Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ch5 Saccades and Superheroes

Plugging away at Chapter 5, addressing the imagination as way of seeing. (I posted the opening to the Chapter here.) Given that the entire work is taking up the ways in which we see as metaphors for how we think and how we learn, for this chapter I want to explore the link between perception and imagination. I'd almost introduced saccadic motion in the previous chapter, but it didn't quite work, and it fit neatly into what I was exploring here. Briefly, saccades are the rapid movements are eyes make several times a second, where they fix on a target and then zip off and focus on another. As Pelaprat and Cole (and others) surmise, it is the imagination that fills in the gaps, that creates a seamless whole from all these disconnected fragments. (I recommend their article "Minding the Gaps", which also discusses Scott McCloud's idea of the gaps in comics! It's available in its entirety here.) (Also, I did discuss saccadic motion in a piece I did a few years back, coincidentally titled "Mind the Gaps" as well.) Anyhow, I wanted to draw the link between the work on eye movements, touched off by Alfred L. Yarbus, and transform the map of tracked eye movements into a picture. I did my best to estimate the sequence of movements Yarbus had tracked and overlaid them on a rather famous face, and proceeded to draw sixty separate little squares from there, before building it up into the single image at bottom. As a side note, I'd like to see this animated, with the map of movements alongside the developing picture. Perhaps...

Also, what's a chapter on Imagination without words from Maxine Greene? Well, she's actually on the page prior, which I didn't post, though the words on this page "to encounter" reach back to what I cited "Is it not imagination that allows us to encounter the other as disclosed through the image of that other's face?" The reason for using this famous face here, is also a call back to Maxine's passage. Click here for my comic on Maxine.

The second excerpt here (and note that these are not consecutive pages), is a rare directly personal note in this narrative, (a previous one introduced my dog's sense of smell as a way of seeing). Here I give Lockerman, the superhero I created in junior high, a brief cameo, to discuss a different aspect of the imagination, and eventually these seemingly separate views will weave together. He appeared also briefly in my piece "Bi(bli)ography" and some similar themes will crop up here. And what's a dissertation if you can't draw at least one superhero in it!? A curious note, in his earliest outings, Lockerman often referred to his rather outlandish headgear as originating from a windmill he'd met, and despite my not having read Quixote at the time, those early adventures were rather Quixotic. Also, I'm frequently asked what my next project will be after the dissertation - to which I occasionally respond - to draw a superhero comic. While that may not end up being the case, it's fun to revisit an old friend. Onward - Nick 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ch5 Pointland plus Rumpus

So I'm plugging away on drawing Chapter Five, and wanted to share a little preview.  In this excerpt, we make a return to EA Abbott's Flatland, which was initially introduced in the Interlude between Ch1 and Ch2, and has subsequently been referenced throughout. But I'm using this two-dimensional world here, and the even more bizarre situation of the zero-dimensional realm of Pointland as a way of introducing this chapter that takes up the imagination. You'll see a call back as well to the earlier definition of unflattening, and the symbol for it, which was first introduced in Ch2, emerging from thinking of Eratosthenes's calculation of the circumference of the earth.

Also, my recent NYComics Symposium talk, alongside cartoonist and author of Iron Bound, Brendan Leach, was written up by terrific artist Andrea Tsurumi, for the ongoing feature on the symposium on the Rumpus - check it out here. (Past talks here.) It was a great night at the symposium, Brendan's talk featured live music from the soundtrack accompanying his graphic novel, and I had some of the most engaging questions I've had - i'm still thinking about! If you're in NYC, definitely recommend coming by for a symposium session sometime.

