- What is your inquiry question? What initially drew you to this question? Did your question stay the same, or did it change overtime? Why?
For my grade nine zip project, my inquiry question was as follows: what are some of the most important principles in creating an effective and engaging graphic novel? I was initially drawn to this topic because I wanted to combine my passion for art with writing. My question has stayed the same throughout this project because I found enough information to answer my inquiry and I found that the scope was manageable to answer in the time frame given
2. What skills have you expanded on / learned during the inquiry process? How are these skills applicable to your success as a student?
Through the process of completing zip, I have learned many new skills. I have expanded my knowledge about graphic novels in general but specifically I learned the skills necessary to make a comic. One of the skills I expanded on during this project was creating and developing characters. I will definitely benefit from this skill in the future and it will help me become more successful later on. I have also improved on is my drawing technique which was something I had hoped to expand on at the beginning of this project. Planning, note taking, and organization are other skills I have expanded on, became more efficient at, and learned more about during zip and I know they will be very helpful in the future to help me become a successful student in any subjects I choose to pursue.
3. What did you learn about / what is your answer to this inquiry question? Remember to be specific and provide direct evidence from your research.
In order to answer my question I found and researched 4 important principles that I believe make an effective graphic novel. These may not be the most important principles, but I believe they have significant impact on how effective your graphic novel is. The four main principles that I researched are as follows: the sequence of the panels, the perspective inside your panels, character design, and combining writing and illustrations effectively.
Sequences are the “magic between [the] panels” (An Introduction to Graphic Novels: Sequences, cloudscapecomics.com). Readers assume what happens during a sequence by using something called closure, which is the ability to take similar images and connect them together/create a relationship between them. As I read in Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics, there are 6 different types of sequences: moment to moment, action to action, subject to subject, scene to scene, aspect to aspect, and non-sequitur.
Perspective is all about what is happening inside each panel. You “think of your panel as the frame of a photograph” (An Introduction to Graphic Novels: Basic Cinematography and Perspective, cloudscapecomics.com). You want to use the POV (Point of View) of your camera to your help you create a more interesting and engaging graphic novel. There are three sub categories of perspective: height, where the camera is moving along the y-axis, distance, where the camera is moving along the z-axis, and rotation, where the camera is moving along the x-axis or around something.
Character Design is essential for any story to be engaging. Cloudscapecomics.com gives you many techniques to create and develop your character. Some techniques include brainstorming on a mind map, drawing your character from all perspectives, using reference materials to work from, and reworking your character if necessary. Specifically, in graphic novels, your “character needs to function visually, therefore has to be visually appealing” and characters need to be able to express their personality visually (An Introduction to Graphic Novels: Character design, cloudscapecomics.com). In addition, because character must be drawn repeatedly they cannot be too complicated.
Words and pictures are like a dance. Each one takes a turn leading, and they support each other to create something even better. However, if they both try to lead at the same time it doesn’t work out as explained in Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics. There are seven different ways to combine words and pictures: word specific, picture specific, duo-specific, additive, parallel, montage, and inter-dependent.
4. In what ways does your final learning artefact demonstrate your learning / answer to your inquiry question? How does it connect to your chosen curricular competencies? Consider listing your competencies and including images, links, or excerpts from your work to demonstrate this
My learning is demonstrated in many ways through my final learning artifact, which is the first segment of a graphic novel. As I have mentioned above, I researched 4 main topics and I have put my learning to action using these four principles in my learning artifact. I found all these principles were very helpful because they acted like tools I could use when I needed to make my graphic novel more interesting and varied.
For the first principle, sequence, I used moment to moment, action to action, and subject to subject sequences. Knowing about these different types of sequences really helped when making my graphic novel because it helped to make meaningful transitions from panel to panel.
Action to Action:
Subject to Subject:
Aspect to Aspect:
For the second principle, perspective, there were three sub categories. I have used the first sub category, height, by using eye level perspective and birds eye view perspective. I found that adding the birds eye view perspective really helped add more depth and variety to my graphic novel which helped it become more engaging.
Birds eye view:
The second sub category of perspective is distance. I used three types of distance in my graphic novel: long shot, medium shot, and head shot. I found that using distance really gives more depth to your graphic novel and makes it more interesting to read as it is not just the same the whole story.
The third sub category of perspective is rotation which I used in my graphic novel by showing different parts and sides of characters and setting. I found that this helped show the characters/setting to the readers to make them feel like they are part of the story.
Even though I only made a short part of a graphic novel, I found it very helpful to develop my characters before I started my graphic novel. In my research, I read about how to create a character and I used many of the strategies outlined in the resources I used to develop them. I brainstormed using mind maps, circled ideas that I thought I would use, drew the characters, and then created a history of what happened to them before the story. This process helped me develop my characters, allowing my graphic novel to be more effective.
Words and Pictures:
The last principle I researched was combining words with pictures. I used three combinations: picture specific, additive, and word specific. I found using these principles very helpful when choosing how to incorporate words and drawing.
My first competency is as follows: use writing and design process to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational text for a variety of purposes and audiences. My learning connects with this competency because I planned, developed, and created the beginning of my graphic novel and learned many new things in the process. My second competency is to synthesize ideas from a variety of sources to build understanding. I demonstrated this competency by taking research from many different resources and at least 9 different sites and synthesized all the information to create four main principles. Finally, my last competency is to recognize an increasing range of text structures and how they contribute to meaning. My learning is connected to this competency as I carefully considered writing my dialogue so that it would effectively impact the meaning and interest of the story.
5. What resources did you find useful during your inquiry and why were they useful? (Cite at least four resources you consulted, with links, and write a brief 50-100 response as to was important to your learning).
Types of Graphic Novels is one of the first websites I looked which helped me understand the different genres of graphic novels. It was very important for me to learn what types of graphic novels there were before I could start on my own.
This website is called Cloudscape comics and I found it very helpful because it gave me valuable information on sequence, perspective, and character design. It is a very good introduction to comics and helped me answer my question.
3) McCloud, Scott. The Invisible Art Understanding Comics. HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
I found this book very helpful because it is a guide to basically everything you need to know about comics. I only was able to read part of it, but I learned many things including sequence and different ways to combine pictures and words.
This is a graphic novel written by Mark Fearing called Earthling which I read to help me understand how graphic novels are formatted. I used this as an example to base my graphic novel and I also read other articles written by Mark Fearing on how to make comics.
- What new questions do you have about your inquiry? What motivates you or excites you about these questions?
- How do the different speech bubbles in graphic novels affect the tone and meaning of the speech?
This question excites me because, as I was making my graphic novel, there were times when I didn’t know what type of speech bubble to use and I wondered how the shapes of the speech bubbles affect the story
- How to tailor the design of a graphic novel for the audience it is meant for? Do you make the same types of changes you would in your writing for graphic novels?
I am excited about this question because in the future I would be interested in making graphic novels for young children and I want to see what specific difference children’s graphic novels have from adult ones.
- How do you use graphic novels to help young children to read?
I am interested in this question because I enjoy working with young children and I want to know how we could use graphic novels to encourage young kids read. I would also like to know if the graphic novels would be written differently if intended for this purpose.