Monday, November 4, 2013

Frames

Stitches, as a graphic novel has shown me that there are certain aspects of the story that are impossible to describe using just words. A standard novel leaves a lot of the imagery open to interpretation for the reader. Stitches manages to convey a lot of emotion using it's illustrations and leaves little open for interpretation. On my first read-through of Stitches, I barely paid attention to the illustrations and just focused on the words. I went back a re-read it, paying much closer attention to all the illustrations. I came away with almost an entirely different story. The art style, the size of the frames, the coloring, the organization all contribute to the story. I will talk about art style and and coloring later in the Images post. The sizing and the organization, however, were incredibly descriptive in a way much subtler than what I'm used to reading.
Any time an event is overwhelming for David or a particularly emotionally draining moment, the frame is big and draws a lot of attention to show how meaningful it is to David. The size of the image on 190 is important because it represents a new defining feature for David. He doesn't know how to react to his new appearance and is naturally frightened. Another example of this is on 58 and 59 when the bullies see him and start chasing him. David was obviously overwhelmed and scared by these older kids and it is conveyed through a larger frame.
More than just overwhelming, it can also show how meaningful a certain event can be for David. Page 63 is significant because it shows David's doodles as a form of escapism. It portrays him crawling through a tunnel to go play with all his creations and it takes up the entire page because it shows how important it is to him to escape his bad situation in his mind.
Certain frames are smaller and organized in a certain way to convey a sort of panic or just restlessness. On page 91, there are numerous frames of David getting dragged up the stairs. It creates a panic for the reader by having him constantly changing frames. It's more unsettling to read nine suspenseful frames than one big one that draws the entire picture.
It's arguable that the frames of the novel could describe just as much as words can in a subtler more subconscious way. Rather than saying "David was panicked", the author chose to piece together multiple small frames to trick the mind into feeling panicked. It made the story unlike any other story I've read because it was much less overt and used organization and size of frames as a story-telling method.