By Iain Bain
The traditional paintings of Celtic knotwork in stone, jewellery and steel defined for todays artists, craftsmen and all these drawn to background.
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Furthermore, as Pascal Lefèvre notes, ‘There is a closer link between cinema and comics than between other visual arts. Films and comics are both media which tell stories by series of images: the spectator sees people act – while in a novel the actions must be verbally told. 14 It is hardly surprising, then, that static comic strip images, which reveal narrative when read, were quickly viewed as ready-made blueprints for moving image production. Scott McCloud’s influential Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1994) contains ideas that, whilst not intended to address the subject of storyboarding, nonetheless carry significant potential in this regard.
After the zooming movement has come to rest in a medium close-up on Flip, and following the brief insertion of a slide with the words ‘Watch Me Move’, Flip turns his head, inhales from his trademark cigar, and blows out a cloud of smoke. While Flip’s appearance does not derive from a specific instalment of Little Nemo in Slumberland, his appearance matches McCay’s typical illustration of the character. It could also be argued that Flip’s blowing of cigar smoke in this particular framing constitutes an early moment of animated intertextuality, given its close resemblance to a sequence in Blackton’s earlier Enchanted Drawing (1900), in which a top-hatted man blows out a cloud of cigar smoke.
Despite such warranted circumspection, however, one storytelling medium, already well established by the end of the nineteenth century, looms large as a credible antecedent to the modern-day storyboard: the comic strip. 13 With this description in mind, the association with the storyboard becomes clear, especially when considering how the average storyboard also arranges information visually on the page, employing discrete panels to delimit each suggested shot. Furthermore, as Pascal Lefèvre notes, ‘There is a closer link between cinema and comics than between other visual arts.