In the beginning of the semester, we were given a book entitled “Understanding Comics,” written by Scott Mccloud. In this book, he explained what comics are and the importance behind them. In this book, comics are defined as “Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.” For this project, we had to find an interesting story from a culture different from our own and tell it in an interesting comic form.
When I first heard of the project, I knew I didn’t want to just do plain old panels because I wanted to think of something more innovative than what was expected. Before I could think of something more out of the box, I had to choose a culture. I was mesmerized by Indian art and I was even more fascinated with their interesting mythology so I chose to do an Indian mythology. This mythology story revolves around the story of Ganesh, an elephant faced deity who happens to be one of the most known and worshipped deity in Hinduism. This story tells of how he outsmarted his younger brother to win a magical mango that granted him eternal wisdom.
After choosing the story of Ganesh, I had to decide how I would tell it in comic form. One of the things that comes to mind when I hear Indian culture is henna, which are temporary tattoos with unique spiral and floral patterns originating from ancient India. I thought it would be really interesting to tell the story through a henna tattoo. The basic layout of my project are two arms. The story starts from the left hand to the right hand. Unfortunately, there was a lot of blank space on the arms due to the story being told on the hands. On the top of each arm , I added henna versions of each brother’s animal transportation, the left being Ganesh’s mouse and the right being Karthik’s peacock. I think in doing this, it really emphasized the competition between the two brothers.
Instead of adding color to the project, I used actual henna to outline it due to a suggestion from my professor. Henna is definitely an interesting medium to work with. The main difficulty I had in working with the henna was that it’s in a tube and in order to get a smooth look, I couldn’t really stop or else it would’ve missed a spot. Also, it leaves quite the bit of cramping sensation in the hand after a short period of time, so I had to continuously stop in order to not mess up the comic. I also considered doing the henna on another person’s arms but there were several problems with that idea. Since it was my first time dealing with henna, I could’ve easily messed up, especially without a proper outline.
In my opinion, this project was the most interesting of the three we received because it put our knowledge and talent of storytelling to the test and telling a story in an interesting way is of high importance in a department such as animation. This project improved my artistic ability, expanded my storytelling ability and it also gave me the opportunity to experience with a different medium. Also, drawing patterns come more naturally now ever since starting the project. If I could do anything different, I would’ve painted in the arms a skin color before outlining the arms with the henna because maybe it would pop out more with a skin color behind it.