Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blast from the past 2: Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.

Alright, round 2. [fight.]

Where I left off last time, I had just written my mediocre short story. It was extraordinarily average, so I needed to cut down, crop, enlarge the good moments from it to make it interesting at all.

If you read the last post, the main problem was that I tried to fit too much story in a tiny bit of space, so it ended up being as bad as a bullet pointed list of plot. My answer to this problem was to choose what I thought was the most important part, Kai's action of leaving, and explore this time as thoroughly as possible. The way I did this that I thought would make the images play a crucial part in the story was to not look at my short story at all. Instead, I chose to imagine the concept of leaving and story boarded the images out without any real concept of the text that would fit in.

The result were the following story boards.

After these drawings got cranked out, I found that I had a real framework that I could build from finally. All these images seemed to really click with the first ones that I had produced in my sketchbook way back in August (for those keeping track of the timeline, this storyboard is from the beginning of January.)

After this point, I looked at each page from the story board and started writing my text. I had just started reading Big Sur by Kerouac, and I think Dharma Bums is probably my favorite story. I'm not much of a writer, so I found myself looking a lot at Kerouac's voice hoping to find a role model for myself. For any of you guys who hasn't read much of it, he's got the most beautiful mix of stream of conscious and information, and I'd recommend it with all my heart.

Once text was matched to the images, the main design decision I had left was how to put the text into the pages. This was a major part of my focus paper in the beginning and I had to put a lot of thought into it. The art of David Mack was a major influence when thinking of this. One of the techniques he uses is to just cut out strips of text and put them right amongst the images. I thought this was a brilliant idea, so I decided to stand on the shoulders of giants and just steal it.

During Exams at the end of January, I listened to more this american life than I have in my entire life and got all 32 pages of sketches finished up. Here they are, dads.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

working with palettes, yeargh

For anyone who's been reading this, (I'm looking at you, diaz and isabella) y'all know that last week or two weeks ago or something I was having major color worries. Not so much that I thought that I couldn't get my stuff together ever to do it, but it just took a lot of analysis to really figure out what I was trying to do.

The main thing was that I had all these separate visions of the two worlds that existed, outside and in the woods, that sometimes conflicted with each other.

After looking at some of my favorite paintings by Ashley Wood and James Jean, I finally realized that if just set up color rules for myself that stayed constant, it'd be so much easier for me to start jumping into paintings without worry.

The first one I gave a shot was the field and outdoor palette, based a lot on this image by james jean (who, by the way, apparently just updated his site! how exciting!) I didn't want the total, almost monochromatic feel of it, but the way that the gold is almost overpowering seemed to have something I was going for.

The next one I worked on was the in the woods palette. This was based mostly on my own picturing of the woods. It's probably a little more naturalistic and true to life than the other. I haven't decided yet if I want it to be dreamier than that, or what, but maybe I can just achieve that using glow-y light. "Nymphs and Satyr" by Bougareau takes a really nice look at executing that approach because it's technically in the woods, they all should be in shadow, but the light from the other world can still descend down. The juxtaposition of these two world gives you a lot of possibility to focus on certain compositional elements and even make certain symbolic implications while doing that.

Anyway, so I think all that stuff is good. In other news, I did a quick poll on my facebook on who would be interested in buying this book and have a list of almost 40 people now that I know would like it! holy crap! I thought I wouldn't make it to 25. Guess I'm doing alright.

Blast from the past #2 in a little bit, i think.

Monday, March 1, 2010

hepyeargh, we got characters all over the place

Meet the gang, everyone.

After countless sketches using faceless figures vaguely making random gestures, I've finally got faces matched to personalities.

The only real time I've seen that sort of thing done is when my friend Geoff created a small comic book at RISD.

I learned a lot from this whole process. I found myself trying to look at each character and to express their personalities through their facial features and clothing/hair styles.

The first one I started with was Gen just because with him as the narrator's voice makes me feel a little closer to him. In the plot of the story, Gen is kindof in love with Kai, in a boyish way, but in the end, he's more comfortable living the neolithic life style. The sense of security and habit gives him comfort. So even though he's living out there in the woods, I wanted to give him something that was a little more linked to the "suburban lifestyle:" the button down shirt. His hair I didn't want too crazy either, to fit those same ideas.

Kai was kind of the anti that, so instead, I wanted him to just have the unhindered t-shirt and the semi dread hawk hair.

These were important decisions, but I found the one where I was really trying to be deliberate was in Oliana. Unlike Kai and Gen, her voice isn't heard that much except for when she asks Kai why he's leaving, so it's really important that her personality get expressed through her appearance and her actions. So in this, I ended up thinking about her hair a lot. I wanted her to be in touch with her feminine side, but, also, obviously, she lives in the woods, so she had to show a bit of tom boyness in it. The result is that kind of long, but tied up look. Same sort of thing went for her tank top.

The whole process was new to me, and I realized I have some issues with anatomy of the female torso. I guess I'm just used to seeing my own sort of frame in the mirror, but I think figuring out the size of the shoulders/rib cage is a whole different process between the genders. Hep. whatever.