Graphic Novel Librarian’s New Logo – Daily Create Week 16

Daily Create #tdc1581 challenged users to use online text logo design tool MarkMaker to create a personal logo. I have been so engaged in the development of my digital ego – the graphic novel librarian – that I thought it would be cool to have a loge. Playing with the MarkMarker tool was fun – it is interesting to choose some interesting designs and have the tool produce new options based off your choices. I found many elements that worked for me that I wanted to incorporate into the final design of the G N Librarian logo and hundreds of other elements that were cool but did not work for me. That is the strength of this tool the number of elements make simple to choose a randomly generated but stylish logo. Where the tool became less user friendly was went I wanted to mix and match elements I had seen in a non-randomly generated way, I found that in the editing space specific elements were not labeled and finding specific styles of elements became guess work.

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Graphic Novel Librarian’s New Logo – Daily Create Week 16

Speed Creation – Week 15 Digital Story Critique

*THIS POST BELONGS TO A COLLECTION OF CRITIQUES OF DIGITAL COMICS AND RELATED MATERIAL, CREATED FOR A MASTER LEVER COURSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER.

This week I have found a very cool crowd sourced comic for my digital story critique. It is from creator David Revoy, where fans contribute pledges to facilitate Revoy to focus his time on Pepper and Carrot because the donations providing a source of income. There are perks for pledging included having one’s name included in the comic’s acknowledgments section of each issue and even merchandise/illustrations. This comic is not only crowd sourced but it is open source, meaning that the community of views has the ability to uses the images and characters of Pepper and Carrot to add to and remix this digital comic universe.. The results are new fan fiction episodes, video games and toys modeled after the heroine Pepper and her cat Carrot, also community created translations of dialogue bubbles into multiple languages. Revoy goes even further to support this community by creating tutorials to teach viewers how to use the open source tools that he is using to create the comic.

Pepper and Carrot is cute, entertaining and definitely worth a read but I decided to critique one of Revoy’s time lapse video depicting the creation of a page from Pepper and Carrot being crafted with the digital drawing tool Krita.

Story

The video shows the amazing transformation of the digital canvas as Revoy adds layers of digital paints to create the Pepper and Carrot comic. The video also provides a snapshot of the steps that are taken to craft and perfect the process of rendering a page in the digital world. I found it very interesting how often would Revoy just cover over elements instead of erasing or undoing. Which in his creation process would have just been an extra step. This is a fascinating look at the the process from a blank page to a detailed final product.

Pacing

The timing of the screen cast time lapse is well executed and provides a balance between showing the entirety of the creation and slow enough to see details.  Each time I have watched the video I better  understand the tools Revoy uses and how he uses them. this t balance to keep the video both informative and entertaining.

Digital Elements

Revoy does an awesome job of adding video with music in a way that that give the story tension. The tempo of Peer Gynt’s In the Hall of the Mountain King and the sped up time lapse video gives the story a sense of urgency, like running a race, and in the end a a feeling of accomplishment for the viewer. In the end I found myself getting anxious thinking that Revoy was not going to finish adding details before the song was going to end.

Though I highly recommend reading Pepper and Carrot I was just amazed at how powerful this making of time lapse was because it gave me a view into the world of a digital comic producer and gave me a snapshot of his tools and creative process thought this powerful but simple digital story.

Speed Creation – Week 15 Digital Story Critique

Supporting the mission of my Digital Story – A Response to Chosen Text Week 15

*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO SCHOLARLY TEXTS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.

