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11.02.2014
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Following tardily on the heels of this month’s onslaught of architecture-based posts, welcome to a belated examination of the ways in which we read comics and architectural working drawings. As an architect and cartoonist, I can’t help but notice many similarities between comics and architectural construction documents. In this post, I will look at how we read both architectural drawings and comics, based on my own understanding of how each works. Architectural drawings are, at their essence, a series of iconic pictograms organized in such a way as to allow a third party to construct a building based on the designer’s concept.
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.
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: in particular, the grid. For example, Brian Chippendale often uses a regular method of laying out panels so that we read “like a snake” back and forth down one page and up the next; Osamu Tezuka has been known to allow readers to move their eyes either horizontally or vertically, with both directions achieving the desired narrative effect. In both cases, a patient reader can comprehend the writer’s intent and follow the prescribed narrative.
And how are we able to interpret the pictograms on the page: person, dog, house, movement, distress? As has been mentioned previously, one of the primary features of the comics page is a bias towards narrative momentum. So all of this begs the question – why bring this up at all if these two art forms are so fundamentally different? There are endless examples of similarities between comics and architectural renderings, most of which have been touched on in Alex’s previous posts (Francois Shuiten, Jiro Taniguchi, Herge, etc.).
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. Like an architectural set, each of these narrative branches tends to literally increase in scale as it breaks from the central story.
There are other comics that explore similar territory (including some by Jason Shiga and Lewis Trondheim, among others), but I feel that none are able to capture this “architectural essence” as well as Tande and Dart. It wasn’t until almost half a century later that the extra layer of chronology was pushed into King’s formula; Robert Crumb built on King’s work with his one-page Short History of America, and Richard McGuire cracked it wide open with the brilliant and challenging Here. Ware synthesized each of these elements and produced an intriguing post-modern comic that is entirely his own voice, influences notwithstanding and, in fact, celebrated (this will probably be the only time I’ll ever compare him to Quentin Tarantino, but I think the comparison is apt in this case).
Ware also has a penchant for diagrams that function on the same level as architectural drawings. Now, having examined a few examples of existing comics, what would my ideal architectural meta-comic look like?
His body of work is notable in the aspect of building the story trough a system of panels in the page. Miguelanxo Prado would be another choice: he has formal studies in architecture an didn?t get into comics until his college years, in his early 20?s. What struck me at the time, similarly to how I feel about inking, is how zen drafting (model building too) is. I am wondering if you could delve into a conmarative analysis of the processes in architecture and cartooing, Aaron. This prime office location is awaiting the right partner to build-out the second story and successfully grow their business.
The exactly dimension of Fascinating Floor Plans Blueprints On Floor With BOGAN FLOOR PLAN 1st Floor Image was 1517x1168 pixels.
Therefore all content images we display pure just to complement information from the picture we uploaded without any intent to we sell-buy, in violation of copyright or intellectual property rights, and a valid artistic. Based on the merits of a comment I made on Alex Buchet’s first “Draw Buildings, Build Drawings” article, Noah invited me to elaborate on the topic in the form of a guest post. Superficially, the pages of both tend to convey information in similar ways: drawings of simplified pictograms are ordered into grids of panels, often in conjunction with text and an elaborate system of symbols and line weights. I’m going to apologise in advance for my limited knowledge of comics theory; I am going to base most of that segment on my own observations about how they function. Rather, I will be taking a rather narrow look at architectural working drawings, and the commonalities and dissimilarities they share with comics. These drawings are typically depicted as “cuts” through the imaginary building, both horizontal (plans) and vertical (sections) – though some drawings, including elevations and roof plans, are not. 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). Text is always required on these sheets, though it is necessarily descriptive, not narrative in nature.
It is the purposeful sequential arrangement of these drawings that allows us, as readers, to decipher the cartoonist’s intent. 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). On the other hand, scroll-like comics without borders (or comic-like scrolls), like the Bayeux Tapestry or portions of Dash Shaw’s Body World, direct the eye in such a way as to allow even the most visually unsophisticated reader to comprehend the author’s intent.


We seem to inherently want to read panel-to-panel in the same way we read prose: left to right, top to bottom.
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. However, I find that these illustrations stray somewhat from the practice of architecture as discussed in this essay.
