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Scott McCloud: Presenting comics in a new (media) world

Scott I'm a big fan of Scott McCloud's work. I linked to this 2005 TED talk a few years ago, but it's worth linking to again today. Not only is Scott's content stimulating and directly relevant to our world of presentation, the unique presentation of his story is a wonderful example of what is possible with your basic slideware app (and this is almost nine years ago!). I've talked about Scott many times before on this site (such as here) and I talk about him a bit in the Presentation Zen book as does Nancy Duarte in Slide:ology. This is just a fantastic TED talk and a powerful yet simple use of the slide medium. If the principles Scott talks about excite you, then I recommend his best-selling book on the art of comics (and why and how they matter) called Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. This is an amazing book with applications far beyond the world of comics. Watch Scott's talk below or here on the TED site.

Good advice from comics guru Scott McCloud
So much good stuff in this TED talk, but here's something that sticks out to me. Three types of vision:

  1. Vision based on what one can not see (unseen and unknowable)
  2. Vision based on what has been proven (or has been seen)
  3. Vision based on what can be, what may be based on knowledge (but is not yet proven)

What Scott is saying is that there are many ways to pursue a vision based on what can/may be. People are doing this in science, the arts, politics, personal endeavors, etc. What it all comes down to, says scott, is this:

  • Learn from everyone
  • Follow no one
  • Watch for patterns
  • Work like hell

These four guidelines will take you far indeed as you create your own life story.

Here is a nice 10-minute interview from a few years ago when Scott was on his 50-State Tour in the US.



Marco Montemagno

Great and useful post as always Garr :)

Ric Bretschneider

Scott is a visual genius. His explanations of how time and movement can be relayed through static images is amazing. Back in the early 90's when Understanding Comics came out there were quite a few copies that ran through the PowerPoint team. Funny coincidence, I just cracked open his ZOT! collection to read last night.


An inspiring presentation, with such fluidity. The slides alone must have taken ages to prepare, but prove that effort is worth it for the impact on the audience.

The Modesto Kid

This reminds me in a nice way of "Swimming to Cambodia" -- and what a great idea to make this talk into a slide show.

Jonas Lindelof

Inspiring! Got me thinking about the inauguration. (Will watch Scott on TED later as well, love TED)


i have to hold my head.. from exploding.
its so amazing that he manage to composed and present it visually about visuals of composition beyond the limitation of digital medium. thank yu for sharing Garr.

Brad Berens

Hi Garr, I used to teach Understanding Comics when I worked in the U.C. Berkeley English Department as a writing text-- it worked like gangbusters.


you could try some of scott mccloud's tricks in a presentation using prezi. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks cool- it's a zooming presentation software that eschews the whole slide paradigm

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