I’ve created a couple of posts this week about drawing stick folks. Mine have been pretty basic and stand alone figures. Today, I’m sharing a four-panel cartoon using stick folks with added text to show conversations and other sounds. Notice how effective this cartoon is at story telling.
Note: I had to pay attention to the cartoon and not do my usual quick scan then move on to the next exciting email.
This cartoon located at http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/driving.png was shared by my old friend, Dwight Brooks. He has commented on one of my previous stick folks posts so perhaps when he saw this cartoon, he was moved to action. And maybe, it just happened cause he likes technology or cartoons or in response to my post. Who knows? I didn’t ask him but I hope he responds to this post and my shameless effort to get him to repost.
Let me try to decipher this cartoon.
1. We have two stick MEN. It’s almost obvious that they are men because there are no curves that would indicate feminity and one of the is wearing a masculine hat.
2. The hatted dude is carrying something. Could be a big rock since it appears to be dropping dirt. It could be a bag of groceries with peas or some other food dripping from a broken internal bag. It is not obvious just what it is by looking at the picture or by reading the words.
3. Without the text and sounds, it would not be obvious that there is some communication and activity happening here.
4. So far, if we are just looking at the two figures, we don’t have a clue as to what is going on beyond one hatted dude carrying something and another dude watching him.
5. In the first panel, the hatted dude is asking if his load weighs as much as a small adult. I guess a small adult might weight about 100 pounds or about 45 kilograms. The hatted dude doesn’t appear to be stressed by carrying this much but then again this is a cartoon. It doesn’t have to accurately reflect reality.
In the same panel, the hatless dude guesses that the statement is true.
6. In the second panel, not much happens except that the hatted dude acknowledges that the hatless due agrees with him.
7. In the third panel, the hatted dude is out of sight while the hatless dude appears to be hearing noises that probably are coming from an interaction between the hatted dude and a driverless car. Can you say GoogleMobile?
The sound of a thump. We guess this is a sound because the sound word is enclosed in asterisks at the top and two other locations in a descending order of text.
Spoken words probably coming from the car asking that the seat belts be fastened.
Then the work “click” to indicate compliance with that request.
Then more spoken words, probably coming from the hatted dude asking to be taken to Anchorage, Alaska. We don’t know their current location but we might expect that the journey may be a long one.
Then the word “navigating” probably coming from the car. My GPS doesn’t communicate exactly like that but then again my GPS is not contained within a GoogleMobile.
Then the sound of a slam. I guess that the hatted dude has closed the door.
8. In the final panel, we notice the sound of a car driving away. I probably would have enclosed that sound in asterisks in keeping with the previous car sounds but …
Now, the hatted guy affirms our guess that this was not only a car but it was a self-driving car that someone had left running, unattended.
Now the humorous idea is complete. The artist probably had to put more effort into properly creating the illusion of conversation and sounds than he (she) did in drawing the two stick folk.
Pause for thought: Is this an example of KISS? Appears that it may be. The cartooner (cartoonist) did not create a realistic human depiction of people. No,, he created one entity with a circle for the head and five straight lines indicating the body and limbs. He stretched on the second entity by adding a straight line and a shaded rectangle to indicate a hat. This is most likely the simplest way to create an example of a human being. He also added some pencil marks beneath the stick folk to indicate the ground – might be dirt, might be concrete, might be something else.
Call to action: Can YOU create a stick person to share with me? Will you? All you have to do is grab a pencil or pen and a piece of paper. Draw a circle and five lines to show your version of a stick person. Copy it or scan it and include it in a reply to me. Make me feel that I’m not alone. The sound of crickets makes me nervous.