Recently I found this piece of comic and what is so endearing is that the sequence at play is so interesting. Linear, yet haphazard, fluid yet fragmented. and having all these components at play, it still managed to convey a really simple story through time and space. We often pass by people every now and them but what is their life story? View this piece to find out more 🙂

Image source: 9GAG

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It is an excruciating tedious process for me to fully illustrate Assignment 2 (see: Don’t Make My Dream Come True!), and once again I challenge my limits by taking on the full role of visualizer for the group’s Final Project.

There are several reasons why I decided to take on the role of the visualizer. Mainly, in order to narrate a story through such visual communication successfully, the need for a cohesive art direction is duly needed. If everyone on the team decides to draw fragmented pieces of narratives with different stylings, it will look very jarring and the whole story will not flow as smoothly as fluidity is key.

Secondly, skill sets are important in delivering such illustrations. Being the most experienced person in the team in working with Illustrator, naturally the role of the visualizer falls upon me. The team has no qualms about it.

Though the team has communicated briefly before that I can do up the drawing and they will do the inking, the approach that I had undertaken works differently from how the team envisioned. It’s not about drawing and inking as separate process but rather a whole conflated process in which I think only one person can perform to deliver the graphics, unless the other person works almost exactly like me, which in this case I really wished for one to lighten the load.

I had seen teams with all members illustrating and if i may add, it proved my first point; narratives end up in fragmented pieces rather than an assimilated piece. I have put in a lot of hours, not forgetting the heart and soul in illustrating these 70 odd panels. Looking back at it, I must say I am proud of myself in achieving such feat.

To recap, the final project is a team collaborative effort in which to deliver a sequential piece which is interactive and engages the audiences through several approaches. In our team, we decided to alter the particular ending of Sleeping Beauty, how we envisioned it to end.

I begin with Draft 1 where I loosely draw some figures and some composition to play with space relations and also set a certain framework for my vector illustration to follow through.

I took on an illustrative style that is closely related to child-like renderings, use of vector based graphics to bring out the whole narrative. I did not draw on paper and then transfer as my working style is draw and develop at the same time. So here are some stills!

   

COLOUR

The use of color to suggest the mood should also be noted, the transition from the evil aftermath of evil queen defeated leaving Sleeping Beauty in the castle, to the cheerful and buzzing sights of the cosmetic beauty world.

TYPOGRAPHY

Serif and san-serif fonts are used in this sequential art piece, they are used to convey either a classical, timeless mood needed for the narrative, or modern look to convey a clean and fresh mood, that is suitable especially for the info graphics component to depict the process of the surgery, as it has a cleaner ‘technical’ tone to it.

Didot, a serif font was used for the main text, and DIN, a san serif font was used for the info graphics or screen based font that are needed in scenes such as displays in the airport, etc.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Character are the key roles in the whole story, thus it is important that they are done up right. In this story, at first I wanted my prince to take on a more mature role thus i added in facial hair,  but during critique it was brought up by many peers that the beard made him seem rather old, and that in certain frame it seems like the prince is extremely lecherous:

After taking in the feedback I removed the facial hair and the Prince seemed younger.

And here are some of the characters that I have came up with for the story:

LAYOUT AND VISUAL COMPOSITION

The problem I faced with the final project was that time was definitely not on my side. The work load was indeed mental. Trying to juggle between workload from other modules and drawing this project, it takes a balanced equation, but mine somehow fell short at times. Nitty gritty attention to details must be paid duly in order to bring out the essence of the illustration. Even though they are secondary, but these small details sometimes can take up hours to complete them, such as buildings, landscaping design, peripherals and apparatus, human crowd, to name a few.

And this is further exemplified by the Infographic components, small details are critical in conveying the narrative at large. Here are some examples:

Also there are technical aspects such as achieving results like light source emitting luminance, glass windows, reflection of mirror, etc in a vector based program is rather difficult, but I managed to overcome this through the use of filters.

All these are components of visual composition and layout, the understanding of color relations, spatial relations within a frame are to be duly noted.

Though this took up a lot of time, there are also other parts that we as a team have to worry about, how do we script the html to display the panels and so on. How do we add on interactivity, how do we engage users. To capture audiences’ attention by aesthetics is primary, but to further engage them through modes of interaction is something that is of prime importance in this module. For the scripting, the group has undergone tedious scripting and after 12 revisions, we came up with something that the team is proud of.

In all, it was an extremely rewarding experience as not only I tested and expanded my limits as a visualizer working under such tight deadlines, I uncovered new ways to solve problems which I never knew could have been solved, and only through such developmental learning in which I seek answers, probe deeper and inject new meanings and viewing experiences in the art that I create.

I hope you like it.

kaiens

All I can ask for is strength. You know they say people acquire new skills every now and then, and in this module, we were expected to learn and code a html file to showcase our projects. Sometimes I wonder if it is the right decision to take a level 3000 mod when my undergraduate career has elapsed for only one semester. It takes a while to get used to things, and to acquire new things.

