I chose to do a graphic novel for my second experiment. The graphic novel genre has interested me ever since I wrote a paper last semester arguing that graphic novels belong in the literary canon. My research both for this essay and for Experiment 2 served as an important learning experience, as I came to appreciate the coordination and artistry required to make a final product good. It is very fascinating how nuances such as color pallet can dictate how a piece is received. I also became intrigued by how authors integrated text with their images, as each research piece I examined chose to approach this differently. Overall, I think that the artistic license offered by the graphic novel genre makes this an appealing format for exploring my origin piece.
Just like with my Experiment 1 reflection, I realized that working on a graphic novel requires much more planning and thought than I anticipated. Going into this experiment cycle, I assumed that if I could come up with good images and accompany them with decent text, then I would automatically have a cohesive and artistic final product. Upon examining my research texts, though, I realized how many elements need to be coordinated in order to craft a meaningful piece. It would be unreasonable to focus solely on what I am drawing and writing, as these elements serve as only the skeleton of the genre. To give my work life, it would be necessary to select which illustration style I want to incorporate, now knowing that realistic vs. crude imagery instill very different tones. Other factors that I would need to consider are coloring/color palate, point of view of the speaker, how to convey a sense of time and time jumps, the layout of panels, and overall how to bring these components together to create a holistic and distinct style that is consistent with the tone of the story.
My origin piece directly inspired the stories that I plan to tell within the graphic novel. Out of the five parts of my origin piece, I plan on translating two of them directly to the graphic novel, and summarize the other three as a means for connecting the plot. I think that the most radical way in which I leave my origin piece is by choosing to incorporate a visual element. My origin piece does not feature much of a description of physical imagery, so I think that this is an interesting enhancement, and I’m excited to see how this interacts with the story I have chosen to tell.
There would have to be a lot of learning on my behalf in order to fully realize this experiment. I think that the most important aspect that I can research is how authors create a cohesive style among their images and text. The best way to investigate this is to read more graphic novels and dissect the choices that authors have made on factors such as coloring, point of view, formality/realism of dialogue, illustration style, and panel arrangement, as well as the interaction among all of these choices. I also think that it is necessary to learn more about how authors create a flow within their piece, so that moving from one image seems like progress rather than a choppy transition. In terms of the topic itself, I do not think that I need to do a lot more research than I already have, as my origin piece was a personal narrative, and I’m sticking with its original story/personal tone for the most part.
In order to fully-realize Experiment 2, I would likely need to use illustration tools/software such as Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop and a drawing tablet of some sort. Since all of my research pieces were hard-copies, and that is the format on which I most enjoy reading graphic novels, I would consider submitting a graphic novel to a formal publisher to have it printed and physically distributed. With that in mind though, graphic novels are gaining a growing presence online through websites specializing in comics/graphic art. This could be a less formal, more accessible distributor to explore as well.