Ok, Chapter Five isn't going to draw itself, and I need to start on Ch6 in a few days... Onward - Nick

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Classes and Symposium talk

I'm pleased to report that this spring I'll be teaching my comics for educators course once again, at Teachers College, Columbia U. This will be the fourth time we've offered this course, and each one has been a rewarding experience and I'm eager to connect with the next group of students. We talk theory, explore a range of titles, authors, and genres, all while doing a lot of hands-on making. Ultimately my students create plans for what they'll do using comics (and visual thinking more broadly) with their students in their own classrooms and other educational contexts. I find it rather amazing to have begun my own post-highschool education at a time when doing comics was definitely not something one did in school, and to now be working with teachers to integrate comics into their classrooms (and then there's the matter of dissertation as well). It's a sea change and exciting times! For more info about the class, please see the wiki I maintain, which is full of resources around comics and education. While it was made to serve the class, I've made the resources available for anyone out there interested in similarly incorporating comics into education. Check it out!

At the same time, I'll be once again teaching the Reading Graphic Novels course at Parsons. I had a wonderful crew of students for my first time there last spring, and thrilled to be back again. As the title indicates, this class is more focused on getting to know a lot of texts - but at the same time, I've had them make creative responses to each of the works we've read (many of which we've then shared with the authors themselves - including Ellen Forney, David Small, and Art Spiegelman). For their finals, they went in all sorts of directions that connected comics to their personal work interests - and produced some terrific projects, which I plan to share here in the near future. (This is potentially my last time teaching at these particular institutions, due to that little thing called graduating - and being encouraged to leave the nest, or find another home. But, I look forward to bringing this work to a new home in the coming year.) 

Also, next monday, November 25, I'll be presenting on my dissertation at the 68th meeting of the NY Comics and Picture-Stories Symposium. This weekly meet up was set in motion by legendary New York cartoonist Ben Katchor, and i was fortunate to attend the first session and ended up presenting the next meeting. As a comics-maker in academia - I end up talking comics to a lot of folks for whom comics are a new thing, so attending this symposium frequently over the last year and a half has been a wonderful opportunity to expand my cohort and get to know and learn from a wide range of established and emerging cartoonists/artists/scholars. Brooklyn cartoonist Brendan Leach will be speaking the first hour about his new book "Iron Bound" from Secret Acres press (which includes a super-cool flexi-disk audio soundtrack to accompany his gritty tale of Jersey street gangs in the early 60s). I'll be sharing images and talking ideas on comics and perception as a way of thinking from my dissertation. For a little overview of some of this, I recently made a poster for a conference out of clips from the dissertation accompanied by additional narration. Please note, this poster is not my dissertation - it's simply a poster! If you want to see the comics pages from the dissertation itself - please click the "dissertation" tab/label at the upper right.

NY Comics Symposium meets Monday, November 25th at 7pm at Parsons, the New School. Hope to see some of you there! - Nick

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ch4 Finished

Chapter Four is finished!! After Chapter Three dealt heavily with the distinction between visual and verbal modes, and some theorizing on the capacities of the comics form, this chapter dealt with perception, how drawing works, the creative process in general (and mine more particularly), and sought to expand the notion of what thinking is. I've only shared little excerpts from it here and here, and going forward in my sprint to the finish - that'll likely continue to be the case. You can get a little overview of the whole project in the poster I made for the Oxford Illustration conference (also shared again below). 

The first excerpt here, takes on some of the specifics of my conception of my creative process. This was somewhat discussed earlier in regards to the genesis of the Spin/Weave/Cut logo, and I delve a bit deeper into it colliding ideas about DJ process, weaving, and DNA. I was stuck (for a couple weeks) finishing a page about how the creative process takes on a life of its own, until reflecting on the ultrasound I'd seen of our expectant arrival, I made a sketch from that that just made all the other pieces come together. And demonstrated what I was trying to force all that time. Thus, at T- 5 months, my unborn daughter has already made an appearance in the dissertation - and made an essential contribution to the work! And hence, the race to finish by February! (The next chapter delves into the imagination - excited to play in this material.) Onward! - Nick 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oxford Squared Science and Arts

So this week, I'm excited to be (sort of) in two places and specifically two Oxfords at once! 

