Digital Storytelling - Blog #6 "Sleepless nights"

This month was the most difficult that I have had at Full Sail so far, but overall it was a rewarding experience. I feel like I learned a lot in both classes. My primary takeaways from Digital Storytelling were:

DST_youtube.jpg


·      My DAD class is composed of unusually bright and talented people. I really feel like the challenge of this month made our class band together and help each other out. More so, I have learned that my peers at Full Sail are an extremely valuable resource for inspiration, feedback, and support.

·      Constructive Criticism is my best friend. I know that I am a pretty decent artist, and I tend to get a lot of feedback that is friendly but ultimately worthless. The focus on critique in this class taught me a lot about how to give and receive feedback about projects, and to consider all feedback valuable even if I do not initially agree.

·      It is OK not to have a great ideal until you are almost finished working on a design project. I tend to think of the design process as sketching out ideas until you find a good one, and then working on the best design. In this class I learned that research, sketching, gathering feedback, and evolving is most of the work, and you may not have anything good until you are almost finished. As an illustrator I always want to quickly choose an idea, and then make it look pretty, but in this class I learned that concept is king.


2am at my place with school chums.

2am at my place with school chums.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, this was a very challenging month. There were many sleepless nights hunched over my desk, and I am certain that I drank twice as much coffee as usual. Despite my exhaustion, I am grateful for the experience, and I looking forward to applying what I learned in this class as I move forward at Full Sail. 

Celebrate good times, C'mon!


Digital Storytelling - Blog #5 "Specificity leads to unity"

In reading about the challenges and approach to rebranding Valentine’s Day, I thought about how difficult this process must have been. I would like to point out a few key takeaways from reading this article.


·      Rather than diving headfirst into developing a new identity for Valentine’s Day, the design team took time to reflect on what doesn’t work about the current Valentine’s Day. If design is “a visual solution to a problem” then it is imperative that you define exactly what the problem is before you begin your design process. The team asked themselves how V-Day went from being a celebration of love to a stressful annoyance and decided that the key issues were: The generic nature of the holiday, the divisive and confusing aspects of who the holiday is for, the stress, and the worn-out clichés associated with the holiday. These specific problems informed everything that the design team developed.

·      I appreciated that the team did not rely on simply using the heart as their V-Day symbol. They recognized that this symbol has many associations outside of V-Day, so they took the basic shape and used it as a starting point. Taking this approach they then imbued the symbol with multiple meanings, and created something that is completely unique.

·      When looking through all their notes about the campaign I really appreciated their attempt to be specific with their choices. They defined exactly who the holiday was for, and how it could be celebrated. They ditched symbols and colors that were associated with other holidays/brands/feelings etc. Taking the approach that everything should be precise and simple gave the Holiday a clear purpose and aesthetic 


A recent rebrand of DC comics took a similarly specific approach to redesigning their logo to be be more unique and specific. They combined the 'D' and 'C' into a single image that is totally unique and layered with multiple meanings. 


Digital Story Telling - Blog 4 - "Show, don't tell"


In examining the DST “Storyshowing”  blog I made a few key observations that were really interesting to me.


·      When I looked at Joe’s initial designs I could really relate to how literal they were. They all made use of the course title and they had very literal interpretations of the words “digital” and “storytelling”. Generally speaking, the initial concepts are not the best, but I enjoyed seeing how elements of the initial designs evolved and informed the final design.


·      As someone who has received a lot of bad feedback in the past, I really appreciated reading the feedback from the initial designs in part 4. I think a lot of people assume that constructive criticism means specific tips or ideas, but what I really enjoy about this feedback is how conceptual it is.  There are a lot of evocative action terms like “upward momentum” and “pixel blur”. Terms like this get the designer thinking without forcing a specific concept on the designer.



·      Part 5 is where the biggest conceptual leap happens. The decision to not rely on using the full course title really frees up the designs and pushes them in the right direction. Here there is a return to thinking about the specific audience (students) that are going see the design, and how it could be incorporated into the lesson plan. Thinking about the specific audience really gives the concept some purpose beyond the simple visual translation of “digital storytelling”.

Recent "mascot" design sketch that I did for a pop-punk band called "Fugu". This was probably my 15th sketch. 

Recent "mascot" design sketch that I did for a pop-punk band called "Fugu". This was probably my 15th sketch. 

Final punk rock mascot for Fugu

Final punk rock mascot for Fugu

 

 

Reading about this process reminded me of how many ideas usually need to be explored before finding that “eureka!” moment. I drew a lot of Fugu fish for this design, but the "pokemon" style really captured the silly disposable concept of Pop Punk and resonated with the band members. 

Digital Storytelling – Blog 3 – “Strength in Vegetables”


Basic logo/character sketch.

Basic logo/character sketch.

My group came up with a lot of strange and fun word selections that leveraged the word “Pterodactyl”. I narrowed the list down to a few options that I like most, and sketched out some ideas for each one. After sketching out a few ideas, the word that I connected to the most was “Carrotdactyl”. The word in itself was light and fun, but I had a personal connection as well given that I am a vegetarian.

