in order for a narrative to succeed in telling a series of events in succession, it needs to have a solid structure in its creation. graphic narratives (Being Novels, illustrated books, comics and autobiographies) specialize in not only structuring the narrative of the story, but also making that same narrative accessible to viewers and readers.
their are 4 types of tools that help to construct and solidify narrative in the medium of illustrated graphics. the overarching term is what is known as Sequential Art.
this form of narrative structure is seen through; Formalism, Transaction Analysis, Speech Balloons/Thought Bubbles and Image/Text Relationships.
Will Eisner used the term sequel art to describe the functions of a panel and what subconscious purpose it has in visual language. on its own, a panel can be seen as a simple picture, however, narrative begins to form when that picture follows a sequence into another image with the pictures being linked to each other via content and not context. the differences between the first and second image are known as the transnational stage of the panel
there are 6 different ways in which illustrators communicate this language to their audience through transaction analysis
Movement to movement- a subtle action or gesture like someone who is sad, truing happy or a eye blink.
Action to Action- a more decisive action like engaging with a sport of opening the door.
subject to subject- an event that happens at the same time, but from different perspectives
scene to scene- within the same context, but in a different setting or location
aspect to aspect- within the same context, and in the same setting or location, focusing of what else is in that environment.
non-sequitur- no correlation with the previous visual.
Now with western graphics and forms of communication, this theory is practiced a lot, however, eastern cultures approach visual language in graphic narratives differently, utilizing some orientalism in the process.
orientalism is a term used to describe the influence of the eastern culture and in this case, eastern comics (Manga) is created and read differently. the big difference is that a lot of eastern (and western in the present) illustrators divert from sequential art to create their works.
This begs the question, is sequential art necessary to create a graphic narrative, or is it simply one way of many?