Physically, I'll be traveling to the annual gathering of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) - taking place this year at the University of Miami, in Oxford, Ohio. At the same time, a small excerpt from my dissertation and a poster about the work, will be my proxies at the 4th International Illustration Symposium at Oxford University in the UK. (Btw, for folks in the UK, I did an interview with Varoom magazine over there recently.)

Both gatherings are around similar themes - and both hew very close to what I'm doing in my work. AIS is focusing on "Integrating Arts and Sciences" and features a keynote by, among others, science writer Carl Zimmer, whose writing I've greatly enjoyed. (He also wrote about comics theorist Neil Cohn and the "Charlie Brown effect" for Discover Magazine.) The Illustration Symposium's theme is "Science, Imagination, and the Illustration of Knowledge." The program features a strong list of speakers sharing work that crosses borders between art and science.

My poster offers an overview of the terrain the dissertation explores and what I'll be speaking on, and includes some elements from Chapter Four, on perception and drawing which have not appeared on my site. Additionally, I thought I would repost some links to past pages that thematically tie into these two gatherings. While pretty much all of my work is interdisciplinary in nature, I have done a few specifics pieces dealing with the concept of interdisciplinarity as a process. First for the AIS newsletter, two small pieces, "the importance of seeing double", and then again for a later issue on "New Maps." Both of these were later reworked and rewoven as part of Chapter Two of the dissertation and can be seen here.

Also, sharing some of my more science-focused pages, also from Chapter Two - which in its entirety deals with thinking about interdisciplinary processes. I ground my idea on unflattening around parallax and Eratosthenes's means of calculated the circumference of the earth over 2000 years ago. The change that Copernicus brought by removing the earth from the center of the earth is a pivotal page to the dissertation as well. Finally, from Chapter Three, a page specifically about how comics weave together sequential and simultaneous modes of awareness, as suggested by the work of Iain McGilchrist. Oh, and since I always like to share the page about my dog, from Chapter two about sense of smell as another means of perception.

All for now. Thanks - Nick 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Varoom, Drawing, Comics Research Roundup

While I'm about to finish up Chapter Four - racing towards a spring finish/defense (!), I wanted to share a brief excerpt from that chapter and some other news and musings.

First up, delighted to be featured in the UK's Varoom illustration magazine, in their Autumn issue. Varoom's John O'Reilly did a lengthy interview with me on visual scholarship, the challenges of doing this thing in comics form, and more. There's a teaser online, and folks in the UK can pick up the print edition there. Hoping to see the article soon myself! (For other interviews, click the "interview" tab to the right.)

Last week, I participated in the Thinking through Drawing conference at Teachers College - organized by drawing researchers in the UK and my colleague at TC Andrea Kantrowitz. Great gathering - really challenging what drawing means and how we use it in our lives. My current chapter is all about drawing - so this was a good chance to share the work with an audience immersed in this work and have the opportunity to learn from them. The excerpt from Ch4 here, addresses drawing as a way of thinking - as part of a larger discussion seeking to broaden our conception of what thinking means. (Also, this page reworks elements from an earlier short piece on sketching from a few years back - you can compare here.)  

Finally, we were fortunate to have in attendance, Yoon Bahk,  designer and founder of Design Can Do, instructor at the Royal College of Art in the UK, and graphic facilitator extraordinaire. She made sketchnotes of talks all days of the conference, and I was pleased to see her take on my talk - and amazed at how she kept up with the flurry of images and ideas i brought out in the 15 minutes i presented! I share her piece here.

In other news, a couple weeks back, i was featured in an article on hybrid pedagogy in academia as an example of models for new rigor in scholarship. I appreciate being embraced by communities exploring alternative forms of scholarship and excited to see all the possibilities that are blossoming in academia. See the article by Sean Michael Morris, Pete Rorabaugh, and Jesse Stommel and other examples here

In the spirit of alternative forms of scholarship and practice-based work, I thought I'd start to compile a list of some others traveling down somewhat similar avenues. Since my Chronicle interview came out a year and a half ago, i've gotten to know some such fellow travelers. This is what i'm sure is a fraction of the list and perhaps I'll expand on this going forward, and also welcome others to reach out... 

