- Larger scale or “more real estate” as Marina put it. We should think outside the limits of our original Photoshop file that was projected on a screen and think more in terms of a large-format high resolution printed work. This would allow for more space to show the context and habitat that each of the animals inhabit. It would also allow us to depict more than one version of each of the animals, doing different things at different points in time, like a medieval painting or tapestry that shows the same characters at different points in time in the same frame. In a way, we already did this with Jill’s character, the Swallow, which is only one character, but shows up many times in the scroll graphic. With more room, we could do this with the other characters.
- Better integration of the narrative story with the graphic work. More space and larger scale would definitely make this easier to pull off. Or perhaps several different panels. Instead of producing a taxonomy diagram like other groups, we decided to express the relationship of the four characters in the narrative, but we could perhaps integrate more elements of the story into the actual graphic.
- We wrote the story AFTER we made the Photoshop piece. Perhaps we should have done things the other way around…
For this week’s assignment in Animals, People, and Those in Between, I worked with Jill Haefele, Jelani John, and Marco Castro on an ecosystem and story for the spirit animals we each created earlier in the semester. (Refer to Monktopus Octokey, Monktopus Octokey Character Studies, and First Attempt at ActionScript Animation).
Here is the story we came up with for our characters:
My character’s name is Monktopus Octokey, so I just changed that in the story:
Somewhere after the beginning of things and well before the end of things, Polar Dragon Bear, Monktopus Octokey, Monkey Spider and Swallow arrived. No one remembers how, but that is unimportant. It’s a quiet place, and everyone minds their business… more or less.
From the start Polar Dragon Bear liked to travel, bringing home odd things he found discarded. That’s where he got his wings when he was young. Many of the things he brings are left behind and apparently they have a market because when he returns most of them are gone. His most precious treasures are kept in his cave. He hasn’t found a princess, to keep captive in the cave yet. The fire-breathing he learned traveling with a circus of Geek Geese. Every time he lands all the leaves on the tree fall off making the fruit get all the sunlight they can get and the stomping makes the ground shake, giving the tree more air.
Even back then, Monktopus Octokey loved cooking. He’s usually busy down in the ocean making sushi for himself and his 8 arms.
Swallow was born in a lab but now she can’t find her way back. She is of the air and spends most of her time in the tree. She is very curious about the other animals and she likes to watch them from the safety of her tree. She considers them to be friends and sometimes she will drop fruits on them as a gesture of goodwill. But she knows that they would probably eat her too if she got too close. Such is life. Sometimes when they are away or sleeping she wanders through their homes and borrows small trinkets to hang in her tree. Polar Dragon Bear has the best trinkets. Spider monkey has strong string for hanging them. She uses Monktopus Octokey’s knives to cut little pieces of string from spider monkey’s web when she needs them. It doesn’t seem like any of them have noticed yet.
Monkey Spider is the most elusive of the four. He is fond of playing tricks and is very difficult to catch hold of (unless he wants to see you). Often, one can only see a trace of web to mark where he has been. When he delights in surprising whoever he shows himself to. No one really know why he has such a flip nature, but his tricks are rarely malicious. He has an odd sense of justice. If he thinks a fight is unfair he will always try to help out the underdog. But if the balance changes, he may end up switching sides.
Polar Dragon Bear’s one failing is that he finds it difficult to interact with the other animals in his kingdom. He sometimes catches a word or a plus with Bird in the tree. The branches are too thin and won’t hold his weight when he tries to hang out. He’s still trying to find a way to stay afloat without getting too tired too soon. Monktopus Octokey sometimes pops his head out of the water to chat, most often with Polar Dragon Bear, who can swim as well. Monkey Spider avoids water but he’ll stand at the water’s edge sometimes or climb the tree. He’s very whimsical in whom he talks to and why. Sometimes he’ll just sit in spider form and watch life go by.
Monktopus Octokey gives his sushi to whoever will eat it. The chopped heads cry out that it is quite good. Monkey Spider will eat, Bird will eat, but Polar Dragon Bear can never believe in what a talking chopped head has to say, until he actually tried the sushi that Monktopus Octokey prepared. it was delicious.
The climate is mild but Polar Dragon Bear is always comfortable. If it’s too cold he breathes fire. If it’s too hot his wings make wind. When he needs to, he hibernates. Monkey Spider sometimes makes clothes for himself and wears them, but it’s never because he is too hot or cold. He just likes the look of a dashing fedora, suspenders and pin-striped trousers
And here is a graphical representation of our ecosystem: