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Superficially, the pages of both tend to convey information in similar ways: But is there a more fundamental way that we can understand each? In this post, I will look at how we read both architectural drawings and comics, based on my own understanding of how each works.
Rather, I will be taking a rather narrow look at architectural working drawings, and the commonalities and dissimilarities they share with comics.
I will also not be considering single-panel gag strips, as it is really the act of reading a page of comics that I am interested in for the purposes of this post. Site Plan and Floor Plans: The Wolf Residence, by Barton Myers Note that these architectural sheets are not from a construction set; rather, they are the metric system instructional drawings from Architectural Graphic Standards, and thus differ slightly from contract documents How We Read Architectural Drawings.
From a plan point of view, this usually entails starting with the site plan, then the building plan, plan enlargements, and plan details this ordering system also applies to sections, as well.
The benefit of this approach is that it allows the designer to identify important building elements that are focused on in more detail with each subsequent enlargement.
It is also possible to indicate elevations or sectional details on plans, and vice versa.
This is accomplished with a variety of identification tags and bubbles, conventional symbols that guide the reader to the appropriate page. Plan Enlargements, Interior Elevations, and Details from the Wolf Residence These pages are laid out in a grid of discreet drawings, each marked by an identification tag that marks the destination from the tags on the building-scale sheets.
The smaller the scale ie. Thus a site plan usually appears by itself, while details can be twenty-four or more to a page. A page of details is a holistic field of drawings, with no one frame given more weight than any other; this allows the casual observer to jump in at any point and understand that part of the building, while simultaneously denying them the opportunity to construct a narrative from the panels.
Architectural details from the Wolf Residence Unlike comics, architectural drawings cannot function as illustrations alone. Text is always required on these sheets, though it is necessarily descriptive, not narrative in nature.
These notes call out materials and processes ie. How We Read Comics Comics are, at their essence, a series of composed iconic pictograms organized in such a way as to allow a third party to mentally construct a narrative. As mentioned earlier, comics share some general organizational principles with architectural drawings: A page of comics typically adheres to a strict grid of individual drawings bounded by panel borders and separated by gutters negative space between the frames.
The direction of reading and the shape of panels need not be consistent as long as the narrative thrust is clear to the reader. Indonesian narrative scrolls that function like comics Body World, by Dash Shaw But how do we know how to read a comic?
We seem to inherently want to read panel-to-panel in the same way we read prose: Navigating a comics page is a learned skill, one that is arrived at through trial and error often as a child, desperately trying to decipher a page of Bone or Tintin.
And how are we able to interpret the pictograms on the page: Perhaps this too stems from our childhoods, and our own artistic inability to accurately depict the world around us; with our unskilled hands, we can only illustrate an over-simplification of what we see with our eyes.
Architectural drawings are not as intuitively understood. I would hazard to say that it is these very comics-decoding skills that would enable the casual observer to decipher a set of construction documents. As has been mentioned previously, one of the primary features of the comics page is a bias towards narrative momentum.
This generally involves the perception of time by the reader. This is manifestly different than an architectural set, where time is not a consideration in the drawings themselves.
Rather, this points to the fundamental difference between these two modes of visual communication: Narrative in architecture does not come into play until the drawings are read, understood, and constructed; buildings are meant to be experienced in four dimensions, not two-dimensionally on paper.
So all of this begs the question — why bring this up at all if these two art forms are so fundamentally different? How does architecture — on paper — relate to comics? Is there an approach to reading architectural drawings that can be applied to comics?
However, I find that these illustrations stray somewhat from the practice of architecture as discussed in this essay. Rabbit Head, by Rebecca Dart There are examples of cartoonists who are keen to play with the formal aspects of comics in such a way that their work begins to resemble modes of reading architectural drawings.
Rabbit Head is a relatively standard comic, but one with a peculiar method of reading:These are the most important elements to remember when it comes to description: The reader needs description to paint the picture of a location or scene in their head, but too much bogs down the story, slows the pace and detracts from the forward movement of the plot.
The Most Important Elements of a Descriptive Essay The purpose of descriptive essays, as the name implies, is to describe a person, place, or thing to the reader. Listed below are the three most important elements of a descriptive essay.
A comprehensive, coeducational Catholic High school Diocese of Wollongong - Albion Park Act Justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God Micah Any time you refer to, comment on, paraphrase, or quote another writer’s information, you must document this in your essay through the use of a citation.
A descriptive essay allows you to paint a picture for your reader in words. Watch this video to learn more about the techniques and elements that can help you fill the picture with lots of great.
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