First Person – Graphic Novel – Creating The Display

For the final part of the project we were given a space in the library to create a small display of all our work together. As a group we were asked to design the display to make sure everyones work compliment each other and was displayed appropriately. This was another way in which we have collaborated within this module, as well as being able to talk with our peers about the work we’ve produced, this allowed us to work collaboratively to produce a display.

The Final Display Cabinet

In the end I think that the display did showcase everyones work in a positive light and enabled each piece of work to shine in it’s own light. This is something that I have not done before but I think that it has taught me a lot about how to display a group of work together. This will be a useful skill to have when it comes to putting together future shows and displays of work.

I felt that my novel was displayed nicely in the corner of the cabinet, and was placed on angle to allow people to be able to see the back of it as well as the page that it was displaying. It’s placement complimented the other people’s work well giving it space to breathe and stand alone.

First Person – Graphic Novel – Reflective Statement

During this field project I think that I have learnt quite a bit not only about collaboration and the area of art and design, but also about myself as a person. As my project was based on four generations of my family, this meant that I had to look back through family albums/history to obtain the information I needed.  Not only have I learnt that family values have remained the same throughout, but I’ve also found that people share strong similarities appearance wise. Which is something that I’d never thought about before. As family history has always been an interest of mine, through this project I have been able to combine art and design with something that I am interested in. I think that this has enabled me to produce an outcome which is strong.

In terms of learning about creating a graphic novel/sequence of images, I think that I have learnt a great deal particularly about how to construct a narrative. The lectures and workshops that we have done has enabled me to think in more depth about how to construct a narrative. It must have a beginning, middle and end but whether that’s shown in chronological order or not is up to the author of the narrative. They are the masters of time in this context. Furthermore, I think that the project has shown me how I can combine skills together, it doesn’t always have to be digital it can be a combination. This is something that I should continue to remember when working on future projects so that my work isn’t always the same and I’m having variety of experiments before the final outcome.

Through research in this project I think I have found some new ways of finding inspiration which I might not have thought about prior to starting this project. One of these method was through visiting an exhibition, even an exhibition which might have a vague link to topic which you are working on. I’ve learnt that you can create inspiration from something that isn’t directly linked to the project topic, and it can help you produce a strong and well thought out outcome. This is an idea for inspiration and idea development that I will take back to my subject area, drawing on my experiences that might not be a direct link to the topic.

I have also learnt how collaboration can help even when you are creating an individual outcome. Throughout the course of project, I have worked closely with Meg, who’s initial inspiration/theme for her novel was similar to mine. This has meant that we were able to bounce ideas between each other and reach new ideas that we might not have been able to create working alone. This type of collaboration I think has worked well for me as it means that I haven’t be waiting just for the tutorials, I’ve been able to gain feedback throughout the course of development stages. Having the ability to work with these collaborative ideas has given me an insight into how a studio environment might work.

At the beginning of this project I didn’t think that I was going to be able to link this back to my subject area. I was nervous about the project as I initially thought that it would mean that I needed to draw characters which is something that I know I struggle with. However, I feel that I’ve been able to think about creating the novel similar to how I would put together an editorial piece. As the project started to develop, I found that I was getting into the idea and enjoying it more than I thought I would at the start. I think through having the chance to use photographs rather than drawings meant that I was also able to link it back to my A level photography learning, where we did a lot of narrative through imagery workshops.

I feel that during the project have been able to create an experimental graphic novel, even though it’s not completed yet, I think that the concept of the narrative is different and new. Through experimenting with mixed media, I think that it has enabled me to find new avenues of ideas to venture down. Throughout all the developments I think that the initial final outcome has potential to work if the novel was to be put into production.

Overall, I think that this project has enabled me to learn about a different subject area but has also given me skills and methods that I can take back to my own area of practice and use to develop my work. The project enabled us to set new rules, rules that we might not work in. It has offered me the chance to move away from my comfort zone, move out of the creative boundaries I have set myself for my own practice.

 

First Person – Graphic Novel – Development #5

As the project comes to a close there were a few things that I still needed to figure out and develop. Firstly being the name of the novel/narrative. This is something that I have purposely left until last as I felt that if I gave it a name it would effect my thoughts towards it hence why I have left it until last. I started to brain storm a couple of names including: Generations, Connections and Four of Us. However, none of these I felt linked to the context of the narrative, or what I had learnt through creating this book. I thought about the lines in the book and what they represent, these lifelines in the book show key characters. They are individual bloodlines of people, which is why the name Bloodline came into the conversation. Bloodline is to do with a set of ancestors and your heritage, which is essentially what the narrative of this book shows, how each generation came into being. I wanted the book to also have a small description on the back (even the mini mockup) which would give the viewer and insight into what the graphic novel was about.

“Bloodline explores the timeline of four generations. Inspired by a personal interest in family history, this novel delves into the key events which have shaped the family structure. Through the use of personal family photographs and mixed media Bloodline shows clear connections between the generations.” 

Furthermore, I also needed to develop the Marquette /mini version of the novel, which I felt was important because it would show how the book could work on a larger scale. Using kettle stitch binding method I was able to bind all the pages together using the method. When I presented my work I found that people felt that the size I had created the mini version at seemed the right size, they said that it felt personal and personalised, almost like it could fit in your pocket.

With these small developments to the project I think that this has allowed me to see my novel as though it could be put into production. However, I do like the handmade element almost as if its more of a one of artist book rather than something that could be put into production.

First Person – Graphic Novel – Development #4

Following the tutorial, I printed out some copies of the work (in black and white) with some of the developments that had been suggested to me. I managed to purchase some paint markers which were in different colours to enable me to be able to physically draw the lines onto the spreads rather than have them digital. I think that this works really well because it allowed each of the hearts to be different rather than all be too polished. I also think having all the lines hand drawn in the paint markers given them more resemblance to threads. I have also changed it so that the type is sitting within the line rather than on top of the line. I think that this makes the lines flow better and is easier to read.

Previously I had thought about the lines being different shades of the same colour, however, as the project has developed further I felt it would be more appropriate for each individuals line to be a different colour. Through doing this would allow the reader to be able to distinguish between characters easier throughout the course of the novel.

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I have also started to develop and created the section spreads; these I used a similar approach where I took a paint marker and showed all the individuals’ lifelines who were present in that section. I think that this works really well as when I was developing this digitally it wasn’t look right instead it seems as though the lines were too chunky; the paint markers are the better option.

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Also, I developed the spread that shows the passing of my great-grandfather. As mentioned, before I was just doing to use the lines that flow throughout the book to show this. Initially I started by including the heart symbols within the lines, but on reflection the symbols were meant to show the person but as there’s no individuals to show as the spread is plain, I felt that this didn’t sit right. I then went on to develop a spread that used the colours of the line within out the hearts. Comparing these two spread it was clear that the plain lines were more powerful, and I think communicated the message better.

First Person – Graphic Novel – Final Group Tutorial

In the tutorial this morning I was able to discuss the developments that I had made to my project. I was able to gain some feedback on the mixed media stuff that I had done. This came back very positively as it felt a lot more personal, however it was suggested that maybe the hearts are too polished at times and should be freer. I could consider making each of the hearts different from one another.

We also spoke about the typography within the graphic novel currently, I was experimenting with two different typefaces at the moment, however, we came to the conclusion that the typeface Letter Gothic Std was probably the better typeface as the other American Typewriter seemed too bold and demanding for the story. Furthermore, we also spoke about developing my own typeface for the novel. I thought that this would be a good idea however, in the timescale left for this project I think that this is something that I would definitely consider when carrying on this project in the future. They thought that through creating my own typeface I might be able to incorporate this better within the lifelines that play an essential part to the narrative. The idea of having the key quotes and phrases within the lines seemed to be most effective.

Furthermore, when explaining in more depth about how I obtained dates of events and names I showed my family trees that I had been able to use. These were created by my great aunt who found out majority of my family history. This sparked the idea of maybe using the family tree either at the end or beginning if the novel to show people in more depth the family. This would also act as a something to show the reader the people that are in the group photos, they would be able to know names, names which I can’t include in the main novel. I thought that this idea could allow me to develop some interesting visual elements to the family trees maybe showing the main characters through the lifelines being showed of the family tree.

I also showed the kettle stitch binding that I had a go at doing as I thought that by binding it through stitching would allow the idea to move forward more. This idea came across really well and was something that I could continue to use the novel was to be developed further. This led onto the idea of possibly using thread within the novel itself, to show the link between the binding method and the novel. The life lines are like threads so the inference could be made.