Rebecca Dart’s Rabbit Head is perhaps a good starting place, as it makes use of several of the conventions mentioned above.
It is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” of sorts, one that begins with a single panel per page. Perhaps the most direct influence on this particular “Big Tex” page are the many similar pages from Frank King’s “Gasoline Alley”. They can communicate a large amount of information that, if it was told as part of the narrative, would interrupt the flow of the story; some are even tangential to the narrative entirely. It would not necessarily be an abstract or non-linear piece; as I’ve stated previously, I feel that in one sense, the narrative (or simply a perceived temporal momentum) is to comics as the constructed building is to architectural drawings. For that idilyc adaptation of Calvino?s Invisible Cities I think the perfect artist for it would be the late Guido Crepax. Even if he found the main basis for his structural storytelling in film montage, especially Pudovkin?s analitic montage, his Valentina pages shows the man had a formation as an architect and had a systematic aproach to constructing (and often deconstructing afterwards) a story. Both in panel and page composition the man shows some mastery in structural storytelling; he can get more emotion of page composition an color alone more than anybody else doing comics today.
I’m all the more thankful for it as it triumphantly addresses a weakness in my essay.
There are a select few places, though, that not only live up to the hype but effortlessly surpass it. Inbetween my Sequential Art degrees, I worked for her drafting plans anf building models, and freelanced as an illustrator. Inking a comic is definitely a mechanical process that leaves your mind free to think about something else, or listen to music. Similarities you highlighted between reading comics and architectural drawings are really thought provoking though architectural drawings and photographs are notoriously static and timeless, using professional photographers or artists to present the building as it existed for the brief moment between being finished and being occupied. You can also look for some pictures that related to Fascinating Floor Plans Blueprints On Floor With BOGAN FLOOR PLAN 1st Floor Image by scroll down to collection on below this picture. For those of you who feel as the legitimate owners of one of the images we display and didn’t want us displaying images valid belongs to you, please contact us through the Contact page and send us an email to follow up, be it delete images belong to you, or maybe you’ll give us maturity date where we can display content images. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time, but not necessarily something that has much practical value for anyone looking to analyze either comics or architecture. 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. 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. Despite this superficial similarity to architectural drawings, the “rules” of cartooning are much less hard and fast than those of the construction documents.
However, even the most basic arrangement of panels does not always follow this pattern, with unusual arrangements of tall or wide frames that seem to disrupt the eye’s flow. This is not dissimilar to the purposeful simplification of reality as filtered through a cartoonist’s pen, which may explain why so many of us are drawn to comics as children.
This is manifestly different than an architectural set, where time is not a consideration in the drawings themselves.
Architectural renderings are as much architecture as a cover illustration is a comic book; both are meant to grab the public’s attention and “sell” the content (either a comic or a building, as the case may be).
Rabbit Head is a relatively standard comic, but one with a peculiar method of reading: a single narrative strand gradually splits into multiple narrative paths that are meant to be read at the same time to create a larger web of story.
As the main character is faced with directional choices, so to is the reader, and the narrative splits up, down, left and right.
Take, for example, a “Big Tex” strip from the Acme Novelty Joke Book: the page as a whole illustrates a finite amount of space, which is subdivided into individual panels in order to depict a larger scene and drive a narrative. King loved to lay out pages as a field of panels that together created an overall image, often returning to the same spot Sunday after Sunday to explore the building of a house over time, for example.
Ware often inserts these diagrams into and around the narrative in the least disruptive way possible; he tends to save the most elaborate ones for covers, endpapers, or frontispieces, while working the simpler ones into the body of the comic. To me, the perfect “architectural” comic would read something like Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. I’ve been thinking for some time on architectural use of space in terms of my own work in comics (doing my dissertation as a comic), and to that end sitting in on an architecture theory course. There is rarely any admission that the building will be allowed to change over time, or evolve to suit the people who use it. If you want to find the other picture or article about Floor Plans Blueprints just push the next button or previous button; or if you are interested in similar pictures of Fascinating Floor Plans Blueprints On Floor With BOGAN FLOOR PLAN 1st Floor Image, you are free to browse through search feature that located on top this page or random post section at below of this post.
