This project is a direct response to the lack of ethnic diversity in children’s literature. In the USA we are trained to see the world in white, euro-centric terms. Our science, legends, laws, and culture are steeped in this tradition. This project — revolving around several youths on a pre-colonial South Pacific Island — address the silences in American literature.
In my creative process I began with the script, outlining the main arc and then fleshing that out with character development. At this stage I began with rough character designs, trying to see their personality in how they looked on the page.
Second, I moved to the story boards which sometimes caused my script to be rewritten to accommodate for the unique style of graphic stories. I planed out the layout of the pages including how many panels would be used on each page, who would be in the panels, and where and what they would be doing.
I then began drawing the panels with the characters, their expressions and body language. To my surprise, this caused me to revise the script further as the characters came to life on the page.
Lastly, I scanned the images so that I might edit and color them digitally. I touched up any mistakes and added word balloons to the panels. Once again, this challenged the dialog that I had planned to use as I learned to balance images with words.
I believe that this visual project and others like it will present alternatives to the conditioned whiteness in our literature. By familiarizing ourselves with other cultures, traditions, legends, and peoples, the boundaries of our world view are expanded. This frees us to imagine the world as it is; diverse, colorful, and boundless.
Read the entire webcomic here!