ (Garnett 3) That question pushes us to go into the inner side of this problem. The conflict between Garnett and Meiselas is actually based on ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ, based on whose legal right was infringed when Garnett made the recreation of this Molotov man. As Meiselas points out, this man own his right to his struggle, Garnett should not do the recreation and define him as a riot. But on the other hand, we can find out that Susan Meiselas was pushing this problem too far. Joy Garnett did not mean to infringe that man‚Äôs struggle, what he wanted to do was just treat him as an image without any intention on that real person. Exactly that this molotov man owns the right to his ‚Äústruggle‚ÄĚ, but Susan Meiselas also owns the right of her ‚Äúphoto‚ÄĚ of him. So why can‚Äôt Joy Garnett own the right to his ‚Äúpainting‚ÄĚ? Why should he be accused of damaging Molotov man‚Äôs ownership to ‚Äúhis struggle‚ÄĚ?

         Secondly I want to talk about the appropriation of decontextualization. Is it OK for us to decontextualize the artworks and do additional explanation of it? Maybe some artists like Susan Meiselas will argue that this kind of action is a disrespect to the authors of original piece as well as the subjects(no matter men or creatures) in the artworks. For the authors, it is annoying to see their original artworks being alienated, especially when the variations are somewhat different with or totally opposed to the essential idea of the content in their artworks.

         Also, there is a great danger about taking pieces out of the context. Because if audience see a small part of the artwork but not the whole photo, they might have thousands of different interpretations of that man in the picture. This possibility is unacceptable for Meiselas who only have one thought about this guy in her photo.

         However, if we think more about art forms instead of this picture. Maybe we can understand in this way: Joy and Susan shows totally different opinion about interpreting out of context because the art of photography and painting are not the same. Photography seeks for truth. Photographers would like to use their cameras to show exactly what they saw and what they felt. But painting is more related to the imagination of painters. Seldom do they care about what is the real historical stories. Most of them are trying to show their reaction to the subject of their paintings. Cameras can only record the exact shape of items but painting can be expressed by different type of color and lines. So what really matters is the painters own thoughts and reactions, they care little about what they are painting.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†This reading, in fact, reminds me of our first reading. In ‚ÄúThe Work of Art in the Time of Mechanical Reproduction‚ÄĚ, Benjamin talks about the reproduction of artworks. Recreation is slightly different from it. In my opinion, recreation, which is based on an existing artwork but have totally different connotation, can filter all the disadvantages of reproduction because it is creating something new but not only copying something old. We need this recreation to let our art world flourish, but we should also protect the rights of the original composer and respect their labour as well as their subjects‚Äô feeling in some ways.

ZZ’s response to “On The Rights of Molotovman”

The photographer of the original picture of Molotovman, Susan Meiselas, says, ‚ÄúNo one can ‚Äėcontrol‚Äô art, of course.‚ÄĚ I pretty agree with this opinion. As far as I am concerned, art is a thing that you cannot easily define, but what can be ensured is that art varies from person to person. Let‚Äôs suppose that one brain can come up with 10 ideas on an artwork, if ten people all process this art with their own ideas, then this original artwork can be transferred into 100 different forms. If you combine them, then you can get even more new interpretations of the original artwork. And it is actually really easy to do some changes to artworks. The Motolov Man case is like a meme, it shows how convenient to make a change to photos with good effects. The uncontrollability of art helps the promotion of art and can courage more people to get connected with art with their own ideals that are inspired by the spread of it.

Some people may say that it actually causes decontextualization. That is a problem, but in my opinion, Since more and more processed art works have been show up, more and more people will pay attention to them and the curiosity born with people will drive them to know what is going on and they can get the original content by news.

