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narrative one

introduction

In the Visual Narrative unit we learned about creating stories and presenting them through various forms of art. We read and studied various short stories for literary techniques and then crafted our own narrative. We then told this story through various medium, these being a written story, an audio story, and an illustration. It was a great chance for me to be creative and use my skills in audio production as well as learn new skills in Adobe Illustrator. I think that this unit helped me understand what makes a good cohesive narrative and how to present it in several ways. I improved my Adobe Illustrator skills drastically and also learned to use Adobe Audition, a program that I had no knowledge of.Below are images of various projects and exercises that used Adobe Illustrator:

graphic design projects

illustrator practice

These graphics were created in our first lesson with Illustrator in our digital media class. For the first one, I used a clipping mask to cut out the word blue from the circle and then put an image of trees behind it. This was practice for creating graphics for our website. The concept of a clipping mask was also very useful for us to learn. Essentially a clipping mask is a cut out of your current shape, which can be replaced with another image. The one below was created to understand how to use fonts and shadows. By making a graphic for a cake shop, I learned how to effectively use font, color, and stylistic choices together. I was particularly proud of this design because I really liked the color scheme and the way that the shadows sit on the background color.

img class=”size-large wp-image-339 alignnone” src=”https://www.freestyleacademy.rocks/~AriS/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Screen-Shot-2019-02-13-at-9.08.20-PM-1024×538.png” alt=”” width=”819″ height=”430″ />

malcolm the superhero

One day, in design class, Ms. Parkinson told us a story about a kid in Wisconsin named Malcolm McGregor. Malcolm is 4 year old who was recently diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer in the adrenal glands. After learning about their son’s condition, Malcolm’s parents asked the internet to send in cards for Malcolm. Seeing this online, Ms. Parkinson brought it up to our class and told us that Malcolm likes superheroes and the color blue. So I spent 30 minutes in class making a card for Malcolm which depicted him as his own superhero flying through the sky. They were printed out and I signed mine with a personal message for Malcolm.

story

Our assignment in English was to write a short story on a topic of our choice. We had to make sure there was interesting conflict, and some sort of character arc or development. From the start, I knew that I wanted to tackle an issue of substance and immediately thought to make it about racism. However, I didn’t want to make it too straight forward. I wanted the story to slowly reveal itself in some way through the protagonist’s actions. My story Booneville is about how the actions and beliefs of older generations can greatly influence the population that proceeds them.

booneville

The Jackson Express arrived at the train station at exactly the same time every day in Booneville, Mississippi. Customary with its entrance and departure came the creaking and rattling of the aged aluminium boxcars, carrying no more than few passengers at any given time on any given day. The train was a raggedy piece of metal, built in the early 1900s which, for some unknown reason, the state didn’t want to replace. A century of abuse had really taken its toll on the old rig. Wheels that didn’t turn like they used to, brakes that shrieked like nails on a chalkboard, and, worst of all, the piercing sound of the whistle.

The whistle was a staple of the train’s passing, like a loud guest entering a party to cause commotion and then quickly leaving, ensuring to make a scene out of that too. From far away, you would hardly be able to hear it. Up close, however, its sound was distinct and unique. It was dirty and distorted. Over the years, rust and corrosion had deteriorated the whistle to the point where all it could let out was the most unpleasant screech imaginable to man. No longer shiny and bright, commuters called it The Screaming Monkey. The people of Booneville didn’t mind it too much, though. As most of them had been been born and raised there, they had gotten used to the annoyance and learned to drown out the train’s cries.

Booneville was a small, fairly unpopulated town, and of the 134 residents only a couple seemed to be at the train station at one time. Today Charles Thomas sat alone on a bench awaiting the 2 PM train. Charles was the embodiment of a typical Mississippi teenager: fair skin, lanky physique, piercing blue eyes – he ticked all the boxes. Shaggy brown hair fell messily over his forehead, its unkempt nature matching the oversized white t-shirt that he had on. Charles was heading back to his mother’s house in Ripley, about a 25 mile distance from his father’s house. Charles had just turned sixteen and decided to spend the weekend with his dad and stepmother, who he hadn’t seen for two years. Charles’ father was a stern man. He was around six feet tall with a protruding belly that complimented his stocky physique. A thick brown beard sat on his face, groomed and well kept. He worked as a car salesman, but spent his free time at the local shooting range or at a reserve, hunting wild animals. Charles could see how much his father liked guns, there was a certain fire in his father’s eyes whenever he managed to shoot down a pheasant or take out a deer. And Charles was the same – he too had a passion for shooting and hunting.