Coding is no simple stuff, having worked with web developers from India and Hong Kong, now I truly understand the limitations, or agony that web developers experience when trying to tell us designers that certain things can not be done, and so on. Having been working on illustrator and indesign, its hard to convey such direct ‘snap to point’, ‘plonk it and viola’ kind of methodology with codes, it takes fine understanding on what are the limitations, what are the boundaries that we have to adhere to.

In this tutorial, we are tasked to continue our FP, but in this case the notion of utilizing a single frame narrative is being emphasized. Not only that, it must have the capacity for displaying multi-path narrative.

If it is just a single frame narrative aspect that we have to deliver, it is much simpler to do up as it will basically be a ‘slideshow’ for images that adopts the same aspect ratio for all image sizes. But to incorporate multi-path component WITHIN the same frame is a challenge.

For me i tried to link text in the narrative that has different path to be clicked on and that will lead them to a new frame but still within the boundaries of the frame. The use of hashtags in the scripts in this case was the solution i came up with to tackle the intricacy and complexity that arose from this tutorial exercise.

There are however limitations as to what i can do to the script, as each individual panels exist within the boundaries of the javascript, to introduce additional image to use as links somehow failed. And thus I had to use text and I couldn’t get my textlnks to be layered on top of the picture, thus the panel is pushed down when multi path is present.

But those are nitty gritty parts which Im sure an alteration of the code would have made it work, but for now the critical thing is, IT SHOULD WORK AS IT HAS INTENDED TO, and it did. 🙂

Here are some screenshots of Draft 2, using single frame, multi path narrative.

Opening title of Draft 2

Users are presented with multi path selection. One to follow the Princess, one to follow the Prince.

Scene where users choose to follow the Prince.

Scene where users choose to follow the Princess.

Scene where users choose to take on the path of Princess BUT later allowing them to return to view the other (Prince) path.

Scene where user clicked on to find out the other path of the story.

In the tutorial exercise, we were tasked to do work on our final project but the prime importance is not on the graphics, but rather how the user experience is crafted. The Mad-scientist approach is being used for this particular exercise.

What is mad-scientist approach you may ask.  As described by Scott McCloud in Reinventing Comics, The mad scientist approach is one that allow comics to take on a different role in which its viewing experience is altered; being different from traditional comics where panels and frames are bounded. In mad scientist approach, the notion of a seemingly endless canvas is introduced with the screen as the boundaries instead of having a border that is fixed in place.

This tutorial exercise can be seen as one of the introductory session to help us cope with the execution of the Final Project as it can most likely be one of the mechanism to use when doing up the group project.

At first I find it extremely difficult to code this seemingly easy script, but to be able to code and layout the images, it is extremely technical and not as straightforward as compared to softwares such as Illustrator or InDesign, where you just plonk, click, scale and drag to your desired size and position. However in Dreamweaver, its all about the code that displays what you tell them to. To add on to the frustration, text has to be on another layer.

I overcame the obstacles by using the .container as a boundary, and set .div tags as individual components and position it absolute so that I can have complete control of where to place them. I also managed to add the text on a separate layer. I’m glad to have successfully produce Draft 1.

Click on the image below to experience how the full web version might work! (P.s The image below does not reflect the actual script that I’ve done up for submission, components such as Text are removed on this image, but exists on another layer which was submitted, this is just a feel of how users can scroll/view the sequential art ) 

In this assignment, we were tasked to create a sequential piece that illustrates the theme namely ‘Slice of Life.’

At first I was rather confused with how I can tackle this brief; we often overlook the simplest thing in life, and trying to put my life into panels to tell a story will be an extremely difficult task to achieve. Not because it’s difficult to illustrate, but to convey fresher nuance in storytelling would require that sparkle of magic which I was hoping will be bestowed upon me.

I wished.

If life, sometimes the most simplest idea will struck you as though like a revelation of the century. As I was walking pass the town park before reaching the MRT, something seemed different. The path I used to take was cordoned off, i see trees being chopped down to pave new roads, to erect new housing blocks

                     

The above are some of the images that struck me the most, and were all taken in different days while I was going to school from home. Things change over time and it struck me how change is the only constant. I realized what if i put myself in the shoes of others and try to see it from their perspective, what insights can i derive from it, would it make me probe deeper. Thus, if I were to take the word ‘slice’ literally, it juxtaposes the argument that I had in mind for this particular artwork.

A sequential piece that targets the notion of Global Warming, it underscores particularly how deforestation is one of the main contributing factors toward this environmental crisis. Don’t Make My Dream Come True! seeks to explore deforestation using narra- tive illustration/storytelling, probing deeper between the imagined realm versus the objectified space. Woody takes centrestage as the protagonist, and as he explores its surroundings. Through Woody, we will be met by different situations in which showcases the many little things that we tend to overlook in life that may have devastating effects. Also, what we may have taken granted for, and how we are, in fact, subconscious agents in fostering the widespread of the deforesting effects. Through this expressive piece, it aims to not only bring forth global warming as an environmental crisis that must be cognizant of by all, but try to ameliorate such conditions as a united human race.

dont’ make woody’s dream come true indeed.

kaiens

In this exercise, we will not be adopting what we read in Scott McCloud’s take on text and image relationship as his model has some conflating natures. Thus, utilizing C Hill’s model, we will be highlighting how text are used together with images in sequential art.