If you come back to the copyright of one piece of artwork, you can notice that it is really hard to define the copyright of artworks. For example, if you take a picture of one picture in a gallery and share it to your friends, is it a violation to the copyright of the original picture? But we have to admit that this kind of making the replica actually sacrifices the quality of the original artwork. I think if you don‚Äôt want to make money when violating the copyright, you can just cite the information of the original maker. I believe this way is more rational for the diversity and aspiration in the field of art than ‚Äúlet it be‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúnot allowed‚ÄĚ.

Should we respect the context when recreating?

This case is really classic as well as problematic and it does intrigue me a lot.

Joy Garnett¬†rendered Pablo Arauz “larger than life” when he recreated Susan Meisela’s photography of a “suspected rebel” by converting this photography into a huge painting of nearly six feet tall. He never thought that his act actually went far away from what the original photographer wanted to demonstrate and even was quite odds with the context. Also he could never imagine his simple behavior would have such a huge influence.

Actually, when I finished reading this article, a question popped  up from my mind: Should we respect the context when we are doing recreation work? More often than not, we recreate a piece of work without considering this question. Then even more questions came to my mind. Is it just a problem in terms of intellectual property or respect to the original author? Should we even concern about what and who is depicted in this piece of art? And are we supposed to grasp a detailed knowledge of the background where this piece of art was created and  then do our judgement?

Obviously,¬†Joy Garnett didn’t think over any of the question I raised and consequence did happen afterwards. He misunderstood that photography, decontextualized that image and then mistranslated it to the whole world. He hurt both the photographer and the person depicted in that image. More seriously, his act made history works against context and fooled people with the¬†superficiality of art.

¬† ¬† When it comes to what we are doing right now in our class, Photoshop, Editing sound, Polishing video, they are all gifts technology ¬†gives us. We definitely welcome them. But, to use them “correctly” or not, is a question.


ShirleyÔľö the little big ¬©

The issue about copyrights is always a controversial problem. Today, the development of the internet makes it even harder to solve. Copying, downloading… a disaster! The most critical trouble is how we can define a certain action that offends one‚Äôs copyright, which has a so vague definition.

We all know that stealing and plagiarism are not right. But what if we just borrow some ideas or we are inspired by some others‚Äô works? How far is ‚Äúbeing inspired‚ÄĚ from ‚Äúplagiarism‚ÄĚ? In someone‚Äôs eyes it can be long, but in some others‚Äô eyes, it can be very short. It is true we should show our respect to the original authors. But some authors might be too sensitive, they don’t allow any other people to do anything that is related to their work. This seems to be reasonable. However, I consider it an violence of copyright. Copyright should not be abused in that way. If everyone do like that, if everything must be original on the Internet, there will be no freedom for recreation; there will be no fanfiction or fanart. The spirit of sharing on the Internet will be destroyed. There will be no fun and it is another disaster for being too conservative on copyright.

In fact copyrights may give too much protection to the original author. There was a case about the name of the ipad in China that aroused a heated debate at that time. A company in China sued Apple for using the name “ipad” without permission because this is the name owned by them that is registered many years ago but hardly anybody knew. As a result, Apple need to pay a big deal of money for the good selling of the ipad. Everyone could tell that even the “ipad” is created by that company, the huge value of it is added by apple. Similar cases happen everywhere. A reproduction of art work can be much more valuable than the original one, but it can’t be protected for the sake of copyright. In my view, I think it is unfair, and it is a robbery in the name of copyright.

The author should be responsible for his or her own work first.¬†Any pieces of art work, if it want to be protected, need to be claimed about the limitations. Then people can know in what way they can use this work. It seems to be inconvenient but it is the best way to prevent potential copyright issues and protect everyone’s rights. For example, a standardized copyright licence system can be helpful. A work without a certain licence( or something like a certification) is like a lost credit card without a password on the street –if it is not used properly, ¬†the own should also share a responsibility of it.

©2014  Shirley Huang  

Some of the Rights Reserved

Response to ‚ÄúOn the Rights of Molotov Man ‚ÄĚ

When I read this article, what first attract me are those pictures which contain a same person. He is throwing a Molotov cocktail. This makes me think the last class, we started to learn photoshop. A software that we can change pictures in an amazing way. However, at the time we choose pictures to make a change, we may ignore the problem of resources.

