Back to my original dilemma. Christina is a fantastic artist with amazing skills in multiple art formats. She's done lots of traditional acrylic paintings and frankly I'm jealous of her 2D tooning skills. In our process she'll use the photographic reference and paint the artwork. In this project she will largely be using colored pencils and Copic markers. Her results are beautiful.
The challenge here is that we want to deliver a graphic novel art style. What we want is simplistic details and highly expressive faces in the language cues of a beautiful graphic novel. For this process we explore different art styles and dial back the details. To be honest this is one of the most difficult parts for me because I love resolution and I love Christina's traditional art. But we finally find our desired graphic novel art style and we are off to the races. Only six hundred or so more of these to design and paint!
The Maywood Location
We have found our Maywood House Location! We drove up to Breckenridge the other day to check out several potential Victorian house museums (turns out that Breckenridge, Colorado was a hub of Victorian society, back in the day--who knew?) and we were delighted with the "William Briggle House" for Emily's home where she lives with her father.
Even under a foot of snow, you can see the "Victorian bones" of this home's structure.
And the inside was just as delightful!
In L.M. Montgomery's story, Emily describes her Maywood home as looking a bit like a "big, brown, mushroom", so when the house is drawn, we might adjust the roof slightly to have a more mushroom-like appearance, but other than that minor change, we feel confident that this Victorian home will make a perfect art reference for the first 34 pages of the graphic novel.
Of course, this is just the first of many locations that we will be scouting and utilizing for the graphic novel. Even the Maywood location will require more art reference locales. For example, even though most of the action in Maywood takes place on the interior of the home, the outer scenery of Breckenridge is a far cry from Prince Edward Island in appearance, and anyone who has read any of Montgomery's works can vouch that the outer landscape of her beloved island was incredibly important to her stories. Yet, this location discovery is a good step forward and we can move on with preliminary background sketches right away.
What is a Cinemagraphic Novel?
Okay, to be fair I made up this train wreck of a descriptor... but I have a reason. Have you ever seen a cinemagraph? It's just a GIF file but with a fantastic little detail; one single element is in motion. It might be swaying hair, a moving reflection or a liquid eternally pouring as the GIF loops indefinitely.
These are the kinds of effects we intend to tastefully add to our digital graphic novel and the virtual reality experience. This is where we get our name for a graphic novel enhanced with cinemagraphs... cinemagraphic novel.
We've seen even more enhanced and animated comic experiences but they seemed overly done and seemed to detract from the main story. So this is where we landed. Not every cell will have a cinemagraphic effect. Instead, we will utilize a cinemagraphic effect at a rate of about one per page. We think you'll enjoy it!
Translating the Story
Deja Vu Dimensions has been busily ingesting the story of Emily of New Moon and translating it into storyboards to plan our virtual reality graphic novel. It's a little like how a director does a breakdown of a film script to account for locations, characters, costumes and the like.
This is also a period production which is set in the 1880's so we are all doing our homework in the development of the design bible. We're looking up hair styles, architecture, clothing, facial hair, social norms and more. It's just what it takes to be confident that we are serving the period and original work with honesty and authenticity. But there is also a point where the text we utilize from the original story goes through a slight modification for the audience that will be reading it.
We believe it is somewhat unique to present a graphic novel both for the web and for virtual reality. We'll be 3D scanning locations, casting reference actors, creating reference costumes and even possibly integrating the use of neural networks for depth prediction of imagery. It's quite a production and we can't wait to share it all with you. Christina Morrison is our head artist and she's doing a fantastic job.
The web delivery of the graphic novel will be freely available and updated as pages are completed, so be sure to bookmark it and follow along. The virtual reality graphic novel will be available for purchase for popular VR headsets. This blog will offer viewers a behind-the-pixels view of the production and development process. We are so excited to have you along for the ride. Enjoy!
Two artisans and tech professionals, Christina & Daniel Morrison bring you a new type of VR graphic novel experience.