The purpose of our first Narrative project was to create a story and tell the story as best as we could through words and through images. The story began in English, where we wrote a flash fiction. After writing the flash fiction, a graphic novel was created with the same story as the flash fiction. The story created in English then went to Design, where we took the graphic novel and created an illustration from it. In Digital Media, the graphic novel was made into an animatic with sound effects, and it was later turned into an animation. Along the process, I learned about and reinforced my knowledge with applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate.


Thumbnail of graphic novel
Click on image to view graphic novel

For this project, the graphic novel was an important beginning step. We had to effectively space out the action between each panel and use illustrations to tell a story. We scanned the panels from the graphic novel and used them to create the animatic, which told the story but with sound effects and transitions. This animatic then led to the final product, the animation.

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An animatic is a preliminary version of an animation. Animatics use images such as those from the storyboard, along with transitions and sound effects, to tell the story. Since drawing and animating is a lot of work, artists will create an animatic first to pitch an idea. If the idea is not accepted, then excessive time is not spent on creating an animation.

Through this entire process, I learned how to better convey a story through words and images. I learned about using the spaces between the panels in a graphic novel to pace the story, and I also learned what an animatic is. These steps all relate to creating an animation since they are the steps to creating one. First, a story is written. Next, panels are drawn. Using the panels, an animatic is created. These all lead up to creating an animation.

Screenshot of Animate session for my animaticThis is a screenshot of my Adobe Animate session that I used to create my animatic

After the animatic was created, I then moved on to create the animation. The story for the animation came from my flash fiction, about a boy who was nervous about his first day of school. I took this idea and simplified this so that it would be easier to animate. For this, I used Adobe Animate. I frequently referenced my animatic and my graphic novel for creating this. In creating the animation, I animated using mostly frame by frame animation, which took up a lot of time. The animation took my graphic novel and added visual movement as well as sound effects to it.

Screenshot of Animate session for my animationThis is a screenshot of my Animate session in creating my animation

This illustration is a visual summary of my graphic novel. For this illustration, I chose eight panels from my graphic novels, the panels that I thought would represent and tell the story the best. It is the key panels from my graphic novel on one page, shortening and summarizing the original graphic novel.

No Worries

This is my comic
Stress Relief

Through creating this comic, I grew in my ability to use Adobe Illustrator. It was difficult at first, since I had to create several layers and keep track of them. I feel that my organization skills improved when I created the comic, because I also needed to organize the layers by panel and by background and foreground. I also grew in patience, since creating the final product for this comic took several steps that took a while, but in the end I was able to create my final piece of art. I struggled in the beginning stages of creating the comic layout on the foam board, especially with the burnishing tool. I found that I tended to press down on the paper too hard, causing it to tear. I had never used the burnisher before, so getting used to using a new tool was both a struggle and an area of growth. I had to press as hard as I could to transfer the drawings but avoid tearing the paper. In this comic, I probably would have changed the background objects. I would add more color and interesting items, such as tables and chairs to make the background more visually appealing. While I like the minimalist design of my comic, I feel that it could benefit from being a little less simple. I am most proud of my work for this comic in Adobe Illustrator, where I had to name and organize several layers and reinforce my skills with the pen tool. In the future, my improved organization skills will help with projects that also involve Adobe Illustrator to keep track of my layers. Improved organization skills can also help me with my everyday objects. Sorting the layers by foreground and background can also help me with other pieces of art not on Adobe Illustrator. For future drawings and other pieces of art, knowing which layer to start with and what to draw first can be extremely helpful. Getting a better grasp of the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator can also help me with future projects, since I know that it is a tool we will be using quite often in Design class.

Screenshot of Illustrator session of my comicThis is a screenshot of my Adobe Illustrator session that I used to create my comic

My flash fiction was originally inspired by an assignment for class. The assignment was to find a talismanic object, an object that had some special meaning to us. I then took that object and gave it to a character that I made up, and developed my main character who was nervous about his first year as a student and used his talismanic object, a ribbon, to soothe his nerves. For this assignment I had to effectively tell the story with a limited amount of words. I had to effectively describe the setting and characters, also giving sufficient background information.

Flying Worries

It was Tommy’s last day of his first week of kindergarten, and he was nervous. The whole morning he couldn’t stop biting his fingernails and tapping his foot, but once he wrapped a pink strip of felt around his wrist, the biting stopped and the tapping ceased. He didn’t have many friends, but his lucky pink ribbon washed away his awkwardness and gave him the courage to talk to the other students.

After school, he and his parents are out for a walk at their neighborhood park. Since Tommy is shy, he doesn’t talk to the other kids at the park and mostly keeps to his parents. Today, he’s taking the usual concrete path around the playground with his parents, stopping to sit on a plastic Fisher Price seesaw. In the background, his parents mumble something about how fidgety their child has been lately. Tommy knows he’s not supposed to be fidgety, as it’s something his parents scold him for fairly often, but he runs off to the swingset and their conversation becomes background noise.

The second week of kindergarten starts tomorrow, and Tommy worries about the kids still. How they’ll perceive him, how they’ll treat him. He strips the pink ribbon from his wrist and wraps it around his fingers. His tense fingers relax under the soft felt fabric, and his mind forgets about the mean kids and focuses only on the softness of the ribbon. The felt is soothing against his hand, and somehow all other thoughts cease to exist when Tommy has his hand on the ribbon.

The gentle breeze picks up into a strong wind quickly, catching Tommy by surprise. His grip on the ribbon was loose. The ribbon flies away, too quickly for Tommy to follow, then the wind dies as quickly as it came to life.

His parents try to calm him down, but Tommy tenses up immediately. Tears begin to well up in his eyes, and he starts biting his fingernails and tapping his left foot furiously against the pavement. After a few seconds of furious foot tapping and deliberating, he runs after the ribbon in the direction it went, running far across the playground’s tanbark and a grassy hill, but he can’t catch up with it. One of his parents tells him to stay, while the other runs farther and faster than Tommy can, after the precious pink ribbon.

Tommy tries his best to hold back tears, but to no avail. Soon, drops run down his face and his eyes become red and puffy. Without the pink ribbon, what will he do now? How will he go to school and talk to people? How will he ever show his face at school again? It was still the second week; he didn’t know his classmates very well and still felt very nervous around them. The ribbon was what gave him power, but the ribbon was gone now.

His parent came back with empty hands. The ribbon was lost.

On the first day of the second week of kindergarten, Tommy woke up not wanting to go to school. Not without the ribbon, at least. But despite his protesting and tantrums, Tommy’s parents still made him go to school. His parents told him that he would be fine, but he didn’t believe them.

Finally, it was time for his mom to go to work after dropping him off at school. She wished Tommy good luck, and left her son on his own.

Tommy moped into his classroom, head down. He decided that without his ribbon, he would never find the courage to talk to his classmates again. And of course, none of his classmates would want to talk to him. Instead, they would point and laugh at the little boy sitting by himself. The things they would say, it would be horrible! He would become the laughingstock of the class, his role already set for the rest of the school year.

But Tommy’s anxiety quickly dissolved when his classmates still talked to him. When the fun and casual conversation came naturally, Tommy stopped biting on his fingernails so that he could talk and respond to his classmates. As the conversations continued, the foot tapping gradually slowed and eventually stopped completely as Tommy was immersed in dialogue. He no longer needed a fuzzy piece of felt to take his mind off of what could go wrong in a social interaction; he became so lost in conversation that his mind didn’t have enough space for all his “what ifs”, and his worries flew away on their own.

Screenshot of ProTools session recording of my flash fictionThis is a screenshot of my Protools session that I used to create my audio file