Final Digital Comic Collage: Dahlia Xie

The first items that I scanned for project one were items that were related to clubs that I have been involved in. I scanned in a Math Olympiad T-Shirt from 5th grade and a KZUU chapstick. They were items that I felt represented a little bit of who I am as a person but while creating my digital collage, I realized that they weren’t items that I wanted to emphasize.

DTC201 Project 1: Digital Comic Collage

DTC201 Project 1: Digital Comic Collage

I felt like I had tried too hard to curate the items in my collage and I decided that I wanted to make my project more organically. I ended up going to the Avery computer lab and scanning in various items that I found in my backpack. I tend to throw a lot of random things in my backpack so it was relatively easy to find items to scan.

I appreciate chaotic art that sometimes doesn’t make sense until you look at specific pieces and I tried to incorporate that into my digital comic. I wanted to emphasize the part of McCloud’s definition of comics to “produce an aesthetic response to the viewer” (McCloud, page 9). I found a crumbled up zine at the bottom of my backpack that I had drawn for fun last semester and scanned that in along with some other items with text. I hoped that the relationship between text and images would provoke some response from the viewer.  I also used some digital drawings that I had made on my laptop to create a contrast in media in the comic. Some key sections of the comic that I put more thought into making were the sections with the stop sign and the eye at the bottom.

Stop sign section of the collage

Eye section of the collage

They are parts of the collage that I really enjoyed making because I feel like the longer you look at them the more things you’ll notice and appreciate.

I tried creating a little bit of dominance in sizes by making the image of the boot instructions larger than the other items, but I wasn’t exactly sure what images I wanted to emphasize. In addition, I liked adding a variety of depth and texture to the images. I created a drop shadow layer mask for the Thank You note and I used the old zine that showed a lot of wear and aging to the paper. I juxtaposed some of my digital art with items I scanned in. For example, in the stop sign section of the collage, I added a drawing I made of a mishappen cigarette next to a piece of medicine that I scanned in. I placed those two images next to a stop sign that I scanned in from my Math Olympiad T-Shirt. I tried to create a D.A.R.E aesthetic by combing the images of drugs and a stop sign.

A paper collage that I created over the summer

For the linguistical representation in my comic, I scanned in a variety of different writings. I used images with my own handwriting, things that other people have written for me, and text from the newspaper. While intensely decluttering my room over the summer, I actually created a, arguably bad, paper collage with cutouts from magazines, newspapers, AP/SAT books, and High School homework assignments, and I decided to scan that in. Although I didn’t integrate many pieces from the paper collage into my digital one, already having a collage with many different items on it was really useful when making my collage. Over the summer, I also experimented with stamps and stamping ink on clothes. I tested my prints on notebook paper to see how they’d look before stamping them on a shirt. I found the paper I used to test the stamps in the back of my notebook and I ended up scanning the page in and making it the background image for my collage. The stamp that I had used said something along the lines of “I’m glad to have you as a friend” with a sun at the top and flowers in the foreground. For my shirt, I was trying to isolate certain words in the stamp which is why the words “glad” and “you” are stamped randomly across the page with some hints of the sun in certain stamps.

This was my first time using Photoshop and there was definitely a steep learning curve for me. Thankfully, the photoshop tutorials were extremely helpful resources and if I couldn’t find the tutorial for a certain task I was trying to achieve, solutions were easily accessible online. Layer masking was definitely the most useful tool for creating my collage, it took me a while to figure out how to use it and isolate the parts of the images that I wanted to keep but after figuring it out it was a breeze.  I really enjoyed experimenting with different aspects of Photoshop like using layer masks for shadows. Creating this comic in a digital environment was really fun. Over the weekend, I even made multiple digital comics on my phone and in Photoshop as recaps of my summer with photos that I had on my phone. I might even say that I’ve been almost having an addiction to collaging at this point… Although I definitely haven’t utilized Photoshop to its fullest potential since I’ve almost exclusively been using the layer masking tool, It’s been really fun to just create random things with the skills that I have developed in the software.

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