In the tutorial it we came into the conversation about what we have found through doing this project. I initially start with just an interested in the family generation, as this is something growing up that has always interested me, however, as the project has developed, and I have looked at photographs I have noticed strong similarities appearance wise between the generations. This was something that I never intended to find but something that you can see clearly throughout the novel. It’s an angle that I could potentially avenue down in the future if I wanted to.

Also, in the tutorial I was joined by Megan, we are both doing similar topics for our novels. This has allowed us to work together closely and bounce ideas back and forth between each other. By doing this it has allowed me the chance to gain ideas and perspectives I might not have reach on my own. Even right now in this last stage of the tutorials I have been able to bounce ideas around with Megan after the tutorial. This type of collaborative work is something that works well for me and gives me the impression of what it might be like to work as part of a team/studio.

I now have the ability to push through and try and get as much of this done as I can by next Thursday. I think this tutorial was really helpful to me guiding to more new ideas but also ideas that I could still develop once the deadline as past. I think that this is a project that I could continue to work on in my own time.

 

 

First Person – Graphic Novel – Binding Method Thoughts/Experiments

Initially I thought that I would bind the book together by glue, using a similar method that I have used before in editorial projects. I tested this idea on a smaller scale to what the book size would actually be. Although I want the book to be put together in a professional manner, I also wanted the binding of the book to have a possible meaning to the narrative or characters which I don’t think I have gained through binding using glue/spray mount.

I have done a book binding workshop before within my subject area which has allowed me to gain a brief idea of how I could put together a book. Recalling upon my experience in this workshop I decided to give Kettle Stitch binding ago. Using normal photocopy paper that I had available to me and a needle and thread, I was able to start trying to bind some blank signatures (two pages) together.

I found that through doing the kettle stitch binding allowed me the chance to make the book myself and it gave the book a sense of personality too. This was something that made me think of the topic of the novel, and having known the main people that the novel highlights, we are all very crafty and enjoy making things by hand so I thought that it would be another nod to them and their hobbies which might be nice.

Comparing the two methods together I do think that the stitch would be better suited to this project whereas using spray mount to attach the pages together is more suitable to maybe an editorial project, something that slick and clean. This project is supposed to be about family and connections, it’s something personal and the stitching shows that it’s made personally.

First Person – Graphic Novel – Page Layout/Creation of Chapters

After reading Ethel & Ernest (Briggs, R 1998) I found that the use of splitting the different decades of the narrative through chapters was something really interesting and inspired me to think about how I might do this myself. Until now the decades have just rolled into one another, which as meant that you might jump from 1970 straight into 1975. This might cause confusion to the reader, whereas if I was to include some sort of chapter heading within the book this might help the reader to understand the jump in time. As I am the creator of time within this narrative, it allows me the ability to jump in time however understandability this might cause confusion.

I have found the idea of taking a double page spread within the book and using it to show the dates of the generations. For example, Billie would be 1915- 1940 but then Kathleen would be 1949 – 1970, these double page spreads to be placed in between each of the generations being born. Taking the example of the 9 gaps in time between Billie and Kathleen, I decided that this wasn’t required as my grandmother was born therefore has no link to the story of how the photograph of the 4 generations came into being. These double pages would have the ‘lifelines’ of the characters as you might not see them in all the images within the sections, but this would symbolise that they are still part of their lives.

 

This idea then leads me on to think about how I could show the loss of my great grandfather as he passed away before I was born meaning before the photography (4 generations) was taken. I wanted to include this because I felt that he is an important part to the narrative, and it would be right to just ignore the fact that passed away. Using a double page spread and the lifelines I would have all the lines drawn going from one side of the page to the next which would indicate them moving forward to the next page however, my great grandfathers’ line wouldn’t go all the way across the page. This would make the reader think as I want them to have an active part in the narrative, and through not show showing a photograph of the funeral it allowed the viewer to think more and then understand what the lines are within the book.


References

Briggs, R., 1998. Ethel & Ernest, London: Jonathan Cape.

First Person – Graphic Novel – Development #3

Following from the feedback I was given in the tutorial I thought about how I could incorporate more lines into the images and what the lines represent. I now think that the lines represent the different life lines coming together, marriages forming, children being born and in some cases the lines coming to end. I thought that this might be a nice way for the viewer to track the characters throughout the story, as they might think that a character has disappeared.

