First Person – Graphic Novel – 19.11.19

Throughout the day we had various lectures and workshops to help us develop our ideas and understanding about creating a graphic novel. These were all very helpful and enabled me to start thinking further into how I could create the novel.

Lecture 1 

The first lecture (2019) was about Visual Storytelling- Sequential Narrative Forms. In this lecture Duncan talked about the different ways of showing a sequential narrative. From this I learnt that there were three main categories for this; linear, non-linear and unconventional (anti narrative). These are all ways of telling a narrative but each one used a different approach.

Linear Narrative – Has a beginning middle and end in the timeline order. This type of narrative is to replicate human experience, everyday has a beginning middle and end, it’s familiar to us. This chronological way of story telling is most common the one that you would find in most of the books. It’s seamless and orientated for the reader/viewer, meaning that they don’t really have to think about it.

Non-Linear Narrative – This form of narrative also has the structure beginning, middle and end however, it breaks chronology. For example it might show the end of the story before it shows the beginning. This type of narrative requires a more active viewer, to ensure that the story is understood. In order for the viewer to know that there a change in time, the creator must indicate this, potentially changing the aesthetics to do this. Where as a Linear Narrative replicates human experience, non-linear replicas human memory, so it’s somewhat familiar to the viewer.

Unconventional Forms – We spoke about two approaches montage theory and anti – narrative. Anti- narrative was inspired by surrealism, focusing on attention to the narrative’s construction and relationship between sequence and audience. For example you might be reading the story when suddenly the creator/author addresses you (the reader) creating shock, it reminds you that what you are reading isn’t real it made-up.

We also spoke about the showing narrative structure visually, as this is what we will need to do in our graphic novels. We talked about keeping them all stylistically similar unless indicating a change in time. Each image must bind together and infer meaning for the one before. The other interesting aspect that a graphic novel offers compared to film is the ability to revisit frames from before. This would allow the viewer to opportunity to revisit something that they might need to look at again. To see this we looked at the work of Duane Michals – who creates these small narratives using photography. We looked at his work the Fallen Angel (1968) which highlighted to me that you can show a story without the use of words simply and effectively. This is something that I might consider doing for my own novel.


Furthermore we also looked at the work of Marc – Antoine Mathieu who showed 3 seconds of someones life in his photography. It was like he’d showed down the 3 seconds down so that you could see everything all the tiny details that were in the images. This is something that I might use within my novel to show the smallest detail of someones day but how different it is showing detail.

Mathieu, M. (2011) 3 Seconds

Artist Special Books Collection. 

We also had the chance yesterday to visit the artist special books collection in the Cardiff Met Library. This was an opportunity for us to see how some graphic novelist had put their books together, what mediums they had used, it was an opportunity to see similarities and differences. It seemed that a lot of the graphic novels in the collection used bright, bold neon colours, this is something that I could consider in my own work as I want my graphic novel to stand out by still appear to the audience. Furthermore, I thought that there was a larger majority of images that were illustrative, but there were still photography being used. I have had my mind set of using photography within my novel as this is best for me however, it might be interesting to consider having a mixture of photography and illustrative elements. From seeing the books in the collection it has given me a lot of ideas about how I can develop my own graphic novel further.

Lecture 2 

In the afternoon we had a seminar from Dan Anthony (2019) on Creative writing for narrative. This was again really helpful because it allowed me to think more about how to structure my own graphic novel. He talked about time being important as the creator/writer we are the masters of time within the story, we decide time scales. He also talked about structure being very important, and further reiterated what Duncan had said in the morning about having a beginning middle and end to the narrative.

We completed a task where we had to find a narrative within an image. He showed us the Fall of Icarus by Pieter Bruegel (1555), but he didn’t tell us the title to start of with only asked us to find a narrative in the image. We then shared these narratives and it was interesting to see that everybody had used different characters within the image to create a different narrative nobody’s was the same. This tasked showed that images do really have a story within them, and everybody interpretations are different.

Bruegel, P. (1555) The Fall of Icarus. [Painting]  

Mathieu M. (2011) 3 Seconds. [Graphic Novel] [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2019)
Michals, D. (1968) Fallen Angel. [Gelatin Silver Prints] Akron Art museum, Ohio, Online Collection [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2019)
Bruegel, P. (1555) The Fall of Icarus. [Painting] 20th Century Collection, Royal Museums of Fine Sets of Belgium. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2019)
Cook, D. (2019) Visual Storytelling, Sequential Narrative Forms. [Lecture to Level 5 Field Project ADZ5888_19 Class] 19 November.
Anthony, D. (2019) Creative Writing. [Seminar to Level 5 Field Project ADZ5888_19 Class] 19 November.

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