There are four key relationships to explore under C Hill’s model of text-image relationship and are namely:

  1. Redundant
  2. Contrasting
  3. Complementary
  4. Unrelated

In Redundant, the image and words depicts the same thing.

In Contrasting, the image and words do not match up, often have capacity for depicting sarcasm and satire

In Complementary, the image and words work interdependently. Neither one must not be missing else the message will not be carried through

In Unrelated, as suggests, image and words have no relation with one another. I see this as expanding frames for narrative as it has this capacity to push the boundaries beyond the frame itself which can be deployed to showcase far-reaching thoughts or the foreshadowing of events to follow.

Thus, the below is an example of what I came up with using C Hill’s model of text-image relationship:

kaiens

Comics have been a pervasive form of reading, in fact I would highly regard it as a popular culture that seeks a ubiquitous approach among the likemindedness. I was never once a comic fan, though the occasional snippets on the newspaper should suffice, I think any form of art that requires image, layout, narrative, conceptualization to art direction, planning and executing are to be noted in order to give its recognition to the artist.
So, before we go into the difference of motion comic and printed comics, it is good to know what they are first before establishing any state of comparisons. When we talk about printed comics, we are referring to analogue modes of medium, that includes mostly printed medium such as books, publications, etc. And motion comics is what, I find, a transcendence of analogue mediums that seeks to deploy technological advancement found in our daily lives, such as digitization, interactivity, and so on.

So now let’s explore some of the key difference highlighted between these two format of comics.

Main Differences between motion comics and printed comics:

1) Print comics allow readers to have control of time; the ability to move back and forward anytime while reading it with ease. Not so much in motion comics as time moves on and the ability to control is subjected to the way such motion comics are being programmed.

2) That being said, printed comic tends to seek a participatory mode in the reading of temporal and spatial elements, but in motion comics, such elements are fixed and defined for the readers.

3) Sound in printed comics are being portrayed by the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named, i.e Swoosh, Sizzle, etc which requires certain room for imagination. Whereas in motion comics, the sound is objectified.

4) Printed comics demands for higher use of closure in the transitions, which is required less so in motion ones.

5) Time and cost differences, though debatable, are evident between these two formats. Though both employ heavy execution, to digitize frame by frame into a continuous story, in my opinion, will require a significant amount of time for motion comics, then compared to printed ones.

The Pros and Cons of of Printed Comics:

Pros:

  • Time is not a factor. Readers can refer to past and present at their own pace as readability is not an issue.
  • A ubiquitous format that has gained acceptance and recognition over the centuries
  • Cost cheaper to produce artwork when compared to generating motion frames needed for motion comics as print comics are analogue mediums.
  • Augments reader’s experience. Modes of participatory imagination is often required.
  • Value of collectability differs, as motion comics are pervasive and on digital modes sharing is made easily and it can’t match up to the sense of pride when owning a collectible printed edition of the same comics.
Cons
  • It is static
  • Not as intuitive when compared to motion comics
  • Style, though debatable, is limited to ink
  • Passive mode of expression

The Pros and Cons of of Motion Comics:

Pros:

  • Coloration and cinematic aspects though moving images as engaging elements
  • Dynamica and active
  • Employment of multiple sensory cues with conflating elements of cinematography means
  • Novelty
  • Different styles of approach can be used to depict narration, not just limited to frames.
Cons
  • Cost much higher for full production
  • Needs access to technological platform in order to view motion comics
  • Lesser room for collaboration and imagination as scenes are dictated in particular manners.

Reflection

It is AMAZING how technology has shaped and crated the way we live in today’s society. Things are often changing but one thing to consider here, is change really always good?

Though motion comics augments sensory experience through the cinematic approach that we find in films and motion pictures, there are obvious limitations as to what this digital platform can offer. The room for imagination is greatly reduced in the motion comics when sequence has been dictated by the creator, whereas this is not the case in printed ones, which is one of the major issue I have with motion comic. Though the animation from the motion ones are engaging, the room for control is delimited as time is presented in a stagnant, linear progression, where as for print comics, the temporal and spatial relations deployed in reading them are often in the hands of the reader.

If we probed further, are motion comics inherently a new platform to view comics as? I will confine my study of these differences to highlight why I would inclined to say, no it isn’t. Firstly, motion comics inherited qualities from its predecessor, the printed ones. Secondly, it delimits capacity for imagination. Though it aid in the smooth continual flow of narration, the same could be found in printed comics, though not as dynamic. Though it is a great medium to portray particularly action sequence, this could be circumvented by the style of static, well drawn comic.

Styling, crafting and art direction are key in presetting spectacular visuals, and thus no matter which medium it is using, these elements are crafted deepening on the medium deployed thus poses no issues as to which is superior.

The room for imagination in printed comic offers a more comprehensive view on not just reading comics, but to be part of it. Irregardless of genres and style, printed ones, in my opinion are not restrained by the medium in which deployed to show he message that one might notice in that of a form of motion comics.

Thus, though motion comics take on as a novelty offering, I think all readers of comic art should ponder upon deeply before accepting such interpellation of change.

kaiens