Narrative 1


In this unit we learned about Visual Narrative Projects. This means we learn how to tell stories. This included strengthening our reading, writing and speaking. In English we wrote a short story after reading the book 1984. We then took our stories and made them into audio files with sound effects in Digital Media. I became a better digital artist by exploring the ways story can strengthen your work. This focuses us on creating work thats not just visually appealing but also has a deeper meaning. My elective class is design, and in design we created creature illustrations relating to our stories. The programs we used in this unit were Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, and Corel Painter. 




After reading and analyzing several short stories, our English assignment was to create a short story using rising action, climax, and language that showed instead of telling. The inspiration of my story came from a character I created. My character, named Milo, is a small shy elementary school kid, that has father that works in their automobile shop for long hours. In order to create the audio version of our story, we recorded our stories and imported our audio into Adobe Audition. Adobe Audition gives us the ability to cut audio files we don’t want, and also edit the order of clips and sound. Additionally we can alter sound by changing the pitch or adding reverb effects. We then added sound effects to enhance our audio stories, using the large library of sound effects Freestyle has. I valued learning an introduction on how to captivate readers with a specific structure of events and how to evoke certain emotions from people using specific sound effects.

The Science Fair Project

A blaring alarm beeps rhythmically as Milo lies in bed. The sun dawns through the upstairs windows. He reaches to his clock and turns off the annoying alarm. Milo doesn’t really need an alarm clock, because the sounds of screeching wheels, clinking tools and broken motors start promptly everyday at 5am. These are normal sounds for Milo. His father would never waste a minute not working his usual 12 hour shift in their automobile shop. Milo gets into his school uniform and grabs his backpack, which is so large that the top of it is a few inches over his head like a turtle’s shell. He stumbles his way down the stairs. The sounds of cars and tools gets louder. Milo opens the door to the garage. Grabbing his usual bowl of cereal, he distinguishes the milk from all the different car oils and lubricants. Milo’s father wears a dark navy blue jumpsuit splattered in years old oil and is working on a car engine. Milo watches his father work, waiting to see how long it takes his father to notice that he is downstairs. Most of the time his father is so preoccupied he hardly even notices Milo. Now finished with breakfast, Milo waves bye to his father, who is oblivious to the fact that Milo was even there in the first place, and makes his way off to elementary school.The bell rings as Milo sits down at his desk. Milo sits as far away from the board as possible, like a shadow in the room. Milo’s chin is only a few inches above the desk and he can rest his head on his desk if he slouches. Expecting another boring day of school Milo waits for his homeroom teacher to pass out the daily assignment. The papers are passed down the rows of desks until the final paper slides in front of Milo. Milo grabs a pencil, prepared to begin writing, but there are no math problems on this sheet. No vocabulary questions either. Milo reads the flyer. “Science Fair Competition.” Milo’s eyes widen, as this seemed actually exciting for him.The rest of the day, felt dreadfully long to Milo. All day he thought about projects he could do for the competition. Once the final bell rang, Milo rushed home with his Science Fair flyer. No longer slouch and his backpack not towering over him, Milo made his way home, excited to tell his dad about the amazing news. Yet when he got home, he found his dad talking to a customer. Milo waited patiently with his flyer held in both hands. The costumer was yelling at Milo’s father. After several minutes the customer, fuming with anger, left the shop, and slammed the side door shut. Equally angered Milo’s father made his way back to the engine he was working on in the morning. Milo lifted the science fair flyer as high as possible, trying to show his father. If it wasn’t for this effort, his father probably would of walked right through Milo. His father glared down at Milo. Annoyed that Milo still hasn’t got out of the way his father reached out with his right hand and slowly crumpled the paper. Every time his father clenched his fist, Milo’s eyes winced in defeat. The paper, which now is a crumbled ball drops to the floor. His father muffled in a stressed voice “I don’t have time right now, I am working.” This was common for Milo, as his father was known to always be busy. Although Mil wanted his father more than ever to help him, because of the science fair project. Pretending not to care that his father ignored him, he stuffs his bag with tools, gears, tubes, metal scraps, and duct tape. Milo then silently makes his way back to the school.Milo got to the main hall, where rowsof tables are set up, with kids and parents huddled around stations with science fair