In this article, however, the writer was escaping from the responsibility to the use of resources. Though he gave us reasons that there were many people who also use the same resources. What’s more, it seems that he took granted that using others’ pictures. In my opinion, though he has spreaded one picture and made it famous, he should think more for the picture’s real owner. Let’s suppose that, if we create a new thing and then there are many people do some change on it, as a result, those who recreate the thing get popular to people while no one knows your name. You must be sad at this time since the initial thing hasn’t been recognized by others. You may feel even worse when you want to prove your ownership of one thing by requiring other’s payment, they totally ignore your words.

Things are not easy for us. Sometimes we just want to upload our works on the Internet to let more people know or appreciate them without considering others will download your works easily. Some people may say: Once you upload your own things on the Internet, it means that you are willing to share your things with others because Internet itself is a public place. If you don’t want others use your things, why you still want to upload them? In addition,  maybe, you have never uploaded your works online, how to show their values? If you are dead, where should these works be? If these works have been published, who will get the right from your works?

What we should do is also difficult for us to know since there is not a excellent law to manage these affairs. Maybe, we can only try to respect resources’ owner.

The technique of PS is really a wonderful thing for people. Some pictures seems impossible become possible, which makes us think more and achieve more interesting things. Disruption is a suitable word to describe the final work.

I am appreciate one words here, ‚ÄúNo one can ‚Äėcontrol‚Äô ¬†art.‚ÄĚ Yes! When we only pay attention the art only, we may get unexpected results!

Respecting Copyright- The Way Artists Show Respect To art

The problem of copyright emerges like a side effect at the age of reproduction, which is basically the age of ours. One of the most famous cases is¬†The Copyright Issues in Bollywood. Also, many musicians in India can’t get paid for songs they write simply because those songs are free to download on the Internet right after the moment they are released. Another famous case is the website “The Pirate Bay”. Introduction of The Pirate Bay¬†can be seen here. All founders of this website were all sentenced to a year in prison due to the violation of the Copyright Law.

Some may argue that art pieces are created for appreciation, thus there is no point for their owners in controlling them. They may even argue that the process of sharing is the best way to decide whether the art piece is influential or not, since sharing means appreciation.

However, the fact is that artists never mean to control anything. They focus on copyrights simply to show their respect for art. As¬†Susan Meiselas says in the article “On the Rights of Molotov Man”, “but I still feel strongly, as I watch Pablo Arauz’s context being stripped away-as I watch him being converted into the emblem of an abstract riot-that it would be a betrayal of him if I did not at least protest the diminishment of his act of defiance‚ÄĚ (6), what she was afraid of is the violation and the misunderstanding towards art itself. She never actually charged Joy Garnett at the end. She was just trying to protect her art from being offended.

To some extend, we all had the experience of violating artists’ copyright, for all of us must have download songs and photos for free some time in life. And we always take it for granted without realising that we are actually doing something illegal. Though it may seem “user-friendly” for us to download free art pieces from the Internet, it actually brings about serious consequences. Thousands of great musicians in India abandon their career due to the issues of copyright. We can imagine¬†what will the world be like,¬†when the day comes that no artist is willing to produce art pieces because of frustration caused by their lost copyrights. A world without art is a world without beauty and energy.¬†

Do not break the heart of artists. They are just pursuing what they believe in, which is the purity of art pieces.

Fair Exploiting the Molotov Man

The Molotov Man is not alone in today’s world where digital technologies has made getting, duplicating, retouching, and publishing other’s art a matter of few mouse clicks and key strokes.

Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the HOPE poster in support of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, was sued by former AP freelance photographer Mannie Garcia who took the original photo which the poster is based upon [1]. In China, Founder, a font company, sued P&G in 2007 for the latter’s allegedly copyright infringement by using the Founder’s font without permission on the packages of the company’s Rejoice line of shampoo [2].

