Design Project Reflection

natalie_kwok

For this Design project, we were tasked with making a graphic novel creation from a few pages from a book, Empire of the Sun. Mine can be seen above. We had to spread our graphic novel creations over two A4 pages, but since there were time constraints, our Design teachers informed us that it was fine to ink only one page.

During the entire Design process, I have learnt many skills and techniques, mainly in Adobe Illustrator. Now, I know how to generate outlines using an Image Trace tool. I have also furthered my knowledge on drawing tablets and how to utilise them to the fullest extent. Technology, specifically design software like Illustrator, facilitates the communication of ideas as there is a large range of tools that can aid you in communicating a message, such as pen tools, shapes, fonts, graphics etc which can make your artistic process easier as you don’t have to tediously color everything individually if you have multiple copies of the identical object.

The use of visuals help reinforce a particular message and to reveal a particular meaning, specifically a theme (which is maturity, in my case), through expressions and close ups. For example, by using a close up on a character’s mouth as they speak, it can emphasise that what they’re saying is a crucial part of the story, which can leave a larger impact on the reader. Also, perspectives change through the use of visuals, both artistically and mentally. By artistically, I mean that different perspectives and conventions are used throughout visuals to, for example, make an object seem smaller or larger. By mentally, I mean that someone’s perception on a previous event could change after visually interpreting a story instead of interpreting a story from words as it helps build the environment and characters’ features.

There were many challenges I encountered throughout this project, mainly during the creating stage as I was quite new to Illustrator and didn’t really know how to use it. One of the biggest problems I had was using the Image Trace tool to develop an outline. This would be really useful if everything you drew was outlined perfectly, but in my case because of the amount of panels I had and time constraints, my outlines (drawn by hand) were slightly messy and hence, the Image Trace tool was not able to develop a clear and coherent outline (this was my fault). I overcame this challenge by manually outlining the scanned graphic novel creation by hand, which was slightly tedious, but generated clearer outlines.

If I were to do this project again, I would most likely arrange my time better, as I had to rush a bit of the inking process because I placed a lot of effort and time on the first panel as I believed that the first panel set the mood and hence, added more detail. I would also try to actually draw my graphic novel creation in Illustrator instead of drawing it on paper first, because it may save time and also, I will be able to develop my digital drawing skills, which could be useful in the future.

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