For my digital project that I have launched for ILT5240, I am using twitter to create a dialogue with a community around making recommendations for graphic novels. I have launched the twitter account @G_N_Librarian and a website to archive the 4 tweet recommendations I have been making. I am happy so far with what I have made but it has not been the interactive experience I envisioned. I was hoping that my twitter followers would reach out to me with their other interests and that I could make recommendations for my followers; fostering a digital community and that that would, eventually, lead to community members contributing their own reviews and recommendations. I looked this week for texts with insight into making my twitter feed more engaging and interactive. Hoping to find some strategies to bolster the Graphic Novel Librarian community. I found three texts that provided the best advice for me:

Each of the articles shared their findings different ways. The 10 Twitter Tactics to Increase Your Engagement is produced by the Social Media Marketing Society as a compact and informative list of strategies with explanations of why they work. The Twitter Cheat Sheet is an infographic that is very engaging. Created by search engine optimization firm LinchpinSEO, the infographic provides a nice view of strategies that are similar to those from the Social Media Marketing Society and accessible for visual learners. Finally, A Scientific Guide provides the most in depth analysis of what make a successful tweet and provides not only general tips but also how to craft tweets for specific purposes and was written by social media blogger .

Each of these articles provided valuable advice for increasing followers and engagement for my twitter feed. To develop the community I have envisioned for Graphic Novel Librarian I decided to focus on incorporating the most common and/or powerful ideas from each text. I will apply these promotional tweets that I make between the standard my standard updates of 4 tweet graphic novel reviews, for the time being. The four strategies that stood out the most to me were:  

  1. Keep tweets short – shorter than the 140 allotted characters – this frees people to retweet you without needing to edit the tweet
  2. Tweets should come out often but not too often. Making sure you have a twitter presence most days keeps your account in your followers active memory but limiting tweets at at most two tweets a day keeps your account from becoming stale. Because of the size of my 4 tweet graphic novel reviews I am shooting for four tweeting periods a week – twice for 4 tweet reviews and twice for promotional tweets.  
  3. Ask for viewers specifically to retweet you or to mention you in their tweets and reward, these rewards could be public mentions or retweets, private thank you messages or even tangible rewards and prizes.
  4. Mentions, hashtags, and linked content such as video or blogs attract attention and increase engagement (retweets/likes). These tools, however, can interfere with each other if overused. Focusing on just one specific tool per tweet will keep viewer focus on your content and not overwhelm them with links, and more will make them more likely to retweet.

Here is my original promotional tweet, exactly 140 characters and no image:

“Tweet me your hobbies, likes/dislikes, preferences in literature and entertainment and I’ll personalize a #GraphicNovelReconedation for you!”

Here is my new promotional tweet:

“Tweet your interests, get a personalized #GraphicNovelRecommendation! Please retweet!”

Only 119 characters with a request for retweet and an image of the G_N_Librarian 4 tweet review banner (not pictured)!

Please check out my digital story and let me know what you think, also please send me a tweet with your interests so that I can craft a digital comic review for you! AND be awesome and retweet my promotional tweets.

Supporting the mission of my Digital Story – A Response to Chosen Text Week 15

Finding New New Literacies Tools – Week 14 Response to Chosen Text

*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO SCHOLARLY TEXTS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.

Comics are awesome tools for promoting new literacies in the classroom – I have found plenty of evidence in the form of scholarly text this semester that support that stance. I feel that the application of comics in the classroom for students to read is natural and something that I have already implemented throughout my teaching practice. What I have found is that I don’t have a grasp of yet is bringing comics into my practice for writing. I have always supported students that want to turn work or narratives into comics but this generally occurs when the students already see themselves as artist and are drawn to illustrating. I have evolved my thinking about teaching  comics as being most beneficial in a classroom for just reluctant readers but for the whole class  and have been looking for ways to open the options for writing comics for students that are not just “artists”. I found a EdTechReview article that highlights an intriguing web 2.0 storyboarding/digital comic tool – StoryboardThat.com.

 

I am excited to find a tool like this for two reasons, one I want to find a user friendly tool for students to use to create new literacy projects and two I want find tools that will fit my focus of graphic novels and can use with my final digital story for my master class.  A few weeks back I did some research into crafting reviews of books for the same reasons and have been more critical of other reviews that I have read. The EdTechReview gives a nice overview of the this tool and provides useful analysis of how to use this tool in the classroom with children. Both as a tool for delivering content and for students to use in their creation of narratives. EdTech also does a great job of providing practical information about StoryboardThat by including pricing plans and a walkthrough for setting up an account and launching a comic strip.
Finally this article’s final recommendation was particularly well crafted. The author not only told me that this is a powerful and user-friendly tool but connected it to my classroom practice by highlighting specific competencies that this tool could be used to support. I am looking forward to experimenting with StoryboardThat with my own digital story and determining how I might use this tool in my practice.