Both Fairey and P&G defended that his usage of the photo is protected by “fair use” doctrine found in Copyright Laws in the US and China; so did Garnett. However, laws regarding Fair Use have not been able to catch up with the rapid development of media technology.¬†¬†According to Wikipedia, in U.S copyright law, fair use “permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders” [3].¬†

The law does list four factors to be taken into consideration when deciding whether a use made in a work is a fair use:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work [4].

However, for art, the “potential market” of a piece of artwork is hard to determine, let alone its artistic “value”, since people’s perceptions towards art are often vastly different, which is apparent in the Molotov Man case where Meiselas claims that Garnett’s work decontextualized her original photo. “The purpose and character of the use” is also a vague expression. In Fairey’s case, he made the poster out of his personal support of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, but he also printed and sold his posters. Artistic pursuits and monetary gains are sometimes hard to differentiate.¬†In addition, as Garnett herself noted, after all “Who owns the rights to this man’s struggle?”

Art for art’s sake. Whether “decontextualization” is a good thing for a particular piece of art a good thing or not is left for the artists and the public to judge. However, existing copyright laws must be revised and updated to reflect the changes in technology and the art scene, so that “fair use” will not degenerate into “fair exploit”.

Anyways, a few things are for sure regarding the copyright issues:

1. With the advent of technology such conflicts over copyright of arts are sure to happen more frequently, or even more bizarrely. 

February 20, 3014 NEW SHANGHAI, URSA MINOR - Intergalaxy Court confirmed today that they have received complaint filed by Cangjie against Qin Shihuang. Cangjie, who lived roughly 5,800 years ago from now, just time-traveled to New Shanghai yesterday to attend the court hearing tomorrow. Cangjie claims himself to be the original inventor of the Chinese characters. In the complaint, Cangjie argues that Qin Shihuang, who was the emperor of China from 220BC to 210BC, used his creation without permission in an attempt to unify the writing system of his country. Qin Shihuang's attorney refused to comment on the lawsuit.

2. Both Garnett and Fairey got their images from random images searches with Google. Therefore – beware of Google. Always go Creative Commons / GPL / Public Domain.

3. Last, but not least, to avoid potential lawsuits, I hereby list all the sources I have referred to in my article:

[1] Wikipedia contributors. “Barack Obama “Hope” poster.”¬†Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

[2]¬†“šľĀšłöšłćšĻįŚ≠óšĹďŚįĪŤĶ∑ŤĮČ śĖĻś≠£‚ÄúÁīĘŤĶĒ‚ÄĚśÉĻšļČŤģģ.”¬†Śá§ŚáįÁĹĎ. N.p., 12 May 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

[3]¬†Wikipedia contributors. “Fair use.”¬†Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Feb. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

[4]¬†“US CODE: Title 17,107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use”. .law.cornell.edu. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-06-16.

Molotov Man

The reading material is consist of two parts. One is from the original photographer, the other one is the painter who imitate the photo without permission of copyright. The Molotov Man is the center of the two article. Four things I want to mention. First, which is the most obvious part of the two article, that is about the copyright. Copyright is especially important when it relates to the works of art. Unfortunately, in China there is always ways pirate the copyright, from software to works of art. This is actually important wo show respect to the original author. Secondly, about the incredible forms that are possible for a single piece of art. In this case, a photo later on became a painting, an advertisement, a T-shirt, matchbox cover and even symbol of riot. That is far beyond my imagination. Therefore, if we think carefully about ideas to transform art, we may be able to create funny works. But do remember to ask for the permission, never ignore copyright. What is more, which does not have too many relations to the class. I am just astonished about the power of a symbol. The Molotov Man is just an ordinary people in the riot. However, when it was transformed into different things and therefore become a symbol. People all advocate that symbol which originally is only common. Last thing I wanna say, it is so funny when the author says that Pepsi was suing him. I always think the color on the bomb is like Pepsi. When I see the advertisement of Pepsi and this sentence, I just cannot hold my laughter. hhhhhhhhhh

Susie’s Reflection on ‚ÄúOn the Rights of the Molotov Man‚ÄĚ


As technology is developing, people love to post what they saw and enjoyed on the social network. At the same time, other people may share or download what you post. Do they copy your stuff? Someone may say to be not a copy unless you earn money through it. Or, someone may say to be not a copy unless another one says that this work is his. Besides it is difficult to review the origin of one work.