A sample of my initial doodles for different concepts.

A sample of my initial doodles for different concepts.


I think the main challenge with this exercise was finding a logical and potent way to apply real concepts to such strange/silly words. Carrotdactyl seemed to work itself out, the strength of the dinosaur imagery combined with the vegetable idea made me think about a vegetarian health and fitness website. I think there is a misconception that vegetarians don’t consume protein, or are dangerously underweight. When In fact Vegetarian body-types have just as much variety as any other group of people. I pictured a website about vegetarian lifestyle with a focus on fitness and bodybuilding, and I think “Carrotdactyl” actually captures that quiet well. 

More refined concepts.

More refined concepts.

Digital Storytelling - Blog 2 - "Capturing wild ideas"

 

“Ideation” may sound like a word abused to fit neatly into the title of a book or seminar, but it actually sums up the concepts presented in ‘Basics Advertising 03: Ideation rather well. The word itself conjures both the creative aspects of the processes presented in the book as well as their strategic nature. While reading these chapters there is an emphasis on exploring ideation strategies so that the reader can develop and standardize their creative process.  I have already used some of the processes outlined in this book, but I rarely spend enough time exploring before I begin my designs. It occurred to me that developing a creative process was just like drawing, it requires copious amounts of practice to feel natural. I need to explore more methods of divergent thinking, so that I can find the one’s that work and incorporate them into my work.

Sketches for a recent Graphic Principles assignment.

Sketches for a recent Graphic Principles assignment.


“The beauty of wild ideas is in their capacity to serve a springboard for lateral thinking” (pg. 16)


While there were many creative exercises illustrated in our reading, two of them stood out to me as ones that might be particularly useful.


The first method mentioned was “Mind Maps”(Word Maps), this is a technique that I have already used, but to varying levels of success. This technique involves identifying a central theme or design prompt and branching off into other ideas that relate. Once you have your related terms you can then examine them, and begin branching off those terms. The idea is to discover concepts that are removed from your initial idea but still vaguely connected. I have used this method before, but I tended to end up with a lot of synonyms, rather then divergent concepts. The example shown in this book incorporated sketches and use of color to branch out from the initial concept. I think that incorporating more imagery into my word maps will make the process more fun and more productive.


The other method that I found most appealing is something that I have never tried, but look forward to incorporating into my creative process. This process involves taking random words or images and applying them to your central idea or concept. You begin by randomly writing down words or selecting stock images. After you have a large collection you choose one word or image randomly. Once you have your randomly generated word or image you write down a page of ‘action’ or description sentences. Now you are likely armed with an array of strange concepts and imagery that you can apply to your central idea or concept that will help you examine it from a radically different point of view


I’m looking forward to trying out a few of the processes outlined in this book to see what will work for me. More so, I look forward to developing my creative process to the point that I won’t even have to think about how I am going to approach my next assignment, design, or personal project. 

Below are some example of my current design/thumbnail process. Not show: 3 pages of really bad ideas.

Layout

Layout

Character study

Character study

Final illustration

Final illustration

Digital Storytelling - Blog Entry 1 - "Where do we go from here?"


I grew up in Bay area, CA, I graduated High School in '03 and spent about 5 years searching for direction. My poor self-esteem had led me to essentially give up on art as a career, so I spent most of my time working a plethora of manual labor jobs, singing in a Punk Band, and attending far to many parties. It was a fun, but painfully empty existence. I reached the end of my rope in 2008 and enlisted in Americorps NCCC, where I would put my idealism to good use rebuilding homes damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. The world of non­profits led me to obtaining a job with an Conservation Corps, and I spent the next 3.5 years leading trail construction crews, and providing leadership training to college interns. From 2008 to 2012 I briefly lived in Denver, New Orleans, Galveston, Lake Tahoe, Flagstaff, Santa Cruz, and settled in San Jose. At one point I was considering Conservation as my permanent career, but promotions came with longer work hours, and an increasing detachment from a social/personal life. The 60+ hour workweeks were exhausting, but the time spent in the woods and cut off from society gave me a lot of perspective. I started drawing again, and became obsessed. I was constantly trying to get as much time as possible to just sit and draw. I became increasingly aware that my current job would not afford me enough time to practice as much as I would like, so I began researching schools. This of course led me to Full Sail, the scholarship, and a very long drive from San Jose to Winter Park.


This blog will serve as a record of my time at Full Sail University, and showcase my various creative effort and projects. Currently, the blog will feature work from my digital storytelling class, but I expand the blog to include work from other classes and some personal work.


My primary takeaway from digital story telling is my increasing awareness of the process of distilling an idea to it’s core.  I tend to work out my projects by research, sketching, and thumbnails. This is a very helpful process, but I tend to forget about things like word maps, and charts which are really essential in design and visual storytelling. My hope for this class is that I will continue to find things that I need to work on, so that I will become a more well-rounded artist.