Charles was grateful for his father, for all that he provided. When he was younger, his father would work like a mule to support the family. He would take several jobs around Ripley, often having days with no breaks. Charles remembers vividly the bags under his father’s eyes, how exhausted he was. But Charles’ father, like his grandfather before him, was a family man who would always put his son and wife before anything else. Charles was grateful for the way that his father had always stood up for what was right.

Like when he was thirteen and his father had taken him to Jackson, the capital. The family had gone out to eat dinner and at the restaurant, Charles’ father noticed two gay men at a table not too far from theirs. He placed both of his large hands on the table to lift himself up, slowly plodded over to where they were eating, and began to lecture them about the wrongs they were committing. Charles witnessed as calm discussion evolved into a vehement argument that eventually ended up with his family getting thrown out of the restaurant. Although the store owners made his father seem like the villain, Charles knew that he was not. He knew that his father was doing God’s work, upkeeping the morals of a good American citizen.

But Charles was most thankful of the way his father had taught him to know his place in the world.

“We are special ya hear,” he remembered his dad whispering as he tucked a younger him into bed, “We are better than most, we are true Americans. Never forget that.”

Charles’ thoughts were interrupted by The Screaming Monkey and the arrival of the 2 PM train. It steadily halted in front of him, creaking continuously. He stood up, still the only person at the station, and made his way to the doors where he grabbed the handles with both hands and gave them a vicious tug. He boarded the train and sat down in an empty box car. The train began to move, and Charles looked out the window at the town of Booneville. How peaceful it was, he thought, a perfect little town in his eyes. As they entered the countryside, Charles grew drowsy staring at the passing pastures and fell asleep. However, on today of all days, the ancient train would finally give in. Its copper wheels, having sustained decades of abuse, would crack, causing the train to flip off the rails and explode into flames, killing everyone on board.

audio story

After we finished writing our short story, we turned it into an audio story in Digital Media class. I recorded myself reading the story and used Adobe Audition to add sound effects and music. I incorporated sound effects for my character’s actions, and the sounds of the train. Although I’m pretty familiar with other audio manipulation software, I had never used Audition before and it was a great experience with a new piece of software. We learned about creating tracks, fading clips, and inserting audio clips. Below is the complete audio story as well as a screenshot of my project in Adobe Audition.


illustrations

In Digital Media class, we created illustrations to use on our website, they are currently set as the header images on this page. We used the program Adobe Illustrator to create the graphics. I had worked with this program before in my Design class so I was already somewhat familiar with it. I chose to trace over some pictures that I had taken on film. I chose these images because they have an old feel to them and relate to the time period in which my story is set, the 90s.

omg cover art (personal illustration)

The strip below shows the process I went through to make an album cover. I started by writing the song title in Illustrator and then cycling through various ideas with it. The first image I used was a picture about reebok shoes and I placed the letters on the side. However, this didn’t match the feeling of the song and so I found the image of the mouth which fit much better. I then started messing around with colors until I found a scheme that matched my background. This just goes to show how much work goes into a single project. A plethora of ideas are tried and tested until I find a combination that I find aesthetically pleasing and that suits the project’s needs.

design media

The final project for design class was to create an illustration for our story. The task was to create a character out of different animal parts and a background taken directly from our story. It was a difficult and time-consuming task, but I learned a lot about Adobe Illustrator and gained a lot of practice with the program. Overall, I am proud of my work as I spent so many hours trying to perfect the piece. Here is my artist statement as well as the final product:

The Jacksonville Express

My short story is about a teenage boy named Charles, and his traditionalist values. At the end of the story, the protagonist is caught in a train crash, depicted in my illustration. The creature, an amalgamation of a ram, a gorilla, and a deer, represents Charles. The three animals I have chosen all represent different aspects of my protagonist’s personality. The most noticeable feature is the horns. Rams are prideful creatures, which coincides with Charles superiority complex. The front half of the creature is a gorilla, representing how Charles presents himself as a strong individual. This feature is contrasted by the second half of the body, which is that of a fawn. The fawn represents vulnerability, it shows that Charles is just as weak as everyone else and that he suffers the same fate in the end; a train crash.

The design process began after my short story was completed. I sat down and brainstormed different animals that could represent certain traits of my character. Once I had a solid list of animals, I compiled images from the web that would eventually be used for a composite character. I took the images and manipulated them so that the different animal parts fit together on one body. After my composite was complete, I began my background. I brainstormed different scenes from my short story and settled on the train crash. I chose this scene because it seemed like a challenge to illustrate a train wreck. After settling on what the background would be, I created a composite of that too. Then I went to work on Adobe Illustrator and traced the composites into an illustration. Finally, I applied a color scheme that I thought matched the scene. Using my knowledge of Pantone colors, I picked a scheme and applied tints, tones, and shades of various colors to create harmony in my piece.