Wednesday, June 6, 2012

From the Math Department to the Art Department: Larry Gonick on Being an Overeducated Cartoonist.

Lecture hosted by the Harvard Statistics Department. Larry Gonick is a cartoonist best known for The Cartoon History of the Universe, a history of the world in comic book form.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

XLT3 learning model

Have you noticed that the majority of cartoons have a common format to them? A cartoon, in general, tells a story. This is true in all formats whether it is a three panel cartoon or a comic book. This is even true of a single panel cartoon (more about that later). It seems that most comic formats can be reduced down to three basic elements. This is what I call the XLT 3 model.

Most cartoons seem to follow the XLT 3 model. A premise or situation is introduced, a setup follows, and then a resolution completes the cartoon gag. Also, this is very similar to a 3-act play. In Act 1 the premise, problem, or question is introduced. In Act 2 the setup or series of events develop. In Act 3 the problem or question is solved and it also serves as the punch-line.

XLT 3 model also parallels the thinking process. John Dewey, referring to his “Theory of Inquiry” said that the thinking process is 1, Pre-Reflection, 2, Reflection, and 3, Post-Reflection (Dewey, 1933). Dewey essentially wanted us to consider the thinking process as the hypothosis-focus of reflection was bracketed by the perturbation and resolution.

The XLT3 model is similar to Dewey’s “Theory of Inquiry” in that the Act 2 is bracketed by the Act 1 and Act 3. Looking a little closer at the XLT3 we see the first phase, Act1, as establishing the problem. Next the Act 2 follows with the Idea Generation and Integration. The Act 3 culminates with the Resolution and Implementation of the solution.

This means that the Act123 may also be used as a thinking tool in the classroom as well as the work place. Act123 is first, sequential and secondarily non-sequential. Sequential Act123 is first setup as vertical thinking and then the problem is looked at as non-sequential terms. This can be done as restructuring and interjectory.

Cartoons and comics usually follow a common format that could be compared to the XLT3 model. Newspaper cartoons fall into 3 categories. Stand alone gag cartoon, continuing gag cartoon, and story genre. Stand alone gag and continuing gag is sequential and humorous. The first panel is the premise that describes the initial scene or situation. The second panel is where the option takes place. In the above cartoon example (Beetle Bailey,) in the first panel, describes the premise or situation. You see Beetle and Killer walking by a desk with a can of Cola on it. They both obviously notice it and you can see the wheels turning. The second panel focuses on Beetle shaking the soda can. The third panel is the “punchline” or, in this case, the punch-line with Sarge reaching for the can.  The Act 2 Setup could be a person walking towards the ubiquitous banana peel. The final panel is the resolution or punch-line. The person slips on the banana peel. In the previous 2 the story genre is similar in that it has 3 to 4 panels and it follows the XLT3 model. Xtreme Learning & Thinking contains the SSP or Act 1-2-3. SSP stands for Situation, Setup, and Punchline. For the most part all cartoons and comics follow this format.

S = Situation, S = Setup, P = Punchline

It is not necessarily humorous. It has a premise that establishes the situation. It has the body or hypothesis in the middle panel or panels. It establishes the punchline or answer of the question or resolution of the problem in the last panel. For a continuity newspaper story genre this would be a single sequence that ends with an additional element of transition. However, it is still a complete unit.