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

Girl Meets Boy

Exercise 3 - Create a sequential illustration that creatively re-tells the story of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl wins the boy back, in whatever way you want.

I had a few ideas for this, but I kind of wanted to avoid using people. I had seen a video not long ago where an ostrich tries to get close to a giraffe, but the giraffe has none of it and boots the poor ostrich away. I wondered if there was something in this that could work for a bit of a love story. So I brainstormed a few ideas around this idea of two animals meeting. Maybe there wasn't going to be a lethal kick, but who knows.

Here I thought about utilising one of the exercises I had done previously, and with a few connecting dots I managed to come up with a concept I thought would be fun to do and perhaps "manageable" again with the easier shapes in the character. Yes it was going to be pigeons.

I thought about how colour could be used in a way to show their time together compared when they are alone. Making the times together colourful to show happy memories, and then concrete city grey when they are just another pigeon going about their day.

I considered making the story lead from a different pigeon rather than the one I had previously designed as I saw a potential twist in how the character I had originally designed might have gotten their bandana for around their neck. The pieces came together with this concept so I began with sketching out the ideas.

I then started sketching a possible interaction moment where they first met, and realised I did a pigeon version of Lady and the Tramp over a chip on the floor. I loved this idea!

I was enjoying how this was cooking up. I had their first meet somewhat there on the idea, I just had to think about how I would put this in a sequence that didn't use up so many frames. I thought I would work that out later once I had other moments sketched out too.

I wanted 1 or 2 frames dedicated to the time together, showing romance and chemistry. I then wanted frames that saw one pigeon fly off spontaneously after telling the other to wait a moment. A frame to show it picking out a flower, and then another to show it returned to the very spot only to see their soul mate had vanished, or at least gotten lost in the crowd of other pigeons that turned up. I thought it would be good to do a frame where they were both looking for each other but couldn't really identify who they were as all the pigeons looked the same.

Here I explored the idea of the pigeons on a mini date together, which I do imagine happening on the same day of them meeting! They go to see Dirty Dancing at a cinema, and later the pigeon "wins" a teddy from the claw machine - he climbed in and got the teddy for her! Cute. He's not dancing on the wire, but maybe he could put a show on.

I then thought they could go to a street where someone was busking, and they have a little dance together.

In this selection of sketches I explored the moment the pigeon flies away, and how the other pigeon doesn't know where he went, or why. She feels sad to be left alone. I thought this would be the moment other pigeons start filling up the space surrounding her, and the moment she blends in with the crowd. This would then bring us back to the very first exploration sketch sheet where he is holding the flower but cannot find her where he left her. Was she mad at him for leaving her?

Of course there are a lot of "frames" that are technically happening so far, and yet they still need to reunite and be together forever!

I really liked how the sketches flowed and told the story. It felt as though words were not needed in this piece, which I often prefer anyways.

I decided that the story would end with the pigeon finally giving her the flower that he flew off to get. It felt like a nice way to round up the story which made sense based on the sequence.

Now I needed to organise them in to a page!

I had a lot of different things I wanted to squeeze onto one page, which felt a bit ludicrous at first, so I did a little search to see whether there were examples of people who had done page comics with similar amount of panels.

I had a few varying size images, not all fitting into a simple square format so I needed to explore page layouts that also used different sized panels. I had a rough idea of what it would look like considering the sketches I had made, however I wasn't sure I could make it flow nice on a page.

There was roughly 15 panels I had calculated for my comic. Maybe a couple more should one frame need a second to explain. I attempted to move each picture around on Procreate but found this to be tedious and unhelpful. With this in mind, I thumbnailed a few different layouts on paper, making sure I at least hit 15 panels!

It was looking crowded, and I wasn't sure I liked it. However, I don't think the story would be so smooth if I took frames out... They all felt necessary, in fact I felt more might have been needed... Not sure if that is saying much about what I had sketched out already.

Then I jumped on to Illustrator and tried laying out the drawings in a similar format to my thumbnails.

Ok, so this ended up being 21 panels, and the layout is kind of confusing. Let's try again...

20 panels. although it is more than I anticipated, I think the layout is a little more forgiving in the second. There seems to be a bit more structure in this version.

Another example I found had a similar layout for the end of the page, which made me question the order I laid mine out. I realised you may read the ending in the wrong order as it currently was above. So I rejigged the the panels some more and cleaned it up generally so there was a bit more consistency.

I understand the last panels in this comic is read left to right in the first 3 panels, then followed by the row of 3 panels below until the last frame on the right where she is looking out of the telescope. If this is correct, then I applied this to my comic so it would read correct (I hope!).

I was confident this was the final draft for the layout and general sequence. I was happy on the most part, however felt one or two of the frames would need improving for the story to make sense. The frame flying away, I want it to suggest that he flies off when she has turned away blushing, but feel something is lacking here for that to be read. I also think the panel where she is sad in the crowd, I want it to be clear that the light pigeon in the background to be landing is in fact him returning. It would then make sense to the next frame where it is him looking around but can't find her. The other panels that I feel could do with some work are the two panels before they are reunited, where he is back to eating his fave supper, a chip... which is also hers! I just want those panels to be very clear that it's like de-ja-vu with how they first met.

I also feel that possibly there needs to be a panel before the date sequence, just to suggest that they are flying off together to these places.

I would love to bring this down to as few as 3 panels or even just half of what I have used, but I am not sure if that would be possible.

The final piece:


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