First up, Jarod Roselló, doing his doctorate at Penn State. Jarod and I have known each other for a while and presented together (at AERA)and have plans for further joint talks. Jarod is a terrific cartoonist and educator, gets his writing students to make comics and runs a cartooning club for students. Jarod shared this about his work:
This dissertation explores the possibilities cartooning presents for re-imagining pedagogy, through the construction of an original, fictional 200-page comic as the primary act of research. The margins of the comic are annotated with classroom narratives, arts-based educational theory, comics theory, and curriculum theory as they intersect with, and diverge from, the comic. I use my own cartooning practices to explore the relationship between making comics and knowing and the ways this process opens new possibilities for teaching and learning. 
See Jarod's site here.

I just connected to Muna Al-Jawad, a medical doctor in the UK, who does practitioner research, in which she uses comics as a research method. She's in the process of figuring out if she'll do her academic doctorate in the realm of geriatric medicine entirely in comics or part comics/part text. You can see her work here - and cheer her on to do it in all comics! 

Professor Stephanie Jones and doctoral student James Woglom of the University of Georgie are collaborating on research articles on education in comics form. I know that James may end up doing his own thesis work in comics form as well. You can see an abstract for a paper of theirs here.

I'm familiar with the work of Damian Duffy doing his doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne - he's created a lot of pieces and exhibitions advocating for comics as research. Not sure the nature of his dissertation work - need to find out. See more on Damian and his work here

I was struck by a comics theorizing comic by John Miers, doctoral candidate at Central St. Martin College Art & Design, University of the Arts, London and have since gotten to know him and his work a bit. He's done some really interesting research pieces in comics form and you can see some of his work here. Also check out this interview (with Paul Gravett) on a collaborative comics exhibition he organized and the theoretical framework behind it - very cool.

Going back in time, (now) Dr. Jason Helms finished his doctorate in 2009 at Clemson University, and his work both theorized on comics and sections of it were done in comics form. From his abstract: 
This dissertation combines Gregory Ulmer’s post-criticism with multimodal composition resulting in a work that critiques the medium of comics in comics format. Six traditional text chapters forge a theoretical and practical foundation; punctuated within and without by occasional visual interludes and three comic sections. I advocate teaching multimodal composition through comics’ interplay of image and text.
There's an excerpt of Jason's dissertation online here.

Rachel Marie-Crane Williams is a professor at the University of Iowa presenting much of her research along social justice lines in comics form. You can see her work here. (Rachel and I both contributed articles to the Journal of Visual Arts Research special issue on comics.)

Since posting this, Gareth Morris brought to my attention his collaborative graphic novel "Somewhere Nowhere: Lives without Homes" a research work on homelessness. Learn more here.

I should also mention Roger Whitson and Anastasia Salter's special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly, with a focus on Comics as Scholarship - which is forthcoming. I'm thinking that will draw out some other people working along these lines.

Likely as I expand this list, I'll include it on the wiki I have for my comics education course: (And if i'm missing folks - please feel free to put in the comments or email me - see sidebar for address.) On that note, i will be teaching mycourse again at Teachers College in the spring as well as the readings course at Parsons. More on all that later. Ok, back to the drawing board! - Nick 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Another minimalist page, part of a five-page sequence segueing from my pages on perception (one of which I put up here) to talking about how drawing works. As mentioned last time, I'll be sharing shorter excerpts going forward as I race to get this finished by spring! This page came out of thinking about the origins of drawing, that we we first recognized images in naturally made marks before making them with intention. As Ernest Gombrich said in Art and Illusion - "Making comes before matching." The border images are all various tracks and marks - my mom helped me out by finding images from books about animal tracks - and some of those shown here come from A Field Guide to Animal Tracks by Olaus J. Murie, Tracks and Trailcraft by Ellsworth Jaeger, and A Guide to Animal Tracking and Behavior by Donald and Lillian Stokes. Images depicted include mouse in the snow, turtle in sand, bear claw swipe, turkey wing impressions, earth worm trails, rolling rocks, rivers and more. Fertile terrain to revisit - Da Vinci advised artists to look to clouds, stains, and cracks in the wall for inspiration (which I mentioned in my piece on sketching here) and that rings true with looking at marks.

