Friday, September 11, 2009

Image and Text: Scott Adams

The following text is directly from the transcript of an interview I did with Scott Adams in the Spring of 2005. It was from a series of phone interviews I conducted with Leonid Lerman, Ann Hamilton, Scott Adams and Jerry Martin on the Relationship of Image and Text.

Scott Adams has been creating Dilbert since 1989. Here he responds to a question of how he handles the relationship of image and text.

Well, I should tell you that first of all my process is different from most cartoonists because I actually do the drawing before I know what I am going to write. So I have an idea and then I start drawing the pictures and the pictures often change what I thought I might have written. Uh…that sentence didn’t make sense but the point is that sometimes I will just stare at the picture and I’ll think "You know, the guy in this picture wouldn't say that. He'd say it a little differently" or he accidentally looks happier than I thought I wanted him to be so, actually it is funnier if he's happier. So sometimes there's a little organic thing that goes on, where the picture changes the writing and then I, maybe I come up with a perfect sentence and then I go back and change the picture.

What makes a comic work is that the words and the picture match, which is why you have so few comic teams. You know the obvious thing would be to have the best artist in the world team up with the best writer and they would make the best comic. But it doesn't really work that way because there's something about both the picture and the writing coming out of the same brain that when you read them, you know that they came from the same place. I think there are artists who try to write and writers who try to draw pictures and I am in the camp of writers who try to draw pictures.