posters and projects. In the front of the room was a master clock. He was one hour late and the competition already started. He immediately claimed one of the last free desks in the front of the room and dumped his backpack on the table. Milo takes out his poster board and writes in large block letters, “Milo’s Amazing Rube Goldberg Machine”. He then started to take out pieces of metal he brought from the automobile shop out and began assembling them. He screwed in tubes, attached them to metal sheets, lined dominos up, and readied catapults, until he is finally finished. The end result looked like an upside down Eiffel Tower. With each breath Milo took, there was a gust of wind almost blowing the wobbling tower over.Satisfied with his results, he removes his giant backpack off the table and takes a step back to look at his contraption. The significant weight from moving the backpack off the table, wobbles the contraption. There is a high pitched squeaking sound coming from the machine. Suddenly there is a metallic clink sound. The room seems to become quite. Milo looks down at his feet and sees the screw that made the clinking sound roll in front of him. Everyone’s eyes seemed to shift towards Milo’s station, all sensing the impending doom. Suddenly there is another clink. And another. One after the other screws and knobs fall off. Milo takes multiple steps backs and watches as the metallic hulk begins to lean over the table. With a crash the contraption falls over. Shocked, Milo stares at his broken machine. Defeated, he slowly crumbles to his knees. It was all over.A small bell rang and over the gym intercom a voice warned there was 30 minutes to complete the project. Milo knew there was no way he could complete the project by himself in the remaining time. He looked around at the rest of the room, watching his classmates all working on different projects with their parents. He envied the the smiles between the kids and their parents. Suddenly there was a large shadow over him. And from behind his back someone places an unscrambled piece of paper in Milo’s hand. It was the original science fair flyer. Confused, Milo hears a deep muffled but familiar voice behind him, say “giving up already?” Milo couldn’t believe it. It was his father. The large man began picking up the pieces of the machine and reassembling them. He took out a wrench from his tool belt attached to his blue overalls. He screwed in some pieces and without turning around said “well… are you going to help?” Milo now grinning, jumped up and also began reassembling. It was a magnificent site watching father and son working together. They were a well oiled machine. Milo would group and loosely construct parts, while his father would secure them tightly with a hammer or wrench. They worked faster and faster as the time slowly ran out. The design was very similar to Milo first attempt yet this time secured safely in place due to Milo’s father’s skills as a technician. Both take a few steps back to look at the finished product amazed in what they accomplished in 30 minutes. A bell rang again. The time was over. It was time for the judging panel. The lights were dimmed and three judges walked by each table looking at each science fair project and taking some notes. When the judges walked by Milo’s project, Milo triggered his rube goldberg machine and the dominos began to fall, knocking a ball through tubes, triggering a catapult and several other complicated task were completed ending with a push pin popping a balloon. The machine worked perfectly. After looking at the rest of the work the judges came to a decision. All the children were prompted to the stage in the gym. The parents and adults remained in the center of the gym. One of the judges with a microphone steps forward and announces, “The winning project this year go too… Milo’s Amazing Rube Goldberg Machine.” A stage light was shown at Milo and the judge placed a gold medal around Milo’s neck. The crowd erupted in clapping. However the sound seemed to dimm out. All Milo could look at, was his father standing in the middle of the crowd looking right at him. He wasn’t clapping or smiling, but just looking almost as if Milo and his father were communicating telepathically. At the end of the applause Milo swore he saw his father smile or atleast grin, but the crowd began moving as parents reunited with their children, and Milo couldn’t see his father’s face from the stage anymore. When the crowd began to dissipate, his father was standing by the door with Milo’s huge backpack that seemed significantly smaller on his father’s back. Milo skipped towards the exit and both of them walked back home towards the automobile shop in silence. When they got back to the shop, Milo’s father sat down to finish some paperwork. Suddenly he is disrupted by the sounds of metallic clanking and broken motors. He looked up, to see Milo working on the motor from the angry customer that he hadn’t finished due to the science competition. Mockingly with his best deep muffled voice Milo says “giving up already?” Shocked, Milo’s father could only stare and smile looking at his son fix tubes and tighten screws. Without turning around Milo did his best imitation again, “well… are you going to help?” Now both laughing, like a well oiled machine they began working. 

