Growing up Fast
After deciding the basics of the story with my group members, I started trying to draw out the figures with a tablet. Drawing with a tablet is really very hard and time-consuming because it takes time to get used to it. But it was also very interesting for me, especially because I have long been passionate about drawing and sketching.
My work and Helen’s overlapped a little. I adjusted the images in the panels and wrote the words in the speech bubbles and titles. I also applied the stroke to one of the panels. I cleaned up the images and erased some unneeded edges.
After the class discussion, I took the many pieces of advice we acquired from our fellow students and Professor.
I increased the distance between the vertical panels and decreased the distance between the horizontal pieces to better indicate the sequence in which the readers should read the comics. I adjusted the size of the speech bubbles and made the bubbles in the first panel extend a little out of the first panel towards the second one so as to create a natural instinct for the reader to continue reading the second panel. I changed the font size so that the words are not squeezed together.
I cleaned out some waste layers and clearly separated the different objects. I made sure no two objects are on the same layer.
I added in the standing Daddy Shark who marked the height of his son and colored him.
I made the coral reefs blend in more with the ground in the first panel. I made the coral reefs in the last panel exceed the height of the panel to add to the contrast and make it easier for readers to understand the logic of the story.
I dramatized a little the growth of the size of the Baby Shark and make him swim a little outward from his Daddy as he grow up to symbolize the process of growing up and becoming independent.
I also changed the color of the speech bubbles and made them consistent with one another and not transparent.
The main take-away from this project, apart from all the fun we had, is that it is important to understand that the readers may not comprehend the comics in the same way as the authors do. We need to give more hints to point to the reader where we would like them to go next. But just as “Understanding Comics” the guy said, “But I can only point the way. I can’t take you anywhere you don’t want to go”. We need to take the readers’ many different sets of minds into consideration.
It is pretty interesting for me, a manga fan, to create a comic with others. The assignment reminded me of a series of comics called “Father and Son” created by a German cartoonist. In each of this series, he uses four slices to tell a funny story that happened between a father and a son, talking about something on education. Xiaoyue and Helen agreed with my idea and decided to make a story between a shark father and a shark son. I think this just shows our improvement based on a “remix” of ideas. This is why after watching the video “Everything is a remix”, I feel familiar with the idea the video brings to us.
Besides, I was responsible for looking for backgrounds and adding color to the shark and coral as well. I used to believe that backgrounds should be beautiful pictures. Not until Helen added the sharks and corals to the pictures did I realize that the backgrounds with too much content might cover the main characters of the picture. It is quite easy to add color when I selected the sharks and use the paint bucket. Though at first I tried to fill everywhere in the shark with grey color, I finally stopped doing that as I feel some blue in it didn’t look bad.
Basically I chose half of the background pictures, blurred them and added adjustment layers of level, hue and photo filter. Then I designed the layout and made every panel into the same size and applied stroke. Then the hardest part came. I put the drawings into panels, a lot of command+T, and added shape ( talk1 and starburst ). I set blending options of the headline and “WHY?!”. I found a pattern as a background and also pattern overlay of “FAST”. After critique I resized the baby shark in the third panel to highlight the contrast and erased something that shouldn’t be appearing.
Thanks to the joint effort, we’ve managed to carry out our conception smoothly. It’s really wonderful to see the real scene combined with 2D paintings without any awkwardness. Every one has done a significant part. I trust my group members more.
Something I learnt from class is that, most importantly, we should make ourselves clear and understood, in other words, not confuse readers. So the connections between each panel and the picture itself really matter. In last class many students commented that they couldn’t understand the story, which should definitely be avoided. Second, bubbles and fonts can directly affect the emotion and reaction of readers. Third, the size of the panel should be arranged accordingly. Last, colors usually have stronger impact.