An original song written by me, featuring my friend Maddie Kelly.

The room is sparsely lit, the only light originatng from a set of computer screens and the strands of lights hanging over head. Seated in front of this computer, a girl, typing tirelessly. All at once, she stops, leans back, and takes in a large breath. Her story is finished.

This is how my story started. With me, typing away on a computer. From the moment each of my assignments was given, until the moment of their completion, each stepand edit was made with care. A Flash Fiction and Graphic Novel in my English class, a comic creatd using illustrator in Design, and an animatic, animation, and website in Digital Media. The final porduct for each of these was based on the same narrative I had written. In the end, each helped develop my sklls in a new area.

An image of my Narrative webiste in an early stage of production. My Narrative webiste in an early stage of production.

I have often heard that when you write, you should write what you know, because personal experiences create the best stories. So when I was presented with the prompt to write a flash fiction and found myself struggling for inspiration, I wrote exactly that. My story is the plainest example of an artist, someone of creative occupation, searching for some sort of muse and finding it in an unexpected form.

So I had found my story; fantastic! All I had to do create my character to live it, then fill in what gaps were left. Just one problem, creating a character. Personally, I find characters to be the hardest part of any work I write. Not only do I struggle with characters, but this narrative is one that is so close to me, it felt strange creating a new life to go through it. Who could possibly express this experience in the direct and poignant way I intend? It now seems obvious. Everyone has experienced frustration in one way or another. Whether in a creative pursuit or otherwise, we each feel the struggle and emotion behind any endeavor we are dedicated to. What better way to connect my reader to my story than to place them in the middle of it?


You stand at an easel, strategically placed in front of the only window in the slate grey room you occupy, your attention fixed on the canvas in front of you.

You stare.

And your eyes begin to cross.

Suddenly you can’t see. Your eyes begin to adjust as the moon shines in through the window. Each and every light that once shone in the room has been extinguished. Trying to stay calm, you breathe, but soon each breath is as quick as your racing heart.

After you have gathered all the candles you can, and each is lit, you stand at your easel yet again.

Everyone had always described anger and frustration as seeing red, but you are not blinded by this emotion. It sharpens your vision as you’re staring at your art again. Each stroke, every detail, every single mistake screams at you until all you have is your own ineptitude ringing endlessly in your ears.

Not right. Not...good enough.

You’re moving. The canvas is thrown from its perch, right into the stack of unpaid bills waiting on your small desk. Envelopes fly, and one flips, floats, then slides across the floor to your feet.

It’s from the electrical company.

That ringing again.

I cannot create, so I shall only destroy.

Paint is thrown, canvases bent and broken, sculpted clay is shattered. Brushes, tools, paint thinner, and other necessary supplies are all scattered. Crashes echo and are joined by new ones. Paint cans roll across the floor.

You freeze. You should have been more careful. Cans hit your desk, and candles teeter. One topples over the edge.

Flames roar as the paint thinner you were so careless with springs to life. Soon canvas is caught in the roaring beast’s jaws. You have achieved your goal.

You are this destruction.

The glow turns the room bright yellow, then a warm orange as the flames fade to embers.

Shock is the glue that holds you in place.

Then the room is slate grey once again.

Stepping gingerly, you approach the scar that is inlaid on the ground and walls. The candles flicker and settle as you plant your feet in the center of the ashes.

You return to staring.

Paint bleeds through ash and the remains of brushes and canvas hold a soft, steady glow. Slowly, as if afraid to wake a sleeping beast before you, you reach out with a shaking hand to one of the walls.

You press your hand firmly into the ash and paint. You step back as the sun rises on what you have created.

Image of ProTools session used to record Flash Fiction. ProTools session used to record Flash Fiction.
Graphic Novel Thumbnail
Click image above for Reification Graphic Novel

Based on the content of my Flash Fiction, my graphic novel expresses my story in a new way. My story is largely descriptive and driven by the actions my character takes, allowing for the story to be told just as effectively through a visual medium, instead of as just another written work. Because my animation is also based on my flash fiction, the panels of my graphic novel are perfectly suited to be the visual aspect of my animatic.

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Animation is a long process, from the conception of the story to the final product. Once animators have a story, they must plan and organize how the drawn visuals will be. Starting with a storyboard, they plan scenes and assign major actions. The final step before the actual animation can begin production, an animatic must be developed. An animatic is basically the animation, but with basic drawings and images. Its purpose is to be a plan for timing, camera shots, transitions, etc, so that the animators have an organized map of the story. Animatics allow animators to better visualize their final product, the animation

By going through the production of animations, I have learned the importance of each step in the process. Each step is vital, building a foundation for the next. Without the animatic, compiling the final product would be infinitely more difficult.

An image of my notes for my animatic and animation. My animatic written out on paper to later aid in the production of my animation. I find it easiest to work once I have a plan written out with pencil and paper.

And now, for the ultimate product of my Narrative, the animation. From the moment my narrative was assigned, this had been the final product I have been working toward. My animation was also what I spent the most time on. It started as words on a page, then became an Illustrator file, and eventually became a full-fledged animation. I can happily say that this is the story I visualized when I began writing. Though the plot of my animation differs slightly from my Flash Fiction, it is the story I have wanted. This is truly one of my greatest achievements.

Walking into this project, I knew that anmimations were far from easy, and can be infinintely difficult, but I have an increased and newfound respect and admiration for anyone wh animates for living (or has animated anything longer than 30 seconds). This projects has been months in the making, so this is me, offically appluading all animators, from the creator of a simple GIF set, to the professional team of Disney animators. You're doing great, keep up the good work. You should be proud of yourselves.

An image of my animation during production. My animation during production.

Using my graphic novel as a baseline, I created a more refined illustration of my story with a greater focus on the design aspects. I spent more time considering the organization of my panels as well as where and how to include speech bubbles. Once my basic layout as sketched and considered, I worked on enlarging it using a grid technique. I have seen it used before and am familiar with the concept, but I had never put it to use before. The basic theory behind it is by placing a grid on whatever it might be that is to be enlarged, then by creating another grid which is to scale to the smaller one, the image can be transferred and enlarged accurately to scale. Because of this assignment, I have furthered my understanding of design regarding the structure of comics and graphic novels.

Reification Comic

Reification Comic Illustration
Reification Illustrator Comic

When I began this comic, I had very little experience in Photoshop and practically no experience in Illustrator. This assignment presented not only a technical challenge but a creative one. I had to express the most important aspects of my narrative in a mere eight panels. Overall, I had to compile my storytelling and design capabilities into the final product I have today. This project required me to apply new design principles that I had learned in class. One such was the principle of linear perspective. I had done drawings using linear perspective before, but always on paper, never in a computer program. I had found to my surprise, that it was in some ways, easier. For one thing, it eliminated the use of rulers, which I find to always cause trouble at some point. Even despite this improvement, I still had trouble because of my inexperience with the program Illustrator. There were moments when I found myself struggling with the pen, layers, and at times even the line tool. Luckily in the end I was able to develop my skills, especially while using the pen tool to create outlines, and ultimately pull together the comic that I wanted.

This comic has been a great achievement for me. Gaining experience in Illustrator, learning new design techniques, and developing my literary abilities are just some of the few things that have resulted from it. I am proud of this comic, which I have worked so hard to design, refine, and complete. It has opened me up to the countless possibilities for my future projects and ambitions. Through these new possibilities, I will continue to be able to grow in my abilities and knowledge of design and Adobe applications. Because I better understand the process and the steps necessary for completion, I have come to have a greater appreciation for all of the digital art I see.

Image of Illustrator during comic porduction. Creating the comic in Illustrator was a long and detailed process.