For any creative practitioner, its important we research, experiment, and draft prior to establishing our final work. As explained by author Brian Hutchinson, “the first drafts are perhaps the most important step to completing your project […] it enables your idea to become a physical, tangible manifestation you can refer to and build on” (Hutchinson, 2014). In relation to our comic, this notion will be explored through layout, media, and character design. To expand, the following post aims to provide further insight into the creative process that developed our comic book. In particular, we’ll examine the most suitable layout for our target audience as well as experiment with traditional media to determine the most appropriate colour palette for our comic. From a conceptual context, we’ll also examine an early series of drawings related to our comic’s central character – the Yowie.
In relation to layout, the following self-created templates (see Fig. 3.1) will be used throughout the comic, each fulfilling a different purpose depending on the narrative tone. For example:
Template A (9 Panels): This template will be the most recurring layout, providing the comic with an easy-to-read appearance. In particular, it will enable a younger audience to follow the comic narrative without difficulty.
- Template B (4 Rows): In contrast to the other layouts, template B will provide the opportunity for wide shots and panoramas. This will enable the expansive landscape to be depicted as well as reinstate the loneliness of the Yowie. From a wider perspective, it also enhances the opportunity to include Australian motifs and symbols, establishing a national identity within the comic.
- Template C (Big Beginning): From a drafting standpoint, this template is still under consideration for the final work. To expand, its purpose will simply serve to open the narrative in a unique fashion.
- Template D (Big Middle): Perhaps the most important, template D will serve to reduce the monotonous layout that many comics fall prey to.
- Template E (Big Ending): This template enables the final scenes to be almost a series of paintings, delivering the final messages of the artwork. In particular, the larger panels highlight the gravity of the situation that unfolds in the final stages of the comic narrative.
From an artistic standpoint, media will also play a vital role towards the final appearance, style and reception of our comic. To expand, both inks and watercolours will be used throughout the final work, fulfilling a different purpose depending on the tone of the narrative. In particular, the use of watercolours will be mainly limited to backgrounds and scenery, emphasising the ink-drawn characters as well as enabling a fast-paced approach to traditional colouring (Noë, 2000). To expand, the colour palette will heavily depend on tones synonymous with the north-west Australian outback – harvest browns, sunburnt reds, blue skies, and eucalyptus green (see Fig. 3.2). From a research perspective, a series of photographs from north-western Australia will be referred to, providing a framework for colours depending on the location of the scene. In relation to digital media, the use of technology will be limited to simply two tools: scanner and laminator. For the purpose of reworking, templates, and experimentation, the scanner will enable drafts to be uploaded and reprinted as a means to develop characters, scenes and type. In particular, it will also increase the production rate of templates, providing a faster approach to experimenting with layouts per page of the comic (see Fig. 3.1). In relation to the laminator, the final process will involve laminating the comic to provide a high-gloss finish similar to the high-profile comics in store.
Like any visual project, concept art plays a vital role towards developing the characters, landscape, and environment. To enhance the potential of our comic, it’s important we explore different approaches to character design, enabling the most appropriate draft to succeed. From a contemporary perspective, concept art within comics has recently embraced the use of digital technology, using raster graphics editors as well as graphic tablets to enable more efficient working methods. However our creative project will rely upon a number of traditional mediums such as pencil, markers, and ink. As explained by Pixar CEO John Lasseter, “proficiency with traditional media is often paramount to a concept artist’s ability to use painting or drawing software […] more importantly Interpretation of ideas and how they are realized is where the concept artist’s individual creativity is most evident, as subject matter is often beyond their control” (Shamsuddin, 2012).
In the upcoming days, the following media experiments, drafts, and conceptual art will be used to develop the final creative product – a comic book that appeals to both adults and children. From a personal standpoint, its possible to claim that I’ve bit off more than I can chew, yet the overall purpose of this unit is to explore our creative process – a notion that may encourage more informed decisions in future creative projects. In turn, it seems important to note the creative possibilities that arise from aiming high and missing the mark than perhaps playing the field safe by aiming low and passing the unit.
- Hutchinson, B. (2014). Positive Writer. Why Your First Draft Is NOT Crap. http://positivewriter.com/why-your-first-draft-isnt-crap/
- Noë, A. (2000). Journal of Consciousness Studies (Vol. 7). Experience and Experiment in Art. http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~noe/art.pdf
- Rizvi, S. (2014). The Pixar Times. John Lasseter: Pixar on Concept Art. http://pixartimes.com/2014/06/20/pixar-unveils-gorgeous-inside-out-concept-art/
- Stotzer, T. (2014). Tutorial Ten – Study Group [Tutorial Notes]. Perth, WA: Edith Cowan University