All content images that we display we only use properly without any intention of us to gain financially from one image or as a whole. Thus a site plan usually appears by itself, while details can be twenty-four or more to a page.
The direction of reading and the shape of panels need not be consistent as long as the narrative thrust is clear to the reader. 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).


Rather, this points to the fundamental difference between these two modes of visual communication: the architectural set is a means to an end, while a comic is the final product itself. From the beginning, it is apparent to the reader how we are to follow the multiple plots; a system of symbols and tags clearly points our eyes to the simultaneous narratives. There is even a map at the back of the book that provides an overall view of the action, and points out key narrative locations, much like an architectural “key plan”.
As a reader, the inclination is to follow only a single strand of narrative, but it quickly becomes evident that this is not how Morlac is intended to be read; the character begins to interact with the other “selves” on the page.
Architectural details are often laid out this way on a page, so the eye can travel around the perimeter of the building, for example, or down a facade in a way that the mind can easily comprehend.
However, King was as not as concerned with narrative experimentation as he was with pushing certain formal boundaries. Like an architect, he uses a standard set of symbols to signify a complex set of relationships in the clearest manner possible.
Let’s assume for a moment that it would be exactly like Invisible Cities: a literal cartoon adaptation. This was especially true of my days in architecture school, when we would draw in ink on mylar with technical pens. On the other hand a comic or graphic novel, however, is utterly dependant on a narrative, and that implies a passage of time.
This is accomplished with a variety of identification tags and bubbles, conventional symbols that guide the reader to the appropriate 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.
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. 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. This system is extraordinarily similar to architectural navigational symbols, but it is perhaps more easily understood. The pages ebb and flow, apparently populated semi-randomly with a holistic field of discreet panels as the main character comes and goes.
Ware exploits the narrative flow across the page and he composes the panels in such a way as to guide the reader across the page and back again, not always in the same direction.
Some would say that this is a masturbatory self-indulgence on Ware’s part, but I find his diagrams both edifying and entertaining. The book is structured around a central (sparse) narrative involving Marco Polo describing cities he has visited at the court of Kublai Kahn. While this method of navigation may seem difficult at first, it is possible for the diligent layperson to parse its meaning and “read” an architectural set.
The effect is similar to opening an architectural set to a page of details and trying to discern the overall building from those few drawings. He also takes advantage of this unusual flow by running the strip back in time from top to bottom, following both Tex and the tree from middle age back into their respective youths. Anyone interested in exploring this topic further (from an information design point of view, rather than an architectural one) should have a look at Isaac Cates’ essay “Comics and the Grammar of Diagrams”, from the book The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing is a Way of Thinking.
The majority of the novel is taken up by these stories, and the Kahn slowly comes to realize that each tale is describing a different aspect of Venice, Marco Polo’s home.
He was writing about Ware’s comics in “Building Stories”, but he could just as easily been discussing the tension between the sheet of details and the building as a whole.
The “narrative” in Morlac is the equivalent of the “architecture” in a set of construction documents. This is certainly an interesting and exciting approach to comics, echoing closely methods of laying out architectural details on a sheet. Kublai Kahn listens to Polo, not understanding yet somehow comprehending; a good portion of the book passes before Marco Polo learns to speak Mongolian.
Though I cannot say with any certainty that Ware was influenced by architectural drawings, I feel that his chosen mode of representation in this instance is close enough to warrant a mention. An adaptation of Invisible Cities might fare well as a wordless comic, benefiting from the extensive use of symbols and diagrams. Contract administration is very demanding, requiring a good deal of focus over a long period of time. To me, Invisible Cities is ideally suited to an “architectural comics” experiment such as those I have outlined in this post.
Fortunately, there is no real equivalent in comics – once the printer has the file, the book is pretty much done. The overarching narrative functions like a building’s plans, with each subsequent tale like another detail describing the whole. The sequence of stories could be entered randomly and understood individually, though they would not allow the reader to perceive the whole without approaching the narrative a particular way (chronologically, in this case).
The descriptive nature of the stories within lend themselves naturally to illustration; with a little planning (and a whole lot of drawing), they could be arranged in such a way that they could function like an architectural drawing set.
If anyone is up to the challenge, I will gladly read your comics interpretation of Invisible Cities.



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