Response to On the Rights of Molotov Man

In the article, On the Rights of Molotov Man, Joy Garnett and Susan Meiselas wrote their experiences about the ‚ÄúMolotov Man‚ÄĚ and the copyright issue surrounding the use of the photo. Meiselas thinks that people like Garnett used her photo as a symbol without respecting the context of the person or the events involved. She thinks that Garnett only drew parts of her photo and ignored the meaning and emotion of the men in the work, which is really unacceptable. Basically, I can understand Meiselas, because when I was in a photographic exhibition, I was not only enjoying the amazing photos, but also like reading the instruction paper below the photos. In my opinion, visitors can know the stories behind the photo by those short words, and only in this way, they can know the feelings of the photographer.

Carol Guzy, Pulitzer prizes winner of breaking news photography, made an amazing photo in Haiti Earthquake. When I first saw his work, I just felt that people in it look sad and desperation. I had no idea what they were really doing. But after I read the instruction of this work, I knew that those people just suffered from Haiti earthquake and they were praying. I think I can see their hope and courage after noticing the background of it immediately. And those feelings may be the most important ones for Guzy to express.

Haiti Earthquake

(By Carol Guzy, http://www.vxiaoyuan.com/post/13132.html)

Back to the article, it’s really useful to know the story behind when you see a photo. Because photography is a tool for people to know the world they may not know before by photographer’s shot. A real background may give you a different feeling of the work, a more similar feeling to person who made it. And I think that is the real value of photography.


The Digital Age and Decontextualization

Somewhat related to the last reading’s concept of reproduction, the topic of “inspiration” is extremely dubious. When one piece inspires another, who can draw the line on how similar or different two pieces are? What level of similarly warrants a licensing fee, or even acknowledgement?

The case of the Molotov Man is fascinating as it extends far past an artists’ squabble and into the realm of morality. As is often the case whenever the media is involved, the piece lost its actual story while becoming a symbol of rebels.

One noteworthy quote was, “there is no denying in this digital age that images are increasingly dislocated and far more easily decontextualized. Technology allows us to do many things, but that does not mean we must do them.” As we fiddle with photoshop and bend the laws of possibility, we must remember what’s at risk: a truthful representation of our world. Fashion photography is already heavily criticized for creating unrealistic expectations of the body, but some photographers argue photoshop alterations are necessary to draw out the proper emotional reaction from viewers. So what is at the root of this problem?

Appropriation issue on the Internet

Appropriation of art on the internet is always a popular issue. Can we use photos by others without permission? Shall we pay for photos? As I know, it depends. For our students. it is always okay to use the photos and picture in our PPT for class without permission. And we never see cases that people charge students of their usage of photos. However, for any company ¬†or individual who uses photos for¬†commercial purposes, they must pay for the work of art. ¬†There’s copyright. So whether an appropriation is proper or not depends on the usage of photos. Free for education.

However, Susan Meiselas raises a more serious and deeper concern in Joy’s use of Molotov Man–when people misused Molotov Man, we might hurt the man in the photo. It is beyond the question of who owns the photo but about protection and respect for people in photos. Do we have the right to make fun of the people in photos by others? Absolutely, we don’t.

So we need to be careful when we use photos from the Internet. It seems that the Internet seduces us to use whatever we searches by its easy access but there is still limitations there. Attention: copyright and right to be respected.