During this unit I found that I established a usually successful method of working from the initial planning stages through to the development of the final piece. This became more apparent with each exercise/assignment and I now feel more confident going forward.
This unit highlighted to me the importance of drawing skills and I have certainly increased my efforts to draw more often, although I will now be able to dedicate more time to this since meeting the unit deadline. One area of observational drawing that I am very keen to develop is life drawing. I hope this will improve my character drawings, which is, of course, a key skill to have when creating graphic fiction. However, I am also aware that I need to improve my abilities in drawing background features and perspective. I found that as the unit progressed, I relied heavily on drawing from reference (admittedly mostly photographic) as I looked to replicate features and locations that readers would be able to recognise easily.
I began this unit with very little prior knowledge of comics and graphic novels, but have ended up being completely absorbed and inspired by the range on offer. I have thoroughly enjoyed most of the examples of different genres and styles that I have so far encountered, apart from some of the superhero and more abstract ‘underground comix’ offerings, but this does not prevent me from learning from these and understanding their popularity among others. Looking at other practitioners’ comic books and graphic novels has really encouraged me as there is such a wide range of styles and stories available. It seems that there are very few limitations when it comes to the possibilities of visual storytelling this way and I have also learned a great deal from reading about the history of the genre as well.
I feel that comic production is a way to visually tell a story in a creative format that has the potential to engage with an audience in a different way to films, animation, illustration or writing. It requires a certain amount of participation and co-operation from the reader, e.g. to fill in the gaps between panels.
Although often very challenging, I have enjoyed this unit immensely and I hope I will have the opportunity to continue incorporating graphic fiction into my work for Level 2 of the course, but, in addition, I intend on continuing my exploration of this for personal work too. In the long term I would like to be able to produce work to a high enough standard that it could be considered for publishing.