The rest of the sequence (not pictured) drew on works including Rudolf Arnheim's classic Art and Visual Perception, books on metaphor and embodied thinking by George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, and Rafael Núñez, and Molly Bang's Picture This - which I can't recommend highly enough. A wonderful book on how pictures work made entirely of cutouts and constructing a scene from Little Red Riding Hood. I use it in my teaching all the time, and it's at the heart of an exercise I do about drawing for non-drawers. (You can see some participant drawings from the exercise and if you're patient, I describe it in my talk at Microsoft - all available at this post.)

Onward! - Nick 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not a Game

While I'm plugging away on Chapter Four (you can see the finale to Chapter Three here, and the opening excerpt from the current chapter here), current discussions around war got me thinking about the page from "Possibilities," my 2006 comic on games that takes up the subject. It's not an attempt to offer answers, but perhaps a pause for reflection.

I've only shared a few pages previously from this comic including the "Rabbit" page (and its key) here. It was originally created as the essay for the exhibition Game Show Detroit and rereleased for the follow up exhibition (and conference) Game Show NYC. Here, I've included two pages, the first on "rules" applied more broadly to culture and the second on war as a loss of possibilities.

I thought I'd partner these pages with a previously shared excerpt from Chapter Two of the dissertation, taking up the importance of multiple perspectives and Lakoff and Johnson's reframing of argument as dance rather than argument as war. Perhaps today, gulfs of mutual incomprehension will be bridged and new possibilities for going forward reached. - Nick

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New Horizons

I'm in the midst of drawing Chapter Four - in which I deal specifically with perception and discussions around drawing as a form of discovery. If Chapter Three dealt with the distinction between text and image, and comics as a means of uniting modes, this puts it all into practice. For various reasons, I may be sharing less pages going forward as I race to the finish line, but wanted to share a single, rather minimal page that sets up the chapter here.
Related, somewhat, Remi Holden doctoral student at UW-Madison recently gave a keynote talk at the Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of Michigan. (Remi and I are connected through Fred Goodman, who's been a mentor and influential in my work around games - including the rabbit page.) Remi had asked to use a page from the dissertation, and it turns out he made this page from the Flatland Interlude about "a rupture of experience" the central metaphor of his talk. The themes of that page are echoed in the "breach" that this current page talks about. Besides dissecting my page (roughly from minutes 6 to 10), Remi gives a powerful and inspiring talk around possibilities for education, and I highly recommend checking it out. I learned a lot and it gave me a good deal of insight into and ideas for my own work. (If you really want to hear me talk about the work, the Microsoft talk was recorded and transcribed.

Thanks for listening and following along. Look for new updates as I can. Have a great August! - Nick 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Microsoft Video VSA Drawing

A month or so back, I gave a talk at Microsoft Research to accompany the exhibition of excerpts from my dissertation. (I posted images from the show here.) They recorded the talk, as it was also being streamed to Microsoft employees not physically in attendance, and they've now kindly put the talk together with slides and a transcript! If you're up for seeing and listening to me in action - you can check out the video courtesy of Microsoft research here. (A live-blog of it can be found here.)

I made an image-text version of a talk from last summer and that's available here. My talks over the past few years have really helped me organize my thinking for the dissertation, and have fed where I'm going. In turn, as i make new pages, those end up feeding my talks. It's been an energizing feedback process. By clicking on the dissertation tab at the right, you can get up to speed with pages from the dissertation itself. Including the finale to Chapter Three, which is the heart of my theorizing on comics.

