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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Documenting an Event

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Exercise 6


Sound Healing and Gong Meditation - The Experience



To start this Bank Holiday weekend right, I attended a friends Gong Bath event. Having many reference photos of a typical event already, I felt confident I could create something interesting that would build up two pages worth of frames. I wanted to share the experience, from the moment you arrive to the feeling when you are laying and being submerged by the sound. Every experience is different, some people may see things others may just fall into a deep meditative slumber. The event this weekend was not my first Sound Healing, and it is true that every Gong Bath will be different. I didn't want to focus on a particular experience when in the meditative zone, rather to explore a more surrealist world that may or may not be an experience at all. It felt like an opportunity to have some fun, be imaginative.


The first half of the comic will be realistic, meaning it will be documenting the event as one would expect when attending. Only when you are in the slumber will I try and create a more surrealist trip, which is loosely (exaggerated) based on other peoples experience/feedback. Quite often people may have visualised being in a different environment, such as by the sea, in a field of lush grass etc. I guess, when thinking about it, you can be transported to the most tranquil places. People have said they can hear angels singing, whilst others have had rabbits jumping around them. Others will be more conscious of the sounds and the vibrations and feeling it throughout their bodies. It truly is a mix reaction and everyone is different, which is what makes this a perfect event to document and to have fun with in this exercise.


I started by gathering the images I had taken that I think would be best to help build the scene. I wanted this to begin from the moment you arrive, for when you first walk in to the entrance of the building, remove your shoes and open the door that will lead you on to the magics of the above video.




I have to be honest, this took much longer than anticipated (much like every exercise) and as a result I did look at ways to streamline the process. I sketched very few panels on paper before deciding to work digitally. I had in mind creating two 9 panel pages, but the amount of work that would have been involved felt overwhelming, especially when considering how many other exercises there are in part 4.




I used the reference a lot through out this exercise, it became the base to all panels in the first half.







I had a few panels lined up, whilst the rest were just a matter of filling in the gaps which I managed to create from the reference photos taken of the event and a few extras I had taken after the event to help with perspective.


Shortcuts were made, but overall I think it worked. I decided to make the 2 pages all about the beginning of the event; getting set up and comfortable, to putting the eye mask on and shutting out the light before falling into the slumber. I can imagine continuing the comic over another 2 page spread, this time taking a different turn. I would consider changing the colours, and perhaps the style to be a little more warped and weird.




 

After Feedback


Admittedly I did feel disappointed with myself for not creating the comic I had first imagined with this exercise. After I had the feedback, I knew it was going to be an exercise I would return too, to give it another try, and this time manage my time better to create something of an experience whilst in the deep relaxation.


I jumped straight in by uploading the final comic above into Procreate, my go to program that I have grown comfortable with during this course. I ignored the first page as this felt like a strong start, and focus on coming up with a better ending than just a black out.


Once I had the page in Procreate, my first step was creating a new space where I would add the different ending. I had the idea of keeping quite a bit of the black space to show the "lights out" and breathing before drifting into a void. It felt appropriate to have that black space between the awake state to the relax state. Before going ahead and sketching ideas, I did have the idea that the way I would represent the different state would be to change the style in the drawing. The first page was colour, for example, the relax state I pictured being black and white. As one could question, are our dreams in colour?






Once I started using a sketch pencil in Procreate, I then felt more confident with the idea of it being in a different style, in a way, I was actually really liking the sketch as the final piece.





I was really hooked on the idea of waking up in a different place, either in a field of lush grass, being surrounded with water, or even floating in outer space as a way to represent the sounds the gong makes.


From my experience, the beautiful, rather incredible sounds the gong makes either makes me think of being in a long, extremely tall corridor of gigantic statues lined up and singing a deep long note that feels godly over me. In other experiences I feel as though those deep almost boiler / engine sounds are like listening to the planets being alive and moving in outer space. The last drawing above was the idea of being surrounded by those planets, whilst floating in space.


As much as I would have loved to explore illustrating the planets, I was leaning more towards waking in a field of grass and flowers and having water nearby. I really liked the two close up drawings of the person opening their eyes to find them self transported. So for the final concept, I combined the close up panels of the face and the first drawing of waking in a field. I made a few changes to the field and included a little fury friend!



I quickly sketched around the original panels above so that whole page looked like one. I adjusted the text so that it was higher in the page, making it appear part of the first drawings rather than after a pause of darkness.




I think the blank space that divides the first half and second adds to the change in states that might be experienced during the gong bath. It is the void between conscious and unconscious, allowing a pause between being transported. I feel that it could also represent the time it could take to reach the other state, as sometimes this can be difficult to master or reach.


I actually like the way this page looks when sketched. In fact I may prefer it in this style compared to the original coloured version. With that said, this feels like the ending I wanted to achieve before receiving tutor feedback. I'm really glad I gave it a second try and brought this exercise to a finished.


Here is the final result:




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