Finding New New Literacies Tools – Week 14 Response to Chosen Text

A Networked TV Commercial – Digital Story Critique Week 14

*I HAVE BEEN READING AND CRITIQUING DIGITAL COMICS, FOR MY MASTER LEVEL STUDIES, IN A CONTINUING SERIES TO DEVELOP MY EXPOSURE TO AND UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NEW LITERACY

I found something that is so much fun for my digital story this week. I have been thinking of interactive digital comics sense reading the Alexander chapter about networked books and have been searching for a comic that is more interactive. I also wanted to explore what is being done with comics on media platforms. I was drawn to Instagram as a possible platform because of its natural connection to static images. Also for some reason I feel more connected to social media I access from my phone. Maybe It feels cozier because I can read it on my couch. What I found was not what I expected. I thought I would find a lot of one off comic strips that set up and deliver a punch line in one panel, much like Gary Larson’s Far Side but did not find as many as I thought I would, what I found blew my mind, and surprisingly it was a promotional comic for the Adult Swim cartoon Rick and Morty.

Story

This is one impressive advertisement. By setting up multiple user accounts on Instagram and then linking those accounts through tags, Adult Swim has created a choose your own adventure set in the strange universe of Rick and Morty. This piece is full of Easter eggs that showcase the non sequitur humor of the show. The narrative is not overly developed beyond finding the hidden Easter eggs but with vast number of worlds to explore and user participation this promotion frees uses to build their own narratives on the foundation of rick and Morty’s zany university.

Project Planning

The attention to details in Adult Swim’s promotion is impressive. There are so many pictures that are unique but match seamlessly with the the pictures from the next stages in the chosen story line. Animation was strategically used as a reward for finding hidden Easter eggs. Finally the trailers that were hidden in the worlds to explore were subtle reminders of who was producing this awesome simulation but not so over powering to make the project feel like a commercial trying too hard to be cutting edge. I also found a similar example of this type of choose your own adventure Instagram feed from Old Spice but it was not as robust as the Cartoon Network endeavor and never shook the advertisement feel.

Media application

Adult Swim has done a great job creating a digital story that is entertaining and convey their product in a favorable light because they use the tools of the Instagram platform in a creative and new way.  This is such an engaging way to use the Instagram platform and inspires me to develop my digital story in a way that uses established web 2.0 tools in unconventional ways.

A Networked TV Commercial – Digital Story Critique Week 14

Newlz; Using Digital Tools to Look into the Future – week 13 Digital Story Critique

This week I am looking at a comic, by Stuart Campbell, that has combined static images, text, sound and subtle animations to create a comic that is could the the definition of digital. The content of the comic is futuristic and the revolutionary use of digital tools gives the whole story a cutting edge feel. Nawlz is a science fiction story that focuses on Harley Chambers as he uses futuristic dregs and technologies to experience dream like hallucinations while awake. This comic is most definitely for adults with lots of profanity and some nudity and may not be for readers that will feel uncomfortable from ambiguity in the narrative created by the dreamlike images with the electronic music and flashing animations enhancing the stories atmosphere. But for readers who are comfortable with it the ambiguity adds to the intrigue of the story.

Story

The story of Nawlz is very confusing at first, author Campbell, drops the viewer right into one of Harley’s dreamlike hallucinations, or castings, providing little information about what is happening or why, the vivid static images and the interplay between music and animations makes the casting state very surreal and adds to the tension of not being sure about what is happening. I found the uncertainty of the plot added to the dreamlike atmosphere of the narrative, because like a dream it made sense and was nonsense at the same time. After the first chapter Campbell included a recap which helps make sense of what happened before and highlights some important events that the viewers saw but did not understand in the first chapter. The ambiguity followed by a sublet description that let me make the connections was very engaging for me and made me an active participant in the preceding chapters of the Nawlz.