Also, more recently I had the opportunity to be the opening keynote speaker for the Visitor Studies Association's annual conference in Milwaukee. Had an absolute blast, welcoming group all around, and was thrilled to get all of the nearly 200 folks gathered that morning to make comics with me! It's an exercise I made up that approaches spatially organizing a comics page in an abstract sense that I call "Grids and Gestures." Without going into detail, it asks the maker to think about carving up a sheet of paper into forms that represent the shape of their day. In the process, it's designed to help challenge and open up what it means to draw. Some time soon, I'll get together something more shareable about it. (I go into it in some detail in the final third of the Microsoft video). Anyhow, a few pictures from what attendees made below.

Finally, I was pleased to get a kind nod in The Atlantic's 1book140 August reading group focus on graphic novels. This August, they'll be reading and discussing on twitter some key graphic novels, and shared my recent page on multimodality as a way of introducing comics. The article was by Nate Matias who also live-blogged the talk at Microsoft here.

Deep into Chapter 4 at the moment. Onward! - Nick

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

VSA Keynote & roundup...

This week, I'm off to Milwaukee to give the opening keynote for the Visitors Studies Association annual conference "Where Innovation Meets Rigor." I'll be discussing my dissertation and comics as a means of presenting complex information and ideas with clarity and without reducing their complexity.

Recently, Brett Terpstra interviewed me for his 5by5 systematic podcast. We talk comics, education, and philosophy - and his treadmill for his standing desk!

Also, French comics scholar Nicolas Labarre wrote an article discussing comics as a form of research that offers a look at my dissertation work within that emerging field. It's in French - for those that can read it - and there's a handy translate button that gives a rough approximation in English. 

A couple weeks back, MIT doc student Nate Matias live-blogged my Microsoft Research talk, you can see what he wrote up here. And I posted images and reflections about the MSR exhibition in this post

Finally, I finished Chapter Three last week! See the final pages and the full Chapter here.

Excited about how Chapter Four is starting to take shape and looking forward to having more to share soon. Stay cool out there - Nick 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ch3 Finale

At long last, Chapter Three is complete! Although it's overall structure/length stayed more or less the same from my initial notes, this chapter just kept growing on me in complexity as I got deeper into it. This second half of the chapter was all about how comics work - and in this metacommentary approach - which is easy enough to do when i can point to existing comics as examples, here I kept having to invent page structures and little narratives within the main discussion that demonstrated what i was exploring. 

Anyhow, a little bit about the two new pages here. The first, dealing with the architectonic nature of a comics page - in some ways sums up most of what i've done over all the chapters and hints at where i'm going. The opening panel reprises text from the beginning of Ch3, while the imagery harkens back to the page on the Enlightenment from Ch2. The second "panel" or block of panels really - conflates the imagery from Ch1 with reflections on text and sequential thinking from earlier in the chapter. And that final block in the top row weaves together the pages on simultaneity and distinct types of awareness also from earlier in the chapter. One important note about this page - it's about how the organizational structure of the page conveys essential meaning - and as such it's one where i designed the structure before I knew what went in ANY of the panels. This is not a terribly uncommon practice for me - but usually I start with at least some semblance of what is entailed within. Here - the spaces suggested images, which then prompted corresponding text, and so far in a feedback cycle. A final note - besides wanting to verbally and visually reference Chris Ware, I was also thinking of some of the space cutting layouts Frank Quitely has done. When I ended up thinking of Alice's dismissal "you're nothing but a pack of cards," that led me to Quitely's collage imagery from "Flex Mentallo" which I'm definitely referencing for that final right corner. The last page reworks ideas and images from my earlier journal piece The Shape of Our Thoughts, of which much of this chapter builds on - including the name. 
I've reposted below the previously posted pages constituting the second half of Ch3 that take up my theorizing on comics so they can be easily read in sequence, though you can dig through older posts to get a little more background on the pages. Also, you can get the whole chapter by starting with part one "amphibious refraction" here and then "where words fail" which leads immediately to this lengthy final sequence. Pleased to have this chapter behind me - so I can start work on Chapter Four - now! Thanks for following along, Nick

