For this brief, our Tutor wanted us to pick a theme to explore more independently and develop when it comes down to the concept, design, materials, techniques and processes. The aim of this brief is to experiment and explore the chosen theme that we selected. We were shown some themes that included performance. So I wanted to pick an idea that involves short story-telling. I was interested in a idea of using storyboards which give you the general idea of the story without any dialogue. I’m use to seeing rough, sketched out storyboards, but not a polished storyboard. This led down to my idea of having a storyboard which has the layout of a comic strip. I wanted to go with this idea since the theme we had to explore was performance and I was well aware of how storyboards are produced before film-making to help actors perform some scenes. I originally wanted this to be some sort of animatic or animation to show to the class, but with limited time, I wanted to reduce that down to a storyboard to save some time and research and development for my final outcome. I had been jotting down notes in my sketchbook for some research before coming up with an idea for a storyboard.
I was still trying to present the visual idea to show you how I going to create the comic along with some pictures. I have spent most of the time sketching the ideas out rather than writing in details about how the project will go through or what materials and techniques will I use in order to complete this brief. I have been pacing around and slouching) trying to brainstorm ideas of how this could work. I couldn’t really stay in one place for too long or keep my spine straight (which isn’t too good for my posture I will admit). The original concept for my storyboard is to create a Vocaloid parody of Nazi Germany and attempt to mimic the government structure of how they functioned as well. My Tutor had been reluctant for me to go with my idea has it may cause controversy. With some initial thought, I thought about tweaking the idea instead of dropping it completely. And eventually want to polish up more on my design sheets explaining the ideas, materials, techniques and processes. Luckily, I haven’t been dealing with too many dangerous tools for this project, so there was a low risk of harming myself, but there may have been a higher risk of my neck aching as I have often lean forward towards either the monitor or the desk to look at my work and produce more as well, so I would pace around from time to time. I wanted to get the rough idea down for others to understand the idea, but from the sketched out guidelines and cross-hatching, the presentation wasn’t up to scratch for a design sheet. So I thought about polishing up and remaking the design sheet again to give a better representation for anyone wanting to look at my design sheets.
Most of these rough design sheets is a visual display of my concept of a short detailed storyboard of a digital war between the computer viruses and vocaloids. I had the rough idea in my head and wanted to present that onto the design sheets. My Tutor had mentioned that storyboards need to focus more on text and less on visuals when presenting your ideas on a design sheet. I had started of with using a HB pencil when getting the information down into the sheet before outlining it in Biro pen to be sure that it stands out and is legible to anyone curious enough to read and understand the concept behind my project. This was made to include more detail for my storyboard and new ideas placed in and replacing any older inappropriate themes in the original idea. I thought about how I could tweak certain areas in order to present the same idea, but this time it won’t involve any Nazis (understanding the context of them and the harm they’ve done). It was interesting to get everyone else’s two cents on the subject (including the Tutor’s). My Tutor was mainly interested in seeing a coloured design sheet with less visuals and more text to give away information.
I eventually updated and coloured (using a mix of colouring pencils and the design sheets as my Tutor had requested. I went on a head with the same idea. I decided to use all the rough sheets and put together a detailed design sheet regarding my idea for making a storyboard, but I have tweaked some minor details to avoid possible controversy as my Tutor warned me of. I thought of using vocaloids characters at first, but when my Tutor learned about the fact that I didn’t own them, he requested that I could design my own characters to avoid copyright claims (or plagiarism) and as a result, I had dropped the idea of using existing characters which gives me room for using my imagination and development. When I had gotten feedback for my updated idea, I have had a few peers comment on how it has similar to the Matrix (a 1999 fantasy/action film). I had looked up the film and decided a read on its’ synopsis. It certainly reminded me of my concept since the both of them involve people in a cyber world. I promise that wasn’t intentional as I have never really seen the Matrix before conjuring up my idea. I opened up MS paint to place themed images that work into each category for my storyboard itself. By organising it into sections, that made it easier for me to sort them all out instead of jumbling them together and making a mess.
