Three years ago the final issue of Todd Hignite’s COMIC ART Magazine, was published and shrink-wrapped along with it was a little book called Cartooning:Philosophy and Practice, by the venerable Ivan Brunetti. This book, a result of Brunetti’s own destruction and rebuilding of his life’s work and working method, is a deconstructive masterpiece of a narrative composition manual. It is, of course, described through the construction of comics (and passed through the metaphor of cooking pasta alio e olio), but when you read this pamphlet, it quickly becomes obvious that Brunetti’s observations are not limited to his preferred medium alone. The slim guide is a distillation of narrative. Brunetti isolates the parts and considers their arrangements and adjustments. (I’d go as far to say taht Scott McCloud and Will Eisner’s texts act as supporting works for Brunetti’s.)
I’ve wanted to distribute Brunetti’s book to my students (poetry workshops, composition 101s, comics seminars), but it’s never been available on it’s own. So, here’s why I’m talking about Cartooning today: Yale University Press has just announced that they will publish and sell the guide as a stand-alone book. This is big news in my world. Get one, read it, give it to someone else.
3 thoughts on “I’ve got a composition primer for you!”
i love the simplicity of brunetti’s exercise. it’s cool how he builds scenes from the plainest geometric shapes. and he doesn’t have to know where he’s going with the narrative until he’s at the end of it.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, John!
fantastic! this is a great tool for any visual storyteller, from filmmaker to multi-media poet. sweet and approachable tone. two stick-figure thumbs up! going to get one!