Media application

There are strong voices in the discussion about comics moving into the digital world that say that animation and sound is a slippery slope leading to animated cartoons. These voices see the need for static images and text to be the foundation of comics. And I agree with this sentiment, but I have found that when applied to enhance the static image or text – in order to set a mood or to make a strong point – both sound and animation can work in digital comics. Nawlz is the perfect example. The piece still founded, as a comic should be, in static images and text but the author uses both a sound track and subdued animations to effect the mood or in rare but powerful instances, pound home a point. Campbell also uses animated text boxes to present text and let viewers navigate the comics, which feel seamless in the digital future that Nawlz takes place in.

Sense of Audience

Nawlz has a very specific audience and Campbell knows how expertly engage them.  Lovers of digital future science fictions,  the cyberpunks, will be overjoyed with this work because everything from the music to the text boxes invoke a future where community members are sounded by digital communication and information 24 hours a day. People who loved Neuromancer or the Matrix will be right at home with in Nawlz.

Newlz; Using Digital Tools to Look into the Future – week 13 Digital Story Critique

Simply Digital – Week 12 Critique of xkcd: Click and Drag

*I HAVE BEEN READING AND CRITIQUING DIGITAL COMICS, FOR MY MASTER LEVEL STUDIES, IN A CONTINUING SERIES TO DEVELOP MY EXPOSURE TO AND UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NEW LITERACY

I found a surprising digital story this week. I was surprised because I found it as a single installment of the continuing xkcd web comic.  xkcd is a well known comic strip that is housed online. The drawing are usually simple – stick figures and line drawings, but they provide a strong delivery of the witty and poignant dialogue from writer Randall Munroe. I love this strip but do not see digital features that transform xkcd episodes from traditional comic strips into digital stories. The digital environment provides a great format to deliver this excellent comic strip to a wide audience, but the narrative and way the story is told is the same as if xkcd were published in a newspaper. What surprised me was the exception, an installment titled Click and Drag. This strip  uses an element of the infinite canvas to turn a single panel of the strip into a window that shows a portion of a large and sprawling drawn world. Viewers click and drag the image within the panel to change their view and explore Munroe’s world.  For a critique of Click and Drag I will look at Munroe’s story, media application and project planning

Story

The simple message of Click and Drag is shared with the text and then brilliantly illustrated with hundreds of static images on an (almost) infinite canvas. The technology, text and images all work flawlessly work together to share a simple but universal message. The simple story supports the exploration of the Munroe’s huge digital world, because if the story were complex and the digital world vast the combination would have been overwhelming. With a simple message the exploration is carefree and facilitates all the narrative features working together.

Media application

Looking at the sprawling world thought the panel/window make the images you find surprising, because you stumble upon them without any warning. This enables Munroe to spring jokes and poignant thoughts on the unsuspecting viewer. I even found myself laughing out loud on a few occasions. The panel as a window also enables the viewer to have a unique experience when using the click and drag features, because that viewer is in control of how they explore the digital world, and gives the viewer an interactive reading experience.

Project Planning

I would be interested in seeing what Munroe’s Click and Drag world would look like fully zoomed out. The picture must be massive. While I was playing the digital world seemed to go on (at least left and right) forever. I thought eventually the world would complete a circle and I would be back where I started but it never happened nor did I find an end.  This world must have taken considerable planning to create, not only is it a massive world but in every nook and cranny of the ever changing landscape are figures interacting, philosophizing or cracking jokes.

 

This is a really simple comic strip that is both fun to play with and has a useful as a message about the world we live in. I also see it as a metaphor for interacting with the digital world. Through our computer screens we view the constantly changing landscape of the sprawling digital world and just like the figures that populate the world in Click and Drag, the citizens of the digital world have engaging and surprising stories to tell. The more we explore the more stories we will be exposed to.

Afterword

I decided that there must be a way to see the whole massive drawing from Drag and Click so I searched the web some more and found a zoomable picture. I have only one word: impressive.  

Simply Digital – Week 12 Critique of xkcd: Click and Drag