To start this off I printed of a copy of the spread that shows my great grandmother’s wedding, as I thought that this shows a clear union of two people. Using a white marker I was able to draw a new line coming down from the top of the spread and then joining up alongside the current digital line. This clearly showed a union of two life lines to that were linked together however, I thought that it didn’t show the audience who the new life line was from. The viewer could probably make the connection that the new line represented the husband however, I think that it would be better to have a nod to the image that shows the new character.

This lead me onto exploring having the two lines intertwined too show that union of two lives but also to show the new character (great granddad) as an individual. I think that this worked well as it add more interest points in the spread. I also feel that by the lines coming together at the end of the page at the same point emphasis’s the fact that they are two people joined together by marriage.

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I then moved onto experiment with having more than two line on the page, as currently at this stage there was going to be multiple lines on the page at once. I thought about keeping the lines together again the lines from my great-grandparents would surround the main line for my grandmother. On reflection though I found that this might appear to complicated and wouldn’t make much sense to the viewer.

I moved on from this idea and felt that it was still important to have all three lines on this particular spread to show that they were her parents. However as they aren’t in any of the photo’s on this spread I felt that it was suitable to have the line drop of the bottom of the page again. This could allow them to appear again later on in the novel if they needed to. I felt that if I kept them at the bottom of all the pages this might become to much for each spread.

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Having the lines appear for each important individual to the story in the main images need I knew was going to need to be consider as for example my grandmothers wedding has my grandfather and both my great-grandparents there which means a lot of lines. Using pens I decided to try and show how the lines would work. My grandfathers line would appear from the top as it’s a new person while my great-grandparents lines would surface from the bottom of the page. Even though there are now 4 lines on the image I think that it would well and that it’s not too hectic that you lose the image. I do however, this that the placement needs more thought as at the moment they are placed a little bit at random.

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Experimenting with Media 

As mentioned from the tutorial it was said that maybe using a Digital line didn’t give the personal feeling that maybe it should have. I decided that if I print of a few of the spread I had created then I would be able to experiment with paint and pens to see which worked best. This also I think allowed me to the opportunity to experiment with colour, even though I think that the pink works I also think that with more lines going to be used maybe it’s an opportunity to use some different colours.

I used acrylic paints to start of with, using the Digital line as a guide for me to paint along. I used a thin brush as I didn’t want the line to be super thick as this would detract from the images which is something that I don’t want to do. I feel that the paint line works well, it does have a more personal sense about it but my only concern with it is that the colour doesn’t always appear the same throughout the line. However, it could be argued that this gives it more charm. For the white line I have used a paint marker which in comparison to the actual paint I think it’s a stronger finish. Maybe I could consider using acrylic paint for the main lines (4 generations) going through the images but then use the paint markers to show the other characters that are coming into the story, for example through the marriages.

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Even though the reds and the pinks I felt worked well with the images, I decided to experiment with blue. Using the blues each generations had a different shade of blue which was similar to what I was going with the reds/pinks. I personally like the blue and think that it works well with the images that I have tested it with. I do understand that it might appear cold to some people as blues/greens tend to be refereed to as cold colours whereas red and pinks are warmer colours. I think that this is something that I need to ask my peers about and gain some opinions about them.

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First Person – Graphic Novel – Tutorial Feedback

In the group tutorial today I received the following feedback about the work:

  • Line works well within the narrative of the story but could be utilised more to work with the under lying themes and values.
  • maybe consider the line being broken at times reflecting what happens in the story, the constant change is the people some maybe the line could reflect this.
  • Consider having more than one line throughout the course of the narrative, maybe to show going of blood lines or show that the generations are all connected.
  • Like how the colour of the line changes subtly in between the generations.
  • Reminded them of a child drawing across old photographs could be considered scribble like.
  • Maybe consider having a hand made approach drawing over the images rather than using digital brush. could provoke a sense of family.
  • What does the line mean? Does it have something to do with family, life line, or blood line maybe?
  • Could consider getting dad or gran to draw the line onto the photographs see how the would draw it? could give inspiration for the narrative.
  • Maybe consider changing the order of the story starting with me moving backwards. See which one tells the story in the better way, maybe play around with composition of the story.

We had a discussion about what the line could mean, currently it seemed little too perfect, maybe consider the pace of the line and how it interacts with the images on the page. Maybe consider breaks within the line to show certain parts of the narrative. This is something that I could consider more and look into.

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