The creation story that this comic follows is a Salish Native American story called “The Creation of the Red and White Races”. My original thought was to choose the characters I wanted and to just add native american accessories. First off, that was too easy a solution and I feel that it would not fit the story correctly. Off I went to research Native American art. The thing that stood at to me, no matter where I looked, was that the art had many geometric, abstracted forms. Pottery was what specially caught my attention. This can explain numerous things about my design choices.
In pottery, animals are either facing right or left, or maybe a full frontal view. There was no three-quarter views; this is why I do not have any three-quarter views. The design of the ‘bad’ character, the mountain sheep contains more sharp angles, a squinted eye and the color red to all signify its role. The coyote, on the other hand, has more curved corners, and what is essentially a moon for an eye- I associate it with sleeping, which generally happens at night.
A thing that differs greatly from your typical comic is the circular set up. I chose this because, again, of the pottery. There are various design choices that are meant to point the viewer in the right direction. The first thing is the brighter colors in the beginning; these colors gradually darken. The brighter color is meant to catch the viewer’s attention first. Then the lines that separate the panels flow the direction the comic goes- counter clockwise. These lines themselves are meant to appear like brush strokes on pottery. The animals in the outside ring are there for the purpose of pointing the right direction and to introduce the other animal chiefs briefly mentioned in the story.
The color pallet I used is very simple- not many colors, maybe variations of them. I chose this because the simpler, earthy colors felt correct with the feel I was trying to create. Native American pottery did not generally have too many colors and they tended to be more earthy. All the colors interact well and do not jump out before the others aside from the different brightnesses that point the correct direction. The flat colors also contrast greatly against the realistic textures used on the soils. The white and red soil offer an interesting mix of realism against complete flatness.
Aside from design choices, creating a comic was a totally new but fun experience. The book Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud gave great pointers and inspiration. I decided to use the first panel to establish the main character. The next panel is the scene where the coyote is sleeping; I used a subject-subject transition because I felt it was appropriate in introducing the scene and the next character or beginning of trouble. After this is another subject-to-subject transition; the importance of the bag next to the coyote is made known to the reader. The importance of the bag is amplified when the next two scene, an action-to-action transition, takes place. The idea that the bag is important is detrimental to the story since it is an important aspect.
The ‘gutters’ of my comic are meant to give relief between the colors. It breaks up what is going on and gives space for the reader’s mind to decide on what is happening. The needed characters have been introduced and an important action is taking place but it is up to the reader for the story to go on between the panels. The gutters are not meant to stick out; they are part of the background.
Overall this comic pushed me out of my comfort zone. I usually enjoy many, bright colors on a surface that is not so flat. I do not usually use geometric forms; I tend to use organic, smooth and curvy lines to express what I want. This comic forced me to expand my skills in what I draw – I no longer fear abstracting a form and making it geometric. Arranging a comic around a circular is also something that was unique to me when it comes to telling a story. The circular story forced me to think what would really make the viewer read in the right direction.
Overall I can take the skills learned here and apply them to future projects when it comes to digital art. It is taking what I know about fine arts, the brush strokes, pottery and colors, and combining it with graphic design- like using Illustrator or other programs.
Creation of the Red and White Races
Creation of the Red and White Races – Salish
Among the people of long, long ago, Old Man Coyote was the symbol of good. Mountain Sheep was the symbol of evil.
Old-Man-in-the-Sky created the world. Then he drained all the water off the earth and crowded it into the big salt holes now called the oceans. The land became dry except for the lakes and rivers.
Old Man Coyote often became lonely and went up to the Sky World just to talk. One time he was so unhappy that he was crying. Old- Man-in-the-Sky questioned him.
“Why are you so unhappy that you are crying? Have I not made much land for you to run around on? Are not Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo on the land to keep you company?
“Why do you not like Mountain Sheep? I placed him up in the hilly parts so that you two need not fight. Why do you come up here so often?”
Old Man Coyote sat down and cried more tears. Old-Man-in-the-Sky became cross and began to scold him.
“Foolish Old Man Coyote, you must not drop so much water down upon the land. Have I not worked many days to dry it? Soon you will have it all covered with water again. What is the trouble with you? What more do you want to make you happy?”
“I am very lonely because I have no one to talk to,” he replied. “Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo are busy with their families. They do not have time to visit with me. I want people of my own, so that I may watch over them.”
“Then stop this shedding of water,” said Old-Man-in-the-Sky. “If you will stop annoying me with your visits, I will make people for you. Take this parfleche. It is a bag made of rawhide. Take it some place in the mountain where there is red earth. Fill it and bring it back up to me.”
Old Man Coyote took the bag made of the skin of an animal and traveled many days and nights. At last he came to a mountain where there was much red soil. He was very weary after such a long journey but he managed to fill the parfleche. Then he was sleepy.
“I will lie down to sleep for a while. When I waken, I will run swiftly back to Old-Man-in-the-Sky.”
He slept very soundly.
After a while, Mountain Sheep came along. He saw the bag and looked to see what was in it.
“The poor fool has come a long distance to get such a big load of red soil,” he said to himself. “I do not know what he wants it for, but I will have fun with him.”
Mountain Sheep dumped all of the red soil out upon the mountain. He filled the lower part of the parfleche with white solid, and the upper part with red soil. Then laughing heartily, he ran to his hiding place.
Soon Old Man Coyote woke up. He tied the top of the bag and hurried with it to Old-Man-in-the-Sky. When he arrived with it, the sun was going to sleep. It was so dark that the two of them could hardly see the soil in the parfleche.
Old-Man-in-the-Sky took the dirt and said, “I will make this soil into the forms of two men and two women.”
He did not see that half of the soil was red and the other half white. Then he said to Old Man Coyote, “Take these to the dry land below. They are your people. You can talk with them. So do not come up here to trouble me.”
Then he finished shaping the two men and two women–in the darkness.
Old Man Coyote put them in the parfleche and carried them down to dry land. In the morning he took them out and put breath into them. He was surprised to see that one pair was red and the other was white.
“Now I know that Mountain Sheep came while I was asleep. I cannot keep these two colors together.”
He thought a while. Then he carried the white ones to the land by the big salt hole. The red ones he kept in his own land so that he could visit with them. That is how Indians and white people came to the earth.
“Creation of the Red and White Races.” Creation of the Red and White Races. Glenn Welker, 9 June 2004. Web. 07 May 2014.