4: Telling Empowerment Stories (Dec 2019)

See: Assignment 4: A Working Draft (forthcoming December 2020)

The second stage of my exploration looks at different ways of using the drawings and role play photos to create three ’empowerment story sets’ of alternative interactive game, sequential and/or animated empowerment narratives.

Community Empowerment Narratives

I focus on three different story-lines:

  • ‘Women’s empowerment’ = ‘Happy Families’? interactive game from line drawings by women and men at workshops in Baluchistan, NorthWest Frontier province and Lahore in Pakistan.
  • ‘Tupa tupa’ or where does the coffee money go? sequential narrative animation from photographs of a role play by men from a coffee cooperative in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Empowering my neighbours video animation from video of role plays and drawings by women in Uganda

The next part of my visual research in Assignment 4 will be to look at ways of producing alternative translations of three community empowerment narratives from the drawings, and also from photo series and video of role plays:

Graphic narrative inspiration

Drawing on wordless storytelling techniques used by comic and animation illustrators, particularly Matt Maden’s ’99 ways to tell a story’. I want to leave my investigation of other designers and illustrators somewhat open and contingent on emergent requirements of the question as my research progresses. As well as the artists and illustrators from Assignment 3, I envisage including:

  • flash stick animation styles like those of Raymond Bollinger
  • illustrators and animators producing sequential narratives who have innovated with framing, layout and narrative sequencing: manga, Chris Ware and ‘Introduction to…’ graphic guides consulted on theoretical frameworks for this Assignment and/or being studied for Visual Communications Advanced Practice.

Visual innovation

I aim to produce three sets of empowerment narratives exploring different ways of collating and combining empowerment drawings into interactive info-graphics. Each ‘translation set’ will explore a range of options in terms of visual approach to see how different types visual translation affect the ways in which narratives might be read. In particular, how seriously the messages are taken as ‘community voices’ for advocacy.

I explore in detail the relative strengths and challenges of working and integrating Adobe Illustrator and/or Animate and/or After Effects and/or Premiere in terms of their ability to reproduce and enhance the original community styles and meanings. I will look at a range of graphic styles from line drawing, coloured cartoons and more ‘realistic’ image sequences, digitally converting photos and videos and/or redrawing depending on the type of source document and type of style produced. Working with photography and video will enable me to carefully analyse and observe body language and posture, and how to draw people from different cultures based on how they present themselves.

I will experiment with different narrative treatments, experimenting with different framing, composition, timing and sequencing and different formats eg:

  • stick drawing animated gifs compiled as an interactive ‘what’s next’ game in Adobe Animate
  • strip cartoon comic pages with simple panning and sound effects
  • cartoon-style animation video in Adobe After Effects, including animation to music and write-on techniques

Selected animations will be uploaded to a You Tube channel and embedded in this blog. Less ‘successful’ work will be placed in this blog or on my Adobe account and linked for reference.