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POC: documentary comic

POC is a documentary comics magazine published by Asociatia Bloc Zero. This issue features anthropologic research on water. Using an academic paper written by Liviu Chelcea as a base, I wrote a narrative script with the help of script coordinator/ editor Maria Surducan and illustrated a story about an anthropologist’s journey in discovering the phenomenon of free tap service in New York.

Browse the pages by clicking the thumbnails on the left, or white arrow on the right.

The most challenging part of this project is distilling the information- heavy 25-page academic research paper down to concise ideas, and choosing the ones that are shown in the comic. hen, finding opportunities for a narrative structure in the order that those choese ideas are relayed. As a research paper it had its own academic conclusions, but in comic form I needed to find a narrative conclusion that is more emotionally satisfying for the reader.

Thinking of reader experience, I thought it would be more interesting if they discover these ideas along with the anthropologist as he does the research, instead of simply being told the ideas. 


First round information-extraction, from which a selection is made

Once the outline of of the idea structure is made, it was great fun creating scenes and characters to carry them. The first thing I do is to lay down the text on the page, while magining the scenes. I recognize beats in the story, and move text around on the page to find the right arrangement, as each placement of a speech bubble affects the next, and affects the pagination.

My mind is looking for opportunities to group things together or to set them apart- of course, while keeping the rule for readability all the time. I start sketching, and depending on the drawing I adjust again the positions of the text.


A lot of care needs to be taken especially when there are characters talking, as their position should not be in conflict with the order of their lines. It's a lot like solving a puzzle that you made yourself.


Always looking for opportunities to strengthen the visual. I decided to change the shape of the glass on the right page to echo the shape of the panel, as we are looking at it from the bottom, giving it a majestic mood when the text says "But how does the glass always stay full?"

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