Exercise – Telling A Story

My course arrived this morning. I was so excited I think the delivery man had never had such a welcome as I flew across the kitchen. The course was wrapped in the beautiful red tissue paper and I’ve been reading it voraciously ever since. There are lots of projects I’m excited about and I can’t wait to get started.

Exercise – Telling a Story Tell a story using just five frames.

Choose a simple story

  • Try a fairytale or another well known narrative most people will be familiar with.
  • Sketch out five essential images that will tell the story
  • Upload your images to your blog and invite comments.

I went through a few suggestions in my head, mostly relating to Greek Myths but not everyone in the family knew some of the myths so as we are surrounded by a wood, I decided Hansel and Gretel would be quite a apt suggestion.

I first re read the original story and then made a list of the five major scenes. At one point I was wondering whether or not to include the scene where Hansel and Gretel find their way back home, but that would have taken two extra frames that I didn’t have an option to lose.

I made the following plan and started sketching. Below is the final result

Hansel and Gretel - ChloeClik

ONE Wood cutter and wife have no money (represented by the house in the background with only half a roof and the patches and threads on their clothing. Gretel overhears the wicked Stepmother telling the children’s father they are poor and must get rid of the children.

TWO –  Father leaves children in wood. I wanted to show the father walking off and placing him in the foreground made him seem large and oppressive in contrast to the children staring after him, their arms wrapped around each other in fear with the looming trees and some evil eyes surrounding them. They seem tiny in comparison to everything. The picture also has depth as it is made up of a foreground, a middle ground and a background. There is also the twisting path (significant in the story) which winds round. The tree also curves it’s way around the children drawing the eye.

THREE – The children find their way to the cottage made of cake and start to eat it hungrily. The old woman/witch comes out, she is framed in the doorway as an ominous figure. On the door it has a recipe for boiling the children!

FOUR With Hansel imprisoned Gretel pushes the old witch into the oven

FIVE – The children rejoice hugging their father, a nice close up to hone in on the emotion on their faces.

I posted on the OCA group and asked my fellow students to comment on the drawings. I was really pleased with the feedback and it seemed the only problem was frame four where the witch is pushed into the oven. The oven clearly wasn’t clear enough and the fire seemed ambiguous. With that in mind I decided to colour in that one frame to represent the fire.

I was so grateful to my fellow students for taking the time to give me such great feedback.

Students comments. 

Stephanie – I like your use of perspective to give depth/distance. Are you allowed to use colour? I’d like to see flames from the oven, as that’s the only thing that’s not clear from the picture (though as I knew the story it was obvious).

Lynda – I think you’ve done a great job Chloe. The only frame I had trouble figuring out (probably because I had to think a bit about the fairy tale as I haven’t read it in …. years!) was the second last one. It isn’t really clear that it is an oven. Maybe some flames or a bit more of a pull back shot would work for it.

Sun – I knew which fairy tale it was straight away. Could you use a bit of colour for the fire with the oven to highlight flames? I agree with comments above the oven one was the only board I felt wasnt clear enough. I also like the way the wood cutter is crying with grief in the 2nd and crying with joy at the end. fab story boards.

Patricia – Great sketches that tell a story well

Dawn – Looks like it’s going to be an interesting course Chloe. I’d agree with everyone else’s comments. If you can’t add colour flames perhaps just show a bit more of the oven, some hint of the hob or something? Love your sketching style.
Lynda – I agree it was obvious which fairy tale it was. I thought the oven was just part of the house so agree it’s other comments re clarity. Well done

Claire Lovely work Chloe. Love the style of the sketches and I knew what fairytale I was looking at instantly – the main components were picked out and the storey was told. 😀

Look at other student’s sequences and try to answer these questions

  • What is the story?
  • What information is conveyed in each frame?
  • What information is necessary to understand the story?
  • What essential information has been left out and/or what is included unnecessarily?

As I can’t find many of the current students on this course at present I will analyse those of students who have completed the course.

First blog – Suzy

  • What is the story

The story is of Jack and the Beanstalk

  • What information is conveyed in each frame

Frame one it is clear that Jack is trading in his cow for some magic beans from a strange hooded figure.

Frame two, Jack is in serious trouble for selling the cow, the mother throws the beans out of the window. At a quick glance it looks like she is firing a gun as well.

Frame three. A giant beanstalk grows and Jack starts to climb. Size is shown in relation to the few trees and the tiny figure of Jack.

Frame four. A giant boot comes down almost crushing Jack who is fleeing to the top of the beanstalk. He is holding his stolen goods, the harp.

Frame five. The beanstalk is chopped down and the giant falls to his doom. Jack and his mother are celebrating with their ill-gotten gains.

  • What information is necessary to understand the story

As the story is one that is well known you only need the bare facts as shown here. I think this has been conveyed very successfully. I like the expressions of the characters and the trees size in relation to the beanstalk.

  • What essential information has been left out and/or what is included unnecessarily?

The golden goose has been left out but I think that would have confused things, just like I had to leave out Hansel and Gretel finding their way back to the house in the beginning. I also like the little decor of the house the little bird house and paintings 🙂

Second Blog – Emily 

  • What is the story?

The story is the fairytale, Cinderella.

  • What information is conveyed in each frame

Frame one, Cinderella is in rags while the ugly sisters (complete with moustache, a nice touch) hold up a giant invitation to the Royal Ball.

Frame two, The fairy godmother appears in a swirl of magic and turns Cinderellas rags to a dress in a flurry of stars.

Frame three. Cinderella is suddenly at the ball and dancing with the prince.

Frame four. Cinderella flees as the clock strikes midnight and the prince is left gaping after her, only a shoe to remember her by.

Frame five. The ugly sisters wallow in despair that their foot doesn’t fit the slipper yet in the background, Cinderella, back to rags and a broom, is the one as the prince puts the slipper on her foot.

  • What information is necessary to understand the story

I think this storyboard is successful in telling the story. I also like the use of colour.

  • What essential information has been left out and/or what is included unnecessarily?

I think the pumpkin is a very important part of the fairytale which perhaps could have been shown, even in just the distance. It wouldn’t have been possible to have a frame to itself though as there wasn’t anything you could leave out.

I also wonder how it would have been if in the final frame the ugly sister had been in the background allowing Cinderella to shine in the foreground? Just a thought but I thought this was executed very well.

I was then told to write my own story.Mountain Rescue

I considered several options and decided to tell a true story that happened to my Mum as a child. Her Dad loved mountain climbing and would always march off into the mountain leaving his children to scramble after him. One occasion they set off in the Pennines with his three young children (two for the sake of the storyboard) it started to snow and the children were crying with the cold. They sheltered in an old ruin and then their father took them to an old house nearby, the owners were out so he left his children in the garage while he went off on a long trek to get the car. The owners found them there but just left them, not even offering them a drink. Their father eventually returned, gave them some brandy and drove back home. That was just one of many dangerous adventures my Mum experienced.

Frame one, the trek up the mountain begins, the father marching ahead fizzing with determination. The children are already lagging behind.

Frame two. It starts to snow heavily. They climb the mountain in silhouette. The sign conveys the drama of the situation ‘England’s Highest point’

Frame three. The family shiver in the ruins of an old building while their Dad tries to discover the best way back to civilisation. The two children are huddled up against the fearsome weather.

Frame four. The children are left to shelter in a garage while the father tells them to ‘wait here’

Frame five, a bit of light humour. They are safe in the car and with the dangerous experience over the father plans their next mountain trip. The children roll their eyes in desperation.

Well that’s the first exercise completed and I look forward to starting the next bit tomorrow.