I started off with brainstorming my ideas for what I want the characters to look like. I looked at the art style, hairstyles, clothes or physical form for each character to take. I did try different approaches to how I want them to look and what special abilities I want them to have. I want to aim for ideas of my characters to replace the Vocaloids. I also wanted to add some colour or try out a colour scheme that would fit for them. I would jot down notes as I sketch ideas from my head. Some designs were inspired from my older art styles that I use to draw with in my childhood. I tried to look at different fashion senses to adapt to my characters as well.
When my Tutor introduced me to some magic marker pens, I wanted to use them with felt tip pens to test how they look on my sketch book paper. The magic markers had a clean look in comparison to how I see visible deepened marks from using felt tip pens. This was just a update on the visuals for my main characters and an excuse to try out new materials. I never really bothered with the limited set of colours that I had available at the time, but I wanted to work with what was compatible at the time.
After some brainstorming, I eventually gave a colour palette for a new set of characters to use in the storyboard or a scene. I only wanted to show off a preview of what they would look like in colour. This was a rough sketch with some pencil and felt tip pens to display some visuals and rough info about them. I would still pace around and procrastinate when it came down to colours and I wanted to be sure that I could stick with this colour scheme further on.
I attempted using different media and art styles to mess around with how I wanted the storyboard to look. I was messing around to see how the background would look in backgrounds. I would use a range of materials such as felt tip pens, chalk, oil pastel, charcoal, Photoshop, smudging with my bare hands etc. I went along with available materials that I have walking around and getting my hands on. I will say that using Photoshop was a bit of a hassle to digitally paint how I would have wanted the layout to look as supposed to how it should have looked (like the others). I ended up with having to wash my hands clean every time I would deal with chalk or charcoal. Both are useful for creating shadow and lighting which would give me a better chance of creating a brighter environment for my characters that I want to adapt into my story.
After messing around with the materials in my studio, I immediately wanted to move onto trying out digital painting on adobe Photoshop to try for a different set of visuals that would be more pleasing to the eye. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to practice my own skills on Photoshop when I haven’t really tried it for some time now. I remembered different brush settings to try out, which give off the appearance of grass. Now I combined this with airbrushing to create the grass fields. I would mess around with the opacity to take a look at how I can blend other cyber elements onto the scene itself. So I searched through google images to look through any free stock cyber images to put into my image since the scene resembled a normal landscape (a rather plain one too).
I noticed that the background resembled a rather odd field that seemed to lack any real hints of it being a digital world where people in my story live in. I still wanted to keep the war elements, including trenches and fields, so I had to try to create a few layers of grass. I would work on each separately before.
This was where I wanted to experiment with background. I wanted to try different materials for each image. I wanted to at least try traditional and digital media. I wanted to attempt a digital background in Photoshop and experiment with different brush settings available in the program. I will admit that I looked at some Tutorials on creating landscapes and grass. I explore with different free stock textures and some layers. I drew the majority of the art there with a mouse, but had some difficulty with adding some clouds to the sky no matter how many times I would attempt to colour, smudge and apply some default blur effect. So I ended up leaving that out. As for the texture, I would mess around with the opacity and the blur effect to make sure that it fades in well enough to blend in with the rest of the background, but not to the point where the background is completely blocked out of the way.
This was the outcome that I had produced within the time limit. Now I’m aware that if I had managed my time better then maybe I would have either added more to this image or at least be able to add in more scenes, but with a lot of the time of having to colour with a mouse and having to carefully sketch out the hand before colouring it in wasted most of the time. A classmate had recommended me to use a tablet to consume less time, but at the time, I never really bothered with getting other digital supplies to help and that was my own responsibility. The only real problem I had with this was sorting out the landscape and the binary texture. I wanted to try out the glitch effect, but left it as it was since I was unsatisfied. I did at first want to make it traditionally, but I wanted to get out of my own comfort zone of typically needing to cross hatch and doodle my artwork on a constant basis. I thought that I would be able to get this to resemble a scene from my story where the war gets chaotic.