For many readers, we often harbour the notion that comics are solely for the pleasure of children and teenagers, their intellectual value being minimum at best. Despite this, a recent marketing study conducted by a major comic book publisher, indicates that the average age of comic book readers is between 25 and 30 (Standberry, 2012). To expand, countries such as France, Belgium, and Japan, have a long relationship with comic books, including their own distinct styles and wide selection of stories in different genres (Townsend, 2012). In contrast, the Australian comic book industry is almost non-existent, often relying on overseas publications to satisfy its consumers. From a creative standpoint, this presents a series of challenges to base my project upon, including the opportunity to create a comic book that appeals to both adults and children. In particular, we can also explore the possibility of designing a comic that displays intellectual credibility as well as a distinct style that reflects our national identity.
To enhance our understanding of this project, it’s vital we explore numerous aspects of the comic industries such as design techniques, narrative devices, consumer base, and select opposition. In particular, this research phase will also include various resources related to key aspects of the storyline. For example, indigenous folklores may be explored to help characterise the comic’s central character, the legendary Yowie, a mythical hominid reputed to live in the Australian wilderness (Dennis, 2006). In relation to narrative, this critical analysis can enhance our understanding as well as unearth important details that can affect our entire story (Wilson, 2012). As explained by Pixar Animation Studio’s Andrew Stanton, “the essence of any great creative product is research […] successful research can often decide the difference between a good or bad end-result” (Ibarra, 2013). This statement reflects the crucial role that research can play in the creative industries, often inspiring a foundation to guide the direction of our creative product.
In relation to design process, applying a series of rules and parameters can provide a benchmark for managing our comic. This practice involves careful consideration of what we wish to achieve as well as defines the steps necessary to do so. As Dr. Stuart Medley of Edith Cowan University states, “deciding on the rules and parameters [can be] a playful and creative act in itself” (Lecture Week Five: Creativity and Design, 2014). To enhance the success of our comic, three major rules and parameters have been set relating to medium, colour, and layout. This includes the strict use of conventional drawing tools such as pencil, ink, and watercolour, as well as applying a palette of colours related to the tones and hues of outback Australia. To enhance our understanding of these traditional mediums, the acclaimed works of both comic artists Hergé and Art Spiegelman will be explored (see Fig. 1.1). In particular, their use of word balloons, sequential panels, and brief descriptive prose will be applied as guidelines towards crafting our comic layout.
From a creative standpoint, it also seems important to note the limitations that accompany any project. This enables a creative practitioner to identify future problems that may arise as well as explore early methods to overcome them. In contrast to the team of artists usually behind a comic production, it seems the greatest challenge facing our solo project is a limited time frame. To overcome this limitation, it’s imperative that self-discipline is enforced through effective time management and self-imposed due dates. Despite this, it’s also important to recognise the chance that any creative proposal may deviate from its original intention. From a personal perspective, this can be highly appealing as a creative practitioner. For instance, how many unexpected detours have led artists, writers, or inventors to create a final piece far greater than what they anticipated?
To expand upon our creative proposal, we can explore beyond the intention of showcasing a tangible comic book. In particular, the following blurb provides clearer insight into the storyline pertaining to the comic:
Set in early twentieth century Australia, two siblings move to the country to be with their last remaining relatives, an estranged aunt and uncle. However they soon discover their new country landscape is home to a lonely and misunderstood creature known as The Yowie. While befriending a mythical monster proves to be much easier than expected, they soon encounter a series of big problems: how do you keep a 15-foot-tall, yam-eating yowie a secret – especially when there’s a high priced bounty on his head and the combined force of the local township mobilising to destroy the “violent and unnatural creature”?
For the purpose of documenting my project, this blog will be frequently updated to present the process, methods, and challenges involved in creating a comic. In relation to the final product, the comic will be displayed page by page in a series of uploaded media files, preferably video and photograph. From a personal perspective, the opportunity to practice traditional techniques as well as develop an original character stands as highly appealing to my creative senses. Perhaps this project will incite a newfound appreciation for the comic art form?
- Comic Book Resources. (2012). Spider Sense … Tingling [Image]. Retrieved 27 August 2014 from: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/04/15/when-we-first-met-the-first-time-spider-mans-spider-sense-tingled/
- Coyote Vs. Wolf: Jason Lutes on Comics/Games/Life. (2008). Tintin Comic [image]. Retrieved 27 August 2014 from: https://jlutes.wordpress.com/category/comics/
- Dennis, L. (2006). Australia: Since 1890. Australia, 1890-1914 (pp. 24-25). Victoria: Pearson Education Australia
- Ibarra, S. (2013). Geek Exchange. Pixar and the Importance of doing your Research in Animation. http://www.geekexchange.com/pixar-and-the-importance-of-doing-your-research-in-animation-75937.html
- LaGuardia Community College. (2009). What is Maus? [Image]. Retrieved 27 August 2014 from: http://www.lagcc.cuny.edu/maus/whatismaus.htm
- Medley, S. (2014). Week Five – Creativity & Design [Lecture Notes]. Perth, WA: Edith Cowan University
- Standberry, L. (2012). TopTenz. Top 10 Ten Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Comics. http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-reasons-why-everyone-should-read-comics.php
- Stotzer, T. (2014). Tutorial Five – Study Group [Tutorial Notes]. Perth, WA: Edith Cowan University
- Townsend, L. (2012). BBC News: Magazine. Collaboration Seven: Making a Comic Book. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19112066
- Wilson, J. (2012). The Guardian. How to Write a Book in 30 Days: Researching your Novel. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/oct/19/researching-your-novel