time capsule, part 3

I’ll be honest, it was very hard to get work done this week. Whether in the days I was tense or in the days I felt relieved over the election, it seemed impossible to focus, let alone be creative. I wanted to work and distract myself, but it was a constant fight against my brain (“Psst, just refresh that tab one more time to see if Nevada got called“). It didn’t help that my sleep patterns were all over the place — on Wednesday I woke up some four times at night after dreaming about reds and blues switching around on the electoral map. All of this for an election I can’t vote on! Very fun.

Coming up with my narrative was the most straight-forward part. Jotting down words. In this part, I sort of cheated and allowed myself one more object — a USB drive, to explain the other objects. In my mind, I’d create a folder with my video from part 1 and a “read me” explaining the constellations in my box. So for the story to make sense, the future people interacting with my box would need a USB drive reader. I decided they should be some type of explorer and lovers of old media — people collecting artifacts from yore who may just have enough adaptors going back several decades to decode a USB drive.

Since this is such a strong passion of these characters, it made sense to me that they would find meaning in recreating my drinks, and would go out of their way to find the ingredients needed. I’m imagining a future that’s not a complete dystopia (it’s also definitely not utopic, though the U.S. does switch to metric in it), but maybe it’s a lot harder to come across coffee and tea if you don’t live in places that plant them. My explorers are within driving distance of Massachusetts, so coming across a South American tea leaf would be tough (and expensive). After searching for it, though, they bring everything to the closest location to Cape Cod — using some sea level projection maps, I found that may be deep into Massachusetts in the next century. For the last beats of the story, the explorers connect with my box by adding an object of their own, and examining the stars like I did.

Here are the spreads, followed by my written outline —

[some time passes]

I’ll be honest again, I’m not thrilled with the spread itself. I wanted to make it more comic book-y, show the characters themselves, have dialog in the panels, use creative panel shapes, and so on. But I’ve never been great at drawing entire scenes, so I need a lot of time and references (which also take time to find) to do them decently. (On a semi-related note, I feel like my 2017 laptop is starting to feel bogged down by its planned obsolescence, because working on it is slowly getting more and more cumbersome.) Without a lot of time, I limited myself to simple panels that are more of a storyboard than a comic spread. They’re setting the mood. Because my characters are collectors and their home/office/random space is full of clutter, I wanted the style to be a little messy too. The lines aren’t very straight, the painting is not very neat, etc. Without speech balloons, I gave each character a different color and font to help differentiate them, and give them a little bit of personality too. I think just by giving E2 a cool color and neater handwriting, they feel a little more poised, for example. I intentionally didn’t give them genders or names — I think the anonymity of that parallels how I would be anonymous to them too.

I’m not sure what I’d do differently. I had some cinematic shots in mind, but had a lot of trouble depicting them properly in drawing (see my wonky car, for example). If I were making this out of class, I’d either need something like a month to fully do this spread justice, or I’d commission an artist with more experience than me (maybe giving them detailed notes of how I envisioned the panels, which was fun).

To finish it off, here’s the timelapse of the drawing/painting process. I drew each layer on top of each other since they were going to be the same size, so that’s why they mysteriously disappear. The timelapse also cut before the end (Adobe Fresco still hasn’t fixed that glitch, I take it) but it still shows you enough of the process overall.