To accompany our creative project, its important we include an exegesis – a form of assessment that critically examines our creative product in the light of contemporary theory and practice (Edith Cowan University, 2014). In turn, this mini-exegesis will examine the outcome of our comic as well as explore the relationship of the form, content, and materials to the purpose and function of the work. To expand, we will also analyse the context of our comic, drawing upon physical, artistic, historical, social, and theoretical contexts explored within and outside the unit. In particular, these aspects will be examined with reference to relevant contemporary discussions, in order to relate the project to current thinking in the comic community. From a personal standpoint, this practice will provide the framework for reflection, perhaps enhancing our overall appreciation of the creative process as well as the final work.
In relation to our creative project, the decision to create a traditional comic was inspired by the comic medium – “a visual platform that can be used to express ideas via images, combined with text or visual information” (Beck & Wells, 2005). In turn, the idea of a comic provided the perfect framework to tell the story of two young siblings and their interactions with a friendly creature known as the Yowie in early twentieth century Australia. To expand, both the ideas of creating a comic and developing The Yowie provided a series of challenges to base my project upon, including the opportunity to create a comic book that appealed to both adults and children. In particular, it also enabled us to explore the possibility of designing a comic that displayed intellectual credibility as well as a distinct style that reflected Australia’s cultural identity. From a broader conceptual context, we can simply explore our project as an opportunity to engage with the comic community, young readers and perhaps parents that are yet to be convinced of the intellectual value that comics can present.
From a physical standpoint, the project was handmade using pen and paper, establishing a parameter that reverted to the traditional methods of animation. Despite appreciating the notion of traditional drawing, the creative process was insightful into my recent dependency on digital media. In turn, the painstakingly long hours spent drafting, colouring, and replicating characters, highlighted my contemporary preference for digital software. For example, the ability to simply erase, copy, and colour was far more difficult to accomplish than simply uploading the illustrations to digital programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. So, why create a comic without the aid of contemporary technology? Perhaps the answer plays central to the reverence and nostalgia that many creative practitioners possess towards traditional methods – an understanding and deep appreciation towards the time invested (McMahon, 2014). As author Keith Sawyer explains, “for many of us, the old ways are still the most appealing ways […] nostalgically we draw upon the mediums and methods that set the foundations for where we are today” (Sawyer, 2006).
The influences behind the creative project also play an important role towards understanding the conceptual context of the work. Like many animators, the work of Hayao Miyazaki continues to be a highly influential source for storytelling, using hand-drawn techniques to develop a distinct style that defines the global standards of Japanese animation. This notion was particularly appealing as it inspired the opportunity to develop a comic narrative that may reflect the cultural identity of Australia in a unique fashion. In particular, the work of both Hergé (creator of Tin Tin) and Art Spiegelman (creator of Maus) played an influential role towards the foundations of my comic, demonstrating the effective use of history, legends and folklore to develop narrative, themes and artistic style. In turn, this notion was perhaps the driving force that inspired my creative project to explore Australian folklores such as the Yowie.
From a wider perspective, it’s important we examine the records of our creative process, establishing the restraints, challenges, and milestones overcome during the production of our work. To expand, simple recording methods might include: a visual diary of the work, showing its progress and transformations as well as written notes alongside the visuals (Edith Cowan University, 2014). In turn, this process can provide insight into the intentions, ideas, methods, problems, and reading associated with creating a comic. For our project, a series of key restraints can be noted throughout the creative process, including: time, manpower, and arguably inadequate parameters. This outcome has provided vital information that will enhance my time management, artistic decisions, and parameter-making in future projects related to creativity. To expand, we can also explore the benefits and disadvantages of our academic environment throughout the creative process. In contrast to the creative flow experienced on personal projects, the overriding sense of deadlines, expectations, and grading can perhaps play a negative role on the creative process. For example, the notion of being evaluated can arguably drive the creative practitioner to work longer hours, perhaps during uninspired periods of creativity. However we can also explore the academic setting as an optimum creative environment, providing the ability to interact with like-minded individuals that facilitate, encourage and inspire our creative endeavours. From a personal perspective, both these positive and negative contexts can be analysed throughout the process used to create our final project.
In relation to creativity, the project provided an extensive opportunity to explore our personal process towards approaching a creative task. To expand, the question remains: would we attempt to create a handmade comic again? Firstly it seems important to recognise the creative potential that the task has presented. In turn, the comic may continue to grow from a personal interest and perhaps provide the grounds to develop traditional skills in the field of animation. More importantly, the unit has enhanced my understanding of personal creative abilities, flaws, relationships, and dependencies with the environments, technologies, and processes that are used everyday. Perhaps this experience has encouraged more informed decisions in future creative projects as well as the next attempt to create a comic that appeals to both adults and children.
- Beck, J. & Wells, N. (2005). The Origin of The Art (pp.10-23). Animation Art. Victoria: Flame Tree Publishing.
- Edith Cowan University (2014). Exegesis: Academic Tip Sheet. Retrieved from: https://intranet.ecu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/20618/exegesis.pdf
- McMahon, M. (2014). Week Six – Creativity & Technology [Lecture Notes]. Perth, WA: Edith Cowan University
- Sawyer, R. K. (2006). Contexualist Approaches (p.119). Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press
- Stotzer, T. (2014). Tutorial Twelve – Study Group [Tutorial Notes]. Perth, WA: Edith Cowan University