DesignFormComic Style
Comic Style
Iconic Style
Scott McCloud describes an iconic scale with received information at one end and perceived information at the other. Received information can be understood without much formal education. It tends to be naturalistic, detailed drawings. Perceived information requires specialized knowledge to decode language’s abstract symbols. At the extreme side of the scale, perceived icons are esoteric, elaborate language.
Comics tend to fall in the middle of this iconic scale. They are a mix of symbolic, iconic pictures and direct, simple language.
Iconic Scale, Understanding Comics, p. 49.
Stylistic Pyramid
Another tool Scott McCloud describes to understand comics (and visual communication in general) is a stylistic pyramid. Many comic styles can be placed within the pyramid’s three points of ‘picture plane’, ‘reality’ and ‘meaning’. McCloud defines ‘picture plane’ as non-iconic abstraction. Objects at the top of the picture plane would be simple, geometric shapes, lines and colors that do not refer to something in the physical world. Images in the area of ‘reality’ are naturalistic renderings of physical objects. And images in the ‘meaning’ realm are iconic and/or symbolic. Words also fall into the ‘meaning’ section of the pyramid.
The three corners of the pyramid, ‘picture plane’, ‘reality’ and ‘meaning’ are respectively linked to the areas of art, nature and ideas.