Forceville, Charles (2013). “Creative visual variation in comics balloons.”

“Creative visual variation in comics balloons.” In:  Tony Veale, Kurt Feyaerts, Charles Forceville (eds). Creativity and the Agile Mind: A Multi-disciplinary Exploration of a Multi-Faceted Phenomenon [book proposal submitted].

Abstract: Creativity appears to result from unexpectedly combining two or more elements or angles into a novel phenomenon that is more than the sum of its parts. This idea, called “bisociation” by Koestler (1969), also underlies Fauconnier and Turner’s (2002) claim that Blending Theory provides a model of “emergent structure,” i.e., creativity. However, as Veale et al. (this volume) point out, Fauconnier and Turner’s approach is lacking in one crucial dimension: it retrospectively construes the two contributing elements from the creative result, instead of providing details on how to decide which new element is needed to enrich an already given element in such a way that the vaguely anticipated creative result is achieved. Using an adapted form of the Blending Theory model I will in this paper focus on the specific type of creativity involved in communicating narratively salient information in an unexpected visual manner in comics’ text balloons. The paper’s primary goal is to formulate patterns in creative balloon use, and thus to contribute to comics scholarship and visual studies. Its subsidiary goal is to reflect on Blending’s Theory’s potential to become a true theory of creativity. Keywords: Comics balloons, Blending Theory, Tools for visual analysis.

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