4: Transforming Tales: Visual Narrative (September 2020)

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

The second stage of my exploration looks in detail at issues in ‘creative translation’ in terms of both alternative narrative strategies and stylistic treatment.

In this Assignment I use professional animation software: TV paint to enable much more variety in style and a more RSI-friendly workflow due to better drawing, timeline and storyboarding management features. I also draw on on-line Frame-by-Frame animation courses by Howard Wimshurst and Bloop animations.

Secondary source research involved two parallel processes:

I look at different ways in which textless narratives can be constructed, and different ways in which they can be visually communicated through the ‘Grammar of the Shot’. See:

I analysed narrative and visual strategies from illustration, animation and film-making:

My visual exploration started by revisiting the Community Drawings from India and Uganda. I used TVPaint walk cycle studies to improve the iPad animated vignettes, and following the Disney animation principles. I then suggest a number of alternative narratives that could be produced, drawing on my own or on-line contextual information.

Producing animatics in different graphic styles.

I then work on more polished alternative narrative translations – line drawing, photo/video rotoscoping and combined styles based on community drawings from Pakistan.

I base my translations on further semiotic and stylistic analysis of drawings and documentation from participatory workshops in Lahore and Baluchistan. But in construction of translation narratives, I look at advantages and challenges of using other contextual information from on-line photos and videos that provide documentary context to the community drawings.

1: Constructing narrative from community voices

2: Stories without words: narrative strategies and inspiration

Drawing on narrative theory in animation and film, particularly wordless storytelling techniques, I develop an experimental framework for generating alternative narrative around a theme. used by comic and animation illustrators, particularly Matt Maden’s ’99 ways to tell a story’. I look in detail at narrative strategies used by other illustrators and animators producing textless stories, particularly:

  • animators identified in Assignment 3 see: contemporary animation
  • Manga and anime
  • Tom Gould ‘Goliath’
  • Sequential drawings by Richard MacGuire

3: Transforming Tales:
Creative Translations

Each ‘translation set’ explores a range of options to see how different narrative approaches affect the ways in which community messages might be read. Sets of alternative stories experiment with different approaches to narrative: framing, composition, timing, sequencing and format and use of humour and shock techniques.

Pig Tales: India

Translation 1: Line drawing animation

Translation 2: inspired by Indian tribal art and Tom Gould’s Goliath

Translation 3: inspired by anime, particularly Princess Mononoke and Princess Sabuya

What happened to my airplane? women’s voices from Pakistan

Translation 1: Line drawing animation

Translation 2: Inspired by Afghan and Iranian gouache art

Translation 3: ‘Film Noir’ inspired by Persepolis, Hitchcock and Shirin Neshat

My wife doesn’t love me any more: Uganda

Translation 1: Line drawing animation

Translation 2: Geometric African silhouettes/Saul Bass

Translation 3: Toontastic

Audience consultation

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.

These are then circulated and discussed with people on the ground through social network groups, to refine the most successful animations. In particular, how seriously the messages are taken as ‘community voices’ for advocacy.

For initial feedback from friends and colleagues in communities and organisations through social networks see: Assignment 4: A Working Draft (forthcoming 2021) and the final summary of longer term feedback, assessment and refinements in Assignment 5: Participatory VisCom Guidelines.(forthcoming 2021)