“Fear” Illustrated short story
I nicknamed this project “Fear” because it is one of the most prominent themes that I want to explore. The story has developed a lot since I first thought of the idea, and the themes go much further than fear, but fear is where this idea started so I still want it to be a focal point. I also want this project to be an exploration of absurdism/absurdist literature, as I find it very interesting and I can see myself researching it for an exented period of time. This will also allow me to play with and pull inspiration from some of my favorite books.
For the format of the project, I want to create an illustrated short story, but at places the visuals take over the prose and the illustrations become pages of comic. I’m very interested in the relationship between language and visuality, and how they each narrate stories in unique ways as well as how they work togther. I enjoy both writing and drawing, but I have found that they speak in different ways, and I have had some challenges with having the two feed each other instead of just sticking one on top of another. Depending on how the reserch process goes, I am also considering playing around with the drawing style. I think the idea of having the style of the illustrations change a few times throughout the story aligns with the idea of absurdism. This could wither aid or kill the storytelling but I am interested in experimenting with that. I also want to do the binding of the books myself because I want the materiality of the final product to be a significnt element.
This project will most likely be a straightforward comic, but I am also considering making it wordless. The story is inspired by a Chinese woman who helped build the most influential gang in Shanghai in the early 1900s. I don’t want this project to be a biography of her, but I am using her story as a starting point. I grew up in Shanghai and I consider it my home, so I would love to research and create something around the rich history and culture of the city. On the other hand, I also love New York, and I am especially obssessed with the 1920s, so this project is in a way an opportunity for me to combine the two.
I imagine the story to be colorful and glamorous on the surface, but dark and gritty underneath. With the drawings, I want to study and evoke the style of Leyendecker, which fits the tone that I want to go for as well as the time period that I am interested in. This project might be the first portion of a longer one because I don’t want the narrative to be limited in any way by the length. To fully explore the depth of the history and the characters, I want to make sure that the story is as long as it needs to be. With this project I also want to do the book binding myself, and I want the binding to reflect the story or the time period in some way.
This is my least developed concept out of the three, but I also want to keep it very free because I want this project to be my “play” option. The other two projects are things that I have wanted to do for a while now, whereas this project will be an opportunity to play with ideas and techniques that I have never done before. I want to experiment with rotoscope animation, music, and voice over, and explore how audio can be translated into or represetned through visuals. The process of trying out different things and finding a way to put them together in a cohesive manner will be just as important as the final product. The presentation of the final product could be a prominent part as well.