Voyages. A collection of stories.
Voyages is a collection of sequential visual stories created by the students of the 2016 Visual Storytelling class, “Writing and Publishing a Graphic Novel,” at the Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, California.
For a few years now, I have been teaching various graphic novel and illustration classes at the Palo Alto Art Center. The classes are a success! Students enjoy learning the basics of different forms of visual storytelling and creating their own story. However, I wanted to offer students the possibility of going one step further to discover the excitement of not only writing but also publishing a graphic novel. For the winter 2016 session, I designed a new class: “Writing and Publishing a Graphic Novel: A Grand Voyage.”
The project was ambitious. Over the course of a ten-week evening class, each student had to develop a five-page story in the visual narrative style of their choice: comics, memoirs, travel diaries, children stories, science-fiction epics, superhero adventures, etc. The common theme “Voyage” could be taken literally or figuratively. A series of exercises introduced the students to the fundamentals of visual storytelling such as storyboarding, thumbnailing, character design, picture composition, camera angles and shots, page layouts, etc. While many students preferred traditional techniques, such as pencil, black ink and watercolor on paper, others chose to work with digital tools. Finally, the class participants learned to organize the collection of individual stories into a cohesive digital graphic novel. Topics included book layout, cover design, title page, preface, barcodes and ISBN numbers, copyrights, etc.
The final collective graphic novel includes eight complete stories. Two of the students had their stories accepted for publication in professional magazines before the end of class and therefore were not allowed to include them in this class project. Although we are sorry not to be able to show their work in this collective book, we are all thrilled for them! Each of the stories in the book is preceded by the student’s self-portrait and artist statement. Some of the class participants were total beginners with no experience at all in storytelling or in art. Others were professional illustrators and children book writers. All the pieces are wonderful! They range from touching personal stories to complete work of fiction, which is also the way we decided to present them in this book. We also thought it might be interesting to add, following the series of stories, a section including some of the students’ thumbnails and preliminary work.
Voyage is available as a pdf, an ePub, an iBook and as a video. You can download all these versions, free of charge, by scanning this QR code or going directly to this webpage. The book was designed with a simple and convenient iPad app: “Book Creator” by Red Jumper www.redjumper.net/
Enjoy this wonderful voyage!
PDF Format (49.6 MB)
Click on the blue link below to download and read the book as a pdf file. (This is quite a large file).