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Let’s get cracking- Week 2 Supervisor meeting

Last Tuesday I had the first official DVA meeting with my extraordinary Principal Supervisor, Ms Andi Spark.  We laughed, we cried, we made plans.  I now have a rough map to guide me in the right direction in which I need to start shuffling.

Without boring everyone silly, here’s an overview.


What is the outcome I want to achieve? 

– 20,000 (approx) word thesis.  A thesis is a single statement defended by an argument.  The written report is called a dissertation.  The final product makes an excellent door-stopper.

-Exegesis.  An explanation of the relation of a creative product (my studio work) to other texts (my thesis/dissertation).

– Studio work.  a series of three full length comic books using information gained in research to present my own stories, with the aim of not only making full use of existing codes and conventions, but also generating new knowledge and tools.

– Literary review AND Visual analysis of autobiographical/memoir/diary strip/webcomic sequential art narratives.  I’m going to read a truck load of comics, and give you the low-down.


Some questions I’ll need to be asking are below.  there will be many others that will emerge as a result of my enquiry, but for the beginning I’ll start with just a few general ones.  Asking these questions will give me a sense of what works and what doesn’t, and why.


What are the rules? 

What are the rules of pacing, shot selection, narrative structure, style, word vs image ‘weight… I’ll find out some good rules to abide by, or at least to be aware of.


Are there literary rules? 

What makes a great story so easy to read, and what makes you keep turning the page?  Why do some stories resonate so deeply, and stay with you for so long afterwards?   



Allan Moore is at least one writer who uses recurring patterns and motifs, both in imagery and within the story.  I’ll be looking for these patterns, attempting to decipher a general underlying patterning… of patterns.



Are there certain themes that stories share?  What themes work best together, and are most often found in texts?  What themes are relevant, what’s been done to death, how do themes work and how many themes can we sandwich into a narrative before the story spills out and you get a big splurt of teenage angst all over you nice white shirt?


Content analysis in Informal writing style

If you ever tried to read an academic dissertation, it’s pretty dense stuff.  It’s basically comprised of extended, ridiculous sounding words you never hear in everyday life, and to be honest, I just don’t write like that.  Not yet anyway. So I’ll be writing content analysis of existing texts in my own words.  Minimum syllables, maximum output.  Huzzah!


My first order is to check out the following artists, all operating out of Oz and making the stuff I’m investigating.  You can have a look too!  Support these fine young creators; good art doesn’t grow on trees.

Bernard Caleo

Mandy Ord

Pat Grant


What makes an  autobiography work? 

Is it the structure?  Layered themes? Is it story, art, style, or the pair of socks you wear when you read them?

What is it that appeals to me??


What to do now? 


Research-  Some very smart people have written a lot of worthwhile stuff about memoir comics.  I need to pick their brains and integrate some knowledge.

Read-  There are some darn good autobiographical comics out there.  God help me, I’m going to read every single one of them.

Analyse- think- gestate!  I need to make all this stuff fit in my head.  Goodbye, cobwebby brain- you are no longer welcome here.

Write-  This is where all of this internalizing spews forth from my brain in some sense of cohesion.

Draw– I’ll be thinking of some short stories to play around with.  With these vignettes I’ll be creating pictures- visually experimenting with style.  There’s going to be some mimicry in the beginning.  I have a fairly strong style of my own, with some work hopefully I can broaden my abilities.