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noir to pretty princesses? that’s right

My cousin is planning on doing a children’s book and asked me to illustrate, so with Groom’s permission I’m doing some concept work for the book! I’m gonna be helping give ideas and input on the characters and story. The idea is that the book will be about a girl (or a trio of sisters) who finds a crown up in her attic and when she puts it on, it magically transports her to another world where she is the ruler. My cousin is hoping to make it a series, but we’ll worry about that if/when the first one gets published.

The first way she pitched it to me was with her three daughters staring as the main characters, with slightly exaggerated personalities to jazz it up a bit. The next option she came up with, which I think is kind of interesting, is that it would be about one foster child who uses the crown and her kingdom as a way to escape what’s going on around her. Then it could be marketed toward social workers to read to children. I decided to try out designs for the foster child and designs for the three of her daughters.

My first step was to gather inspiration! I created a pinterest board for character design where I could save color schemes and shapes that I liked. Then I made another board for background design, because I don’t have a whole lot of experience in that and it’s something I’ll be needing to do a lot of for a book

Follow Leanna’s board character design on Pinterest. Follow Leanna’s board background inspo on Pinterest.

And she came up with an idea for a scene where the girls would be in the attic playing dress up when they find the crown, so i made a stockpile some vintage clothes and prom dresses too. That idea might get scrapped, but I thought I’d make the board anyway.

Follow Leanna’s board vintage clothes on Pinterest.


So I tend to work best with a picture in my head, and that’s what I got to work on in class. I doodled a little idea during my note-taking. I wanted to give each girl a different shape, to give them distinct silhouettes.

Katie is the oldest, the leader. And she’s got a whole lot of spunk and a dramatic flare. She’s got a huge imagination and will be the curious one that finds the crown and puts it on. She also happens to be pretty stubborn. The oldest kid is always right. So I took that and made her out of square shapes to play on her stubbornness and stability.  Then I wanted her face to be rounded with a pointed chin to mimic a heart to show her as a kind person. She was the first one I worked on while I was kind of trying to figure how stylized and cartoony I wanted it to look. The first had a more realistic body type and then I tried it differently and I think I like the stylized one better. Also I think the legwarmers and ponytail add to her spunk, as do the sharper angles. The book character is probably between nine and seven years old. In real life she’s three years old, so she has a more developed personality and interests than the other two girls. She likes ballet so for her princess dress I made the skirt shorter and kinda poofed out like something a little dancer would wear. Then I gave her ballet slippers and the legwarmers in her normal design cause of the dancer thing. The other dress I have next to her is from an idea that I’m gonna scrap. They are supposed to find this princess crown while playing dress up in the attic, so I was thinking about making their princess dresses, variations of eighties prom dresses that they’d be playing in, but I don’t think it worked. I also came up with this idea that maybe she’d have a stuffed unicorn that came to life in the princess kingdom and acted as a royal vizier and guide to the girls as they go through this new world.

Nat is the middle child, the wedge. Shy, sweet, and affectionate. And the optimist of the group. Her character’s age is probably around five or six. I made her head  square shape to symbolize her stability. Then I made her figure a triangular shape from her dress, to emphasize her being the wedge between the other two sisters. She’ll be the quiet one between Katie’s loud opinions and Kimmi’s friendly energy. Her princess dress was tougher to come up with, but I noticed the perfect thing walking by the kid’s section at target. It looks fancy enough for a princess and still keeps the triangle shape that I wanted. I see her as an animal lover and one that’s very concerned with rules and the well being of others. She would get really upset if something bad would happen to someone else. And she would be the one of the three to first want to give the bad guy a second chance. Then I drew her a cat too in order to show right away that she is caring. I think that she and Katie might butt heads sometimes over little things. Katie might be more the type to go for the easy way to solve a problem, and Nat would worry more about what’s the morally right way to solve the issue.

Then there’s Kimmi! The little one. I drew her character to be maybe two or three, but in real life she’s just a baby, so I don’t have much personality to go off of other than that she smiles a lot. So I built up a silly, friendly, little girl. She’s made up of round shapes to emphasize her friendly nature. Then the tutu and rainboots, and the one little tooth show her goofy side. I thought about overalls, but the tutu just seemed more endearing. And I think I like the pigtail hairstyle from her princess outfit best.



Then I have some design possibilities for a foster child. It was just an idea my cousin threw out, but I wanted to run with it. I played with the colors a bit more and made her hair purple to be fun.  I gave her a slim figure to put more emphasis on her slouch. She would have low self esteem and use the princess world as an escape. Then her hair ends up giving her a diamond shaped head. I didn’t really have a reason behind that, I just wanted to play with shapes. Her princess dress is flowy and freeing to reflect how she would feel in the kingdom.


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video killed the radio star

Sometimes grandparents are shocked if you know anything about the past. In ‘A Christmas Story’ when Ralphie listens to ‘Little Orphan Annie’ on the radio, my grandma will point to the screen and point and ask my little brother if he knows what that is and “isn’t interesting that they had that instead of tv?” I guess it is, but things aren’t so different. We still have radio shows; they’re just called podcasts now and you can listen whenever you want. So I think I already have a basic knowledge about audio storytelling. Radio’s not dead, it’s just different.

After tweeting along with ds106radio the last night, I sat down today with my afternoon coffee to get reading about noir radio. For me I’m not sure that all this information is something that I’ll lean best by reading. I’ll understand it more, the more I hear and the more I play with sound in audacity. For the restored and old versions of the videos I did notice the difference in the way I felt bout them. The restored definitely gave off a sense of higher tension with the ticking noise that starts at the beginning, and seems to follow you through up until the boom. The city sounds just made the clip seem more alive. They were real people and it felt like a real city.

(comes in four days later) Also I’m dumb and forgot to post this  draft and left it sitting for days. oops!

find your peace

If snow falling made a sound, I would have included it in this. The assignment was to convey an emotion through sounds, and the emotion I chose was peace. I guess it’s not so much an emotion and more of a feeling, but I went with it anyway.  It starts off with ocean waves that fade away. Then a small bird chirping and a bubbling fountain. Then the wind blows and the wind chimes play.  Continue reading

I really hate to rush but..

Ew this week I ended up getting sick- twice! I was worried I wouldn’t have time to do everything, but I did!

Daily Creates:

And assignments:

I would have loved to put way more effort into this week. It’s just too bad I spent most of it immobile in bed. Then I ended up rushing around at the last minute to finish editing everything before the super bowl. Although I got it all done and probably wouