The time flowed rapidly despite the duration of the Final Major Project was 12 weeks. From nothing to the final work, there were a lot of struggles. As this project was almost self-directed, I got to plan and make up my mind for decisions no matter they were major or minor by myself. LGBT related-project was something that I wanted to do for a long time, therefore, it was not hard to determine the theme. But the problem was how to present the theme, I thought other things such as posters and campaigns. At last, I ended up with making comic, which was quite a good idea that I could mix the interest of doing some moving image by making gif.
Firstly, time management surprisingly helped me because I had not planned about things in a long-term timetable before, I would never thought making a timetable could make my working process faster. I did 68 pages in total for my comic, the time was not much though there was 12 weeks. Since half of the time we needed to research and develop our ideas, it was just a month for me to do. Having a timetable helped me to track my process and prevented from slow progress that led to lack of time. For instance, I planned to finish the idea development and started to decide the storyline before Easter, though I did not finish them before the trip, it was because I set the time earlier. I pushed myself to make up my mind after the holiday so that I could start and work on my final piece at the beginning of May.
Secondly, I learnt to try more on different primary research, such as having interviews. That was the first time I did interview and this time I was also the one who interviewed people. Especially, the topic was quite controversial and sensitive in the first place. In my opinion, the reaction for LGBT community in my place was gentle, but I was not sure since there might be some people did not like homosexual people at all. And it turnt out nothing too special. However, I wanted to be more specific on the questions I asked as I knew all my interviewees. I wanted to know more about the situation of the environment for LGBT people during high school in Macau in order to get more depth on my idea development. My questions could be better with more specific answers, unlike questions like what your school character was inside your classroom since some of the sensitive information would be missed. Instead, maybe I should have asked directly about what your insecurity was inside your classroom.
Thirdly, various kinds of materials were used. I did not try something really complex and difficult such as screen-printing or other traditional printing method, time was rushed at that moment. I was drawing my comic and I was always afraid that I could not finish them on time. Mostly, the works were in digital for my final piece, as I wanted to do animated gif. on it. When I was illustrating the comic strips, I kind of regreted I did not use traditional drawing as facing on computer for a long period of time everyday was not fun. I understand why digital artists were tired as they always need to see on the computer. Nevertheless, I wanted to work back on traditional materials after I have finished my comic story part. Therefore, in order to balance out between digital and traditional when I started to design and use acrylic paint and pastel to do my cover and some of the inner pages. Furthermore, I used orange as they got some connection and it was organic.
The result of the final piece was quite harmonised between traditional and digital pieces. As I used a particular brush on Photoshop in order to create a chalky style, it was kind of intimating some charcoal texture. Therefore, the cover piece was used soft pastels, which they gave a texture on the paper and a chalky texture. It worked well with the comic strips, which having the graphic style to make the story flowed better. For the storyline, I altered the ending and almost entirely changed the turning point of the story. One of the reasons was I would excessed a lot of pages, maybe over 80 pages if I sticked to my original idea, and I did not have enough time and energy to do it. Another reason was that the story was too related to the event I had heard before, which was kind of too extreme and it was not suitable to deliver the messages to the readers. Also, I did not want the main characters of the real event felt uncomfortable with the similar storylines published. For other pages for the comic, such as the quotes from interviews. I really like my idea of putting inside before each chapter, they give the atmosphere when I was reading. Thus, the resonance between audience and the story will be stronger.
Moreover, doing animated gif was tired and met many technical struggles. I understand that animator are very hardworking and they need a lot time to finish a ten second movement. On one of the pages I needed to do the movement of holding hands, it was not fun, I used almost one and a half hours to finish and the result was still not good. The most frustrating thing was that I deleted that photoshop movement which I did not know why. Although I export it out as gif, I could not make any change or I had to do them again. Getting backup file for important change is essential, that what I have learnt.
Overall, this 12 weeks was exhausting in different kind of ways, but learnt and understood many things from preparation to making the final piece. I understand more on my LGBT community and doing comic and making stories. I would do more tradition printing technique next year as I think it would be challenging but I could work in different conditions to obtain more skills.