When creating each of my final pieces, a lot of thought goes into each scene in hopes that I can work out a setting that can evoke as much emotion from the reader. As you can see from this post, I work out plenty of drafts before I find a stance that I like. Each image is intended to be looked at for a while, ad it's easy to miss out little details when going through too fast. The images were paired off with crude spelling and bad handwriting to work as a balance between the sad drawings, and provide some sort of comic relief.
IMAGE 1: In this scene, a smallpaw is born to two bigfoot parents. The smallpaw is in the nest at his parent's feet, and the parents weep out of pity in understanding the social hardships of raising smallpaw, a creature thought to be a leech on bigfoot society (as smallpaws are deemed as a totally different species unable to contribute to a community). Bigfoot parents cry because they know that from this point on, Smallpaw's life will be a tough one.
IMAGE 2: Viewer gets first glimpse of bigfoot society, as another Mama bigfoot disdainfully shields her son's eyes from the Smallpaw offering his hand in friendship. Being discriminatory isn't a trait bred in anyone, bigfoots included, it is a trait that is taught. You also see how narrow-minded and unforgiving the bigfoot society is because of this.
IMAGE 3: In terms of composition, this is kind of the odd-one-out in this set, but I think it works out. I wanted to capture how small Smallpaw feels when next to his bigfoot counterparts. Because there are not too many sharp differences between Bigfoot and Smallpaw, I wanted one frame to clearly split the two. Because you only see the sheer size of the Bigfoot, they look like an entire creature completely. I also wanted to add to Smallpaw, and show his bravery- that a simple activity as going on a run is lethal because of his size- a foot's as big as his torso!
IMAGE 4: This frame shows Smallpaw being tormented by his peers. It looks as if they're just older bullies, but not true, they're his age, or even younger. Smallpaw and his peers would have basically finished growing out at this point. Keep in mind that Smallpaws are kind of like the more-evolved members of society and have a more human-like build, which is downright puny in Bigfoot terms. Nonetheless, Smallpaw's peers never let off an opportunity to let him feel unwelcome and ashamed.
IMAGE 5: To me, this is the most powerful image in the book when paired with the text. I wanted a simple approach to showing Smallpaw's loneliness. At first I wanted a more dark, dense forest to mirror off his gloom, but I decided against this- a bit too intense. I thought it would be even more sad if I paired it off with the above image- where Smallpaw escapes his bullies in the thicket, and is left with a moment to be completely by himself, feeling more alone than ever after such a happening. The text is important in this piece too. Smallpaw wants to be honest when writing his text, but is embarrassed to put too many of his emotions in, he is part bigfoot, still.
IMAGE 6: Smallpaw leaves the only home he's ever known, and the only friends he's ever had, his parents. This is a pivotal time for Smallpaw. Though he is scared to go, he is more scared to leave behind his parents, his Mother's emotion mimics her initial emotion in the first frame- she knew this day would come. Smallpaw feels guilt and sadness in leaving, but is looking forward to a fresh new start.
IMAGE 7: I had a hard time in trying to stylistically draw the mountains in the scene. Until this point, the only scenery the viewer gets is trees and grass, I wanted to include new scenery- a mountain and river to show that it's a big big world out there, and Smallpaw is getting to see all of it. At this point, Smallpaw is optimistic- he meets new ones like him, and he is seeing a very different world than the closed Bigfoot world he came from.
IMAGE 8: This image and the next were added into the story after a crit with Joel, Lisa, Marcus and Salvatore who wanted more of Smallpaw's journey before arriving to the city. This is an exciting moment in Smallpaw's life, he has new companions on the trip, and his first outside friends. Smallpaw is the eager one on the left. The backdrop of this scene is similar to Image 5, but this time the atmosphere is different, it is warm and full of friends. The three smallpaw's emotions are reflected in their fire, they are full of energy, and optimism for their new life.
IMAGE 9: As time goes on that same night as Image 8, weariness and nervousness set in, the Smallpaw talk about their fears, where to go if no one can accept them. Again, the fire reflects the Smallpaw's feelings- the spark has gone out, and the only thing that remains is the sober rolling smoke.
IMAGE 10: Smallpaw sees the city- I was going to incorporate his two traveling buddies, but I thought it would be more powerful if our hero found the city out on his own. I'm unhappy with the look of the city- just not my element at ALL, haha. I tried to make it London, you can see the Gherkin. I wanted the cliff to split the complete differences between the Bigfoot forest and the Human 'forest'. The intrigue and intimidation Smallpaw must be feeling!
IMAGE 11: The city! It might be hard to totally get, but Smallpaw is supposed to be the model on the big billboard. You don't get to see any totally detailed drawings of Smallpaw and his face, but I thought that the overall hairiness, brow and very outward ears would prove Smallpaw's identity. If the viewer doesn't catch this, you can look closely into the crowd of people crossing the roads and window shopping you'll spot many Smallpaws. The bus driver and window display decorator, are Smallpaws for instance. Smallpaws thrive!
In case you haven't already figured it out, Smallpaw is the author of the story- as shown by his limited English-as-second-language type writing. The oval shapes I used as a template were chose to be done imperfectly, because having it too perfect and measured would be too 'human'. I also really liked the thought that from a distance they look really organic, like a pebble or river stone. On closer notice, I think the drawing style is pretty sketchy and a bit primitive as well. I was going to use ink as a medium, but in the end felt that pencil shows more emotion, and looks a bit more naive- something I thought would be more fitting for Smallpaw.