As I started out in my research, I feel that I may have perhaps cast too wide a net. I was originally drawn to the idea of studying silent comics. My approach to my research was quite practical in so much as I identified key text books and articles to read and these readings in turn lead me to new discoveries. I soon discovered however that the spectrum which this information covered was too broad to explore completely or meaningfully in the time I had available to me, not least due to the fact that the study of silent comics can lead to number of grey areas.
My initial research began with a sweeping look at the history and theory of silent comics, it became apparent to me however that I needed change my method and refine my focus. To this end I decided to focus my research on contemporary comic artists who’s work interested me. I also settled that it wasn’t entirely important to focus solely on silent artists but to understand how contemporary comic artists might use silence within their work.
By focusing on a smaller number of artists I felt I was beginning to get more from my research as it allowed to note the similarities and differences in their thought processes, methods and approaches to their work. I also felt it was interesting to look at these artists side by side and to try to pick out the common threads that make them interesting to me. I could then hopefully introduce some of these threads to my own work. The slight concern I had in this regard was that in doing so my work may be deemed in some way derivative. I resolved however that the work of these artists is inspirational to me as it rings through with the values that I hold and the type of aesthetic I favour. Although the artists I studied shared common elements within their aesthetic they each managed to retain very unique styles which were instantly identifiable.
I found it surprising to learn that both Jason (Norwegian) and Joan Cornellá (Spainish) began, in part, creating silent comics as a method of bypassing their native countries where they felt there wasn’t an audience for their work. The idea of transcending language in this way appeals to me especially in a time where their is huge potential to reach wider audiences via social media and online sharing.
Another learning which really surprised me, and initially I found myself disagreeing with, was an expression by Jason that he doesn’t really feel that a comic artist should start to develop their comic by choosing a message or a theme. He feels that creating an entertaining story is the goal and any deeper meaning is byproduct. I found this liberating to read from an artist that I have always found great depth in, as I know that I have bogged myself down in procrastination in the past by asking myself “What am I trying to say with this piece?”.
The biggest learning I found in my research is that I need to be more focused in my approach. There is a part of me that will always want to read one more book or learn one more thing before getting started. Innately I know where my interests lie and I need to trust my gut in regards to my work. In order facilitate this I need to narrow the scopes at times and set myself clear cut offs.