Monday, July 1, 2013

Microsoft Exhibition Wrap

Back from an amazing trip in Seattle and sharing a little update on all that went on in the exhibition and talk at Microsoft Research - Building 99. A huge thank you to Microsoft Research, the folks behind the Studio 99 space, and especially the beyond generous support, enthusiasm, and patronage from MSR's Donald Brinkman. If coolness is defined as going to all lengths to support the realization of things that  you find exciting and important and believe should exist in the world - Donald is the epitome of cool. It's a terrific space - consisting of a good expanse of wall space for the printed work, a series of columns composed of video screens to display more work, two large monitors, and a long bar/table with a plexiglass top under which we displayed reproductions of my process sketches showing the development of several of the individual pages. As someone who spent many years writing about exhibitions and has organized a good number of exhibitions over the years - it was an absolute treat to be on the other side of things, and I'm extremely grateful for the exceedingly rare opportunity of this sort of venue and all the ways of sharing the work the space offered. 

The work was printed and framed there, so I arrived only having to arrange it and hang it. In the midst of laying it out, I felt like we had a strong opening sequence, especially focusing on the darkness of the first chapter that tapered to a little less oomph with the remaining work. Donald was kind enough to on the spot make a giant, oversized print of the page featuring my dog and sense of smell as way of seeing, which really balanced it all out and made a powerful impact visually and thematically. Doubly pleased to see my lost friend up in my first solo exhibition. (I was rather occupied during the opening, so all my shots come from long after it was over - MSR had photos taken then, which I hope to share a bit of later.) An additional note, it was quite a surprising treat to see the work printed and framed. As a comics maker, I think of comics as something to be read, held in hand - and I was really struck by how they came out. The composition roughly followed the sequence of the dissertation (though obviously with lots of gaps), so one could walk through the exhibition and get a sense of how the narrative unfolds.

As I mentioned earlier, besides the printed work, the space offered two large columns composed of video screens, and I'd designed slices from the work to match the displays, which then cycled through a sequence - making for a different sort of way of seeing the work and allowing access to far more of it than we could otherwise have on view. It was pretty neat for me to assemble the process sketches under plexiglass and reconstruct my own thinking for others to follow and see the final result. We also set up two moveable walls on which I made sketches with dry erase markers - one, showing a rough outline of my thinking on comics from my talk and the other, a layout of the current page I'm working on in progress (which will be posted soon, soon). On the freestanding video monitors we showed credits for the show and on the other had on loop the animation/teaser trailer of the dissertation put together by my student Bryan Ribeiro. You can view that video, which focuses mostly on the first trailer, here

The lecture was fun and we had the good fortune of having in attendance MIT doc student J. Nathan Matias who live-blogged during the talk, and posted his summary here. It was recorded and live-streamed to MS employees. I'll share here if that stream becomes available. Near the end of the talk, I took the audience through a comics-making exercise I call "grids and gestures" which reconsiders what drawing is by thinking about the composition of a single comics page as orchestrating the shape of one's day. (I need to publish some instructions on this down the road, so it's more easily shareable). They created some great and quite diverse works - adding to the discussion and thinking on the comics form. A few of the samples were added to a wall alongside the exhibition - which I think made a lovely complement to the work and my larger argument for comics as a powerful tool for thought. Attendees to the talk all got signed copies of a booklet/excerpting work from the dissertation, and copies will be on hand for all attendees of the exhibition. A cool added bonus to the whole experience. 

Anyhow, thanks to Donald and all who made this possible. Thanks for all the support I received from afar while this was going on. It was a fantastic experience all around. And now - back to drawing! Chapter Three is about to be finished and Chapter Four awaits! - Thanks, Nick 

Vide column display
Video Column display

View from the atrium of columns, process table, and prints

View of the space and atrium of building 99 from third floor 
Donald Brinkman and me
left outline of comics capacity, rt layout of new pg...

the process table

compiled sketches from the comics-making exercise