Final Digital Comic Collage: Kirk Brown

Project One by Kirk Brown in February 2020

My creative process was challenged through out this project. Collage has never been my favorite element of art only because I absolutely hate finding materials to create something. On top of that, I am minimalist when it comes to what I bring to college. This means I had a very limited collection of items that I could even digitize in the first place. Luckily, that’s what roommates are for. After asking around I explained the concept behind what I was thinking for the project. I wanted to culminate items that felt like home. I believe this concept of home can come in many different forms. I had to ask myself, what do I define as home? This could be the small town I grew up in, the city of Portland which I live near, or even the Pacific Northwest in general. When I asked my roommate, who is also from the Portland, Oregon area, if she had any items from home that may fit my concept she naturally supplied me with everything I needed. On her wall she had around 11 postcards that all relate to Portland, Oregon in some way. Her mom has been sending these cards to her while she is here at college. I thought this was perfect because nothing says home like a message from a mother who misses their child. To further illustrate this narrative I wanted, I decided to scan two of the messages that my roommates mom sent her. I chose messages that were short, simple and could have shared meaning by all. Other messages that had more personal messages were left out.

Regarding a few of the project requirements, I believe that my collage fits into Scott McCloud’s definition of a comic; “Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” (McCloud pg. 9). Postcards are in my opinion a really great way to fit this definition. They have natural borders, rectangles, which can be easily moved around and resized. These postcards all have one common theme which is Oregon in some way. My definition of home is Portland, because it is the city I grew up exploring. These postcards convey my home in a sequence that is aesthetically pleasing to follow. I wanted to incorporate elements from the work of Lynda Barry as well. I was inspired by the abstract meanings within her comics. That is how I got the idea of making mother missing her child the theme for the project as a whole. This is strengthened by the messages “You are my sunshine!” and “Loved having you home!..” These words were the linguistic element of the collage.

This project was not the first time I have used photoshop, but it was the first time I used elements such as clipping masks and other tools in the software. The clipping masks I used were on the handwritten letters. I was able to hide pixels that revealed my roommates name and our address. I didn’t feel like her name strengthened the collage so I removed it. Another new element I used was the eyedropper tool to make color correction in certain areas of postcards. I also used the cloning stamp to duplicate scuff marks on the handwritten letters. When I took out elements it made the negative space look to big for my liking. By duplicating certain scuff marks it filled in that negative space. Overall I really enjoyed working from a digital environment. You are able to always go back and edit an element in most cases.

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