Pictures intended to be read

Any­one who knows me, knows that I’m a huge fan of the comics artist Chris Ware. His art is extreme­ly geo­met­ric and pre­cise, full of straight lines and hard angles, and excep­tion­al­ly detailed.

His sketch­es, how­ev­er, are the oppo­site: rough, organ­ic, and loose. Most artists show  sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences between sketch and final piece, but rarely is it as shock­ing­ly dis­tinct as in Ware’s work.

His expla­na­tion is that in comics “pic­tures are intend­ed to be read”. He con­sid­ered the dis­tinc­tion between ‘hand­writ­ten’ and ‘type­set’, where the for­mer dic­tates a cer­tain per­son­al­i­ty to the mes­sage, lead­ing him to try to cre­ate a type­set style of draw­ing aimed at mak­ing the read­er less aware of the art and more of the sto­ry.

He describes this as “see­ing with­out see­ing”.