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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

BRIANNA CRISWELL

OVER THE RIVER

Senior Project APRIL 2017

“I think that’s what makes writing so rewarding; to create that connection, that “Oh, I know that feel,” moment, and to make both myself and that reader feel less alone in their experiences and emotions.”

~ Lucy Knisley (2016)


Stories are an essential part of our lives, like watching movies and television shows. Playing video games. Reading books. I have always loved seeing how we can tell a story through visuals, how they can inform and enhance a story. This project began with me looking to the works of other artists who used their skill and ability to tell the story of their life, or even the lives of others around them. The old turn-of-phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” is an easy summation of how art has become so intertwined into storytelling. Comics in particular are of interest to me; they combine the work of both image and word so that one cannot exist without the other to tell the story to it’s fullest extent. Many well known characters and stories ha
ve been put into the pages of comic books, and despite its status as a relatively new art it’s hard to imagine our lives without them.


The comic book combines the two greatest loves of my life, literature and art, and was the obvious focus for my senior project. I lost my grandmother last year, a woman who played an essential part in shaping me as a person. I began researching her stories, who she was when she was younger, and who she was to me. She stood by me and helped to lead me through some of the toughest points of my life. Losing her hurt badly, so when given the chance I decided I wanted to share these stories myself, starting with one that has always stuck in my head. In this story my grandmother and her sister were little kids, playing in the woods and winding up on an adventure that neither of them had really expected having. My grandmother Oleta and her sister Vivien grew up in a small town in Mississippi in the 1930s and 40s, and I always enjoyed her childhood memories. Thinking of this story makes her feel closer to me, a happy memory that I can look back on to bring some joy in dark times, and that same memory is one that I have chosen to share with others through this project.


I started with research on the time and place of this story and began to piece together how it would look, how it would feel, and what needed to be made clear to the viewer. I studied my materials and my tools, playing with different colors of paper as well as inks, pencils, and markers to see what gave the results that I found told the story the most effectively. I took the story and planned it out, writing a script, drawing out storyboards, and creating thumbnails for each page to figure out how I wanted to compose the panels and how they would read on the page. It was after all this work that I began to actually make the pages themselves, sketching each one in pencil before inking them, and adding shading using markers. Building in the text was the last stage in the development process to incorporate the story with the images. Finally, I scanned the pages into Adobe Photoshop where I worked on editing and experimented with filters to make the images look their clearest and their best before printing.