Behind The Scenes

I created my short story in Adobe Audition. I recorded my short story and imported the audio. I then proceeded to cut all the audio parts I did not like. Once I had the audio I liked I made sure the volume was correct for each part. I used Freestyle’s large sound effects library and found audio clips the correlated to my story. In rows 2 and 3 you can see some of my sound effects, such as the alarm clock and some automobile shop noises. On each of these clips you can see yellow lines. Those lines represent sound fading in and out. In some of the other sound effects I used panning in order make sound travel form the left ear to the right ear or vice versa. Once I had all my audio clips edited and put it together I compiled the file and exported it.


Banner illustrations

These Illustrations are the banners I used for my website. I decided to fix my banners in place. This means when you scroll down my website the image does not move. My short story is about takes place in an automobile shop. My second banner shows one of the cars. The rest of the story in a much broader sense talks about the differences of perspectives. I chose to represent this in graphic illustrations of peoples eyes.

Behind The Scenes

This is how my Adobe Illustrator file looks like. You can see four art boards. Each art board uses different layers, that separate each piece of work. On the left you can see the tool bar. I created these images by almost only using the curvature tool. This tool allows me to form any shapes I want. I chose very few colors and tried representing my images in a simpler way.

Personal Illustration

Smoke Waves Artist Statement

My inspiration for this piece came from my work on my website banners. I tried reducing my piece into fewer colors, yet still showing shadow and highlights. I wanted the smoke to enclose the character to put the focus on the face. I chose a blue background and warm colors for the face to make the face stand out. I used small strokes to make the texture of the hair and beard. Overall I think this piece was successful, and I had found a larger appreciation for simplifying the colors I use.  

Story Media

We learned several applications of design in this unit. We started off using physical media, such as watercolor, colored pencil and cut outs of paper. This introduced us to color theory, the elements and principles of art. Then we learned about camera basics. After taking many practice photos we used macro lenses in order to capture the subtle details of objects you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. We also learned how to edit out photos in Photoshop. This lead to our narrative illustrations, where we used Photoshop to edit our creature ideas together. Then we learned Adobe Illustrator and illustrated our final narrative projects. I valued learning new topics, such as camera basics, and a more complete education on Adobe Illustrator. 

Macro Nature Photography

I took a photo of a cactus. I found it particularly interesting, because of the texture of the leaves. I especially liked how the light illuminated the sides of the leafs. I cut my photo in Photoshop, that the cactus falls in the rule of thirds. I also adjusted the brightness and contrast of the photo in order to make the cactus pop more. On top of this I added a slight blue filter over my photo. Lastly I added a vignette to my photo to further emphasize the cactus. In the macro photography unit I learned several new skills. I had very little experience with DSLR cameras and this unit helped me learn the settings for taking photos. I also learned how long it can sometimes take to get the shot you are looking for. I took several pictures for this assignment and most of them were unfocused or just not the shot I was looking for. After this assignment I started valuing the time it takes to get the photo you are looking for.

Behind the Scenes

This is my Adobe Photoshop workspace that I used for my conceptual photo and macro photo. In the bottom right corner you can see my layers panel. I am adding layer adjustments to my photo, such as a photo filter and brightness/contrast in order to enhance my photo. This is called non destructive editing, as I can always take away a layer or change to my photo as I please, because I constructed separate layers. 

Positive/Negative Design Project

This assignment challenged us to see positive and negative space. Using an X-Acto blade we cut shapes out of a color piece of paper. Instead of throwing out the cut out pieces we had to reflect it on the other side of the piece. Most students did pattern or mandalas in landscape view for this assignment. I decided to do it in portrait view. On the right is a man and in the background is a city. My idea was that the city and the man would be reflected almost like on water. I found in challenging to reflect the cut out pieces of paper accurately, especially after cutting several small pieces. I learned from this assignment the importance of negative space.

Blending Water Colors

In this exercise we used water colors in order to understand neutral colors. Neutral colors are the colors produced by two overlapping . My neutral colors became grey, because two complementary colors overlapped (for example orange and blue). I valued this project, because it helped me understand colors and the results of mixing certain colors.

Colored Pencil Blending Exercise

This project was done completely in colored pencils. We chose five colors and blended them together. The edges of the drawing were supposed to be darker and the center was supposed to be brighter. The showed us how tints, tones and shades functioned. I struggled in this project to get brighter and more saturated colors. I think if I layered my colored pencils even more and added more pressure I could get a better result.

Photoshop Creature Compilation

This was the first part of the narrative illustration. The animals we picked in our creature resemble traits from our character from our short story. We used Adobe Photoshop to compile images and using blend mode options to structure our animal together. This project required lots of creative thinking. It was also very hard to find pictures of animals the were in the correct poses for your final creature.

Narrative Illustration

This was my final narrative illustration for design. I used my ideas produced in the Photoshop Creature Compilation and converted them with shape tools and the curvature tool in Adobe Illustrator. Additionally I created a background for my creature. 

The Science Fair Project Artist Statement

My illustration is based on my Short Story, The Science Fair Project. The story is about a young boy named Milo. Milo lives with his father and they own a small auto-shop. When Milo competes in a Science Fair, Milo and his father learn to work together. The scene I chose to illustrate is when Milo enters the science fair classroom and is overwhelmed by all the projects. Milo is represented as a mixed animal and the characteristics of those animals represent him. I chose a baby elephant to represent Milo’s clumsy nature, a squirrel to represent Milo’s timidness, a turtle to represent how shy he is, a koala to represent his non-threatening attitude and lastly a pug to show Milo’s loyalty.
To construct this image, I first brainstormed possible animals that have the same characteristics and traits that my character has. I then found pictures of my animals and compiled them in Adobe Photoshop. Using blend mode options I constructed a rough idea how my creature could look like. I used the same process to construct a rough idea of my background. Using these outlines I began tracing and forming shapes in Adobe Illustrator. I started with the background. I learned about one point, two point and three point perspectives. My setting was located in a classroom, so I chose one point perspective. After I finished the background I began working on the animal. I found it particularly hard to recreate the textures of my animals. Elephants have several wrinkles in their skin and creating the fur on the tail of the squirrel and the fur from the koala was a challenge. After I finished the creature, I placed it inside my background and adjusted sizes until I thought it was proportionate. Lastly I desaturated the background to emphasize my creature and finish my piece.