Tuesday, March 31, 2009

VisCom: Paper graph

The paper prototype. There are two main topics- History and Entertainment. Within history and entertainment, the mini-topics are divided into vertical columns. At the top is the title of the mini-topic, below that are the icons. The icons represent something about the mini-topic. The Saw represents danger, the handcuffs represent an escape artist act, etc. 
 This is the key that illustrates what each icon is representing in the paper graph. 
This illustrates how the icons will appear, as well as shows examples of how each icon relates to each mini-topic. 
This image shows how ideas will be connected. The lines leading from history represent each mini-topic in it's relation to history. From there, each mini-topic relates to several other mini-topics and those are shown with color coded lines. 

It is my goal to make things as clear as possible. I want to make sure each topic is represented clearly and that each relationship is also show. 

I felt like history and entertainment were the two most relevant topics to my original icon set. History- My icons were meant to portray the serious side of a Magic Act and my original color pallet meant to show the aged qualities, hinting at the past of magic. Entertainment- should speak for itself. Magicians preform for audiences. Books have been written about magicians and magic acts (another source of entertainment), circuses (which also use trained animals for an audience as a source of entertainment) is also related. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

VisCom: Poster Titles

Possible Titles for my visual graph thing. 

Magic Act: A History of Entertainment

Magic Act: A Historical Entertainment

Magic Act: History of the Entertainment World

Magic Act: Entertainment Through History

Magic Act: The Parts and Pieces

Magic Act: From Start to Finish

Magic Act: Dark to Light

Magic Act: A History of Performance

Magic Act: Performance Through History

Magic Act: From Witches to Wizards

Magic Act: Save your Soul

Magic Act: Man and Animal in Entertainment

Magic Act: The Stage is Open

Magic Act: Entertainment With a Past

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Viscom: Final Icons with Color

This is the last icon set that I showed in class in One, Two, and Three color. We decided that the circle seemed to crowd some of the icons and I have since then enlarged the circles, freeing up some of the objects.

This set includes the larger circles. In the two color set, I introduced a new (solid) shape. The inside of the rabbits ear went from an outline to a filled shape for example. We thought the hat looked like it needed a new shape all together and when I tried to fill the "inside" of the hat, it only looked strange. I'm quite happy with how it ended up looking- there is not a new shape, simply a filled color shape as in the handcuffs so I think there is still a level of consistency. We also thought the extreme left placement of the blade icon inside the circle looked strange so I tried to center it a bit more without it becoming too right-hand heavy. It may still need a bit more but I would like some feedback.

The color pallet that I ended up using came from an image of my book that was the visual research for Handcuffs. I felt these colors represented a serious, professional quality and also hinted at the ancient/aged qualities of the history of magic. It's not all David Copperfield. It's not even Houdini. My research has now gone back as far as the Salem Witch Trials (which has it's relevance, though magic does go back as far as ancient Egyptians and further). 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gather Kids, I have a story or two to tell

Little Brother

Falling down the stairs was the best thing that could have happened to Nick before he was three years old. Mom had been working on laundry. Back then the washer and dryer were in a room in the basement in our old house. Nick and I were playing downstairs so she could keep an eye on us, but yet another load was dry and she decided to take them upstairs. I, being the eager-to-help daughter that I was, rushed up the stairs with her.
"Stay down here for just a second Nick," she said, "I'll be right back." We were upstairs for less that two minutes before I heard him screaming. 
"Mom, there's something wrong with Nick, he's crying." She had heard it too, and was already rushing back to the top of the stairs. He was holding his head in both hands. His face was red, and yet he seemed pale. His body was so small that his tears made him look even more fragile than the average three-year old. Screaming. I had never heard a more terrifying noise come from my baby brother, and to this day I have never heard anything that could match it. Thinking about it now makes me realize how much those cries haunt me. 
She flew down the stairs at a reckless speed, but luckily she didn't end up in a heap next to him on the basement floor. She scooped him up carefully and we took him straight to the emergency room.
Without the x-rays that followed over the next several hours, the doctors may never have found the cyst that had been growing in his brain, probably since birth. Hydrocephalus, meaning "water on the brain," is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid collects in the ventricles of the brain. Huge amounts of pressure had been building in his tiny head until a surgeon went in and connected a straw-like shunt from the sac of fluid to his stomach.  
Before the age of five, he had had five complicated brain surgeries. I only remember bits and pieces from each. Every time mom told him he had to go back to the hospital, he cried. It pained us both to see his tears, but it couldn't be helped. I think it was number four of the five, but I remember him when his face was swollen so badly he couldn't open his eyes. Another when he was forced to lay on his stomach, crying softly because the spinal tap hurt so bad...  Maybe it was right after the fifth when we had to pull him around in a wagon, head still bandaged, for Halloween. 
Years later I learned more details than I ever wanted to know. Dad came so close to kidnapping him from the hospital. He didn't want to see his little boy put though that ring of hell anymore than the rest of us did. 
I remember the smell of the hospital. That disgusting astringent that always clings to your clothes after visiting. I guess it was good he was so young. Maybe these thoughts don't plague him the way they plague me. The only issue he seems to have is the ban my mom has put against him shaving his head in the summertime. 


Always, it seems, that I am in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Before I could understand what was happening,
cannibals took me by the hand, and lead me to the table.
Dinner was served.
Everyone smiled at me, waiting for me to take the 
first bite. I looked at the plates neighboring my own.
Generous helpings for all.
Heaving at the thought of the mystery meat before me,
I swallowed a chunk, trying to taste it as little as possible.
Juices slid down my chin.

Killing chickens is unnecessary once someone dies of mysterious ailments. 
Lunch, I wondered, who did they have for lunch? 
Mentioning the run away from next door is a bad idea.
Never ask what happened to Uncle Dan.

Opting out of seconds, I excused myself and headed for the bathroom.
Puking in the toilet never felt so wonderful in my entire life.
Queer bits of brown and red fell from my lips as I evacuated my stomach. 
Running from the house, screaming like holy hell, would have been too embarrassing,
so I proceeded one step at a time, until freedom was mine and fresh air filled my lungs.
Tranquility was never my strong suit, but I fought for it like a madman. 

Unusual smells came from the sewer. I didn't mind.
Variance in thought was all that mattered. 

When I failed to return to the house, the 
youngest of my hosts,
Zane, was his name, came to my side, and asked me if I was ready for dessert. 

Mockery in a Headache

I had seen the unicorn sitting in the first row of the otherwise empty theater seats before my scene came up. The other kids proceeded though the rehearsal as if he wasn't there, and for all I know maybe he wasn't, but there he sat. His black tuxedo clashed against the brilliant white shimmer of his coat, and the top hat on his head hid the rainbow mane that I knew trailed from between his pointed ears down the center of his sloped back. I would have laughed at the monocle stationed over one cloud-colored eye if I hadn't known why he wore it so haughtily. 
His hind legs were folded awkwardly, one knee over the other. The tips of his front hooves were poised together in the typical stance of a chastising adult. He tried to make fun of mankind the way he thought I mocked the glory of unicorns. The white sweatsuit that encased my body left me sweat-slicked and itchy. The rainbow yarn stitched to my back was a swaying reminder of my resonating insolence. 
A singular shove from behind landed me in the spotlight. I kept trying to tell myself that all I had to do was skip over the wooden rainbow, prance through the cellophane river, and collect the red wax apples from the other side of the cardboard forest. Rainbow, river, forest. A fifty-foot trek through hell. 
I could feel the unicorn's eyes burning through the back of my sweatshirt. His gaze was boring it's way through me as I progressed one echoing step after another. Where were the business suit clad ferries? Where the fuck was the high heel wearing lawn gnome? Why was I the only one being tormented? 
With an apple gripped firmly in each hand, I dreaded what was to come next.  I stood like a deer caught in the blaze of steadily approaching headlights. Please god don't make me say it. Huge horse teeth caught a reflection of the stage lights as the unicorn smiled at me. No, it wasn't a smile at all. The beast leered at me. Someone started screaming. I looked around to see who I needed to tell to shut up before realizing the piteous wailing was coming from me. 
Concerned faces swam above me. I lay on the stage floor, staring up. I knew I had passed out before the first blurry figure stated as much. I'm lying on the floor after being mentally assaulted by a tux wearing unicorn, do you really think I need you to tell me that my six-year-old brain couldn't take the abuse any longer and finally offered me some peace by shutting down? Nu-uh. Didn't think so. 
By the time I got to my feet, the unicorn was gone. He knew he had won. I'd never say the line I had rehearsed for the last 6 weeks in the sanctity of my bedroom. Maybe I would overcome my fear of public speaking for the Christmas play. Bless us. Everyone... Then again, maybe not.

Viscom: Archive Awareness

I chose this image for it's color scheme. This isn't a friendly image, the colors make it seem ominous with the potential for danger and disaster. I have dark blues and purples along with a red in my color pallet and the ominous/potential for disaster ideas are something I tried to portray in my work.
 I chose this image for the colors used as well. There is a sense of delicacy and elegance. An old-time/ancient feel is something I was going for in my own icons with the same beige-ish colors, hinting at the history of magic and magicians.
This image was chosen for the same reasons as the last, an antique-ish color pallet hinting at elegance and age.
I found there to be similar colors in this work as in my own, however these colors together have more of a retro 60's party feel and that is something I need to avoid.
The circles relate to my work and I think this is a good contrast to my icon set. These are very playful and the colors are very bright and vibrant almost in a way that hints at a childlike quality. My colors are much more muted and my icons have a greater sense of control and seriousness, vanquishing the thought of silly, childlike icons. 
Carly found this one for me, glove in a circle, Harry Houdini- this piece screams magic. I love these colors. I wonder if it's too late for me to change my pallet...
How could I possibly pass up a chance to put something Tim Burton related on my page? These are similar colors to my icon system, muted, hinting at seriousness, and also at delicacy. There is more than what meets the eye.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Revamped revamped VISCOM color pallet

The first three rows make up the color pallet I've decided to go with. Individual color connotations and connotations brought about with the whole system work a lot better with my idea of a magic act than the other two sets. The First row felt cold, clean serious and professional (my magic act is not a birthday party, thanks Jamie :) ). The Second row felt "magical" and clean. The Third row felt hot, dangerous, sharp, and painful (the potential for disaster is present in any act, especially in one in which blades or tigers are used). All together it was said to feel theatrical, serious and dramatic. 

The other sets ended up feeling too outdoorsy and I really felt like I needed to concentrate on the "theatrical, serious and dramatic" aspects. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

VisCom: Color Pallet (Revised)

This is the color pallet I have developed for my Magic Act icon set. I took three pages from my original book, Cards, Tiger, and Handcuffs, and chose two sections from each page to grab color from. The first column is the original color taken directly from the images, the second is the lighter version of the original hue and the third is the dark version. I'm pretty intrigued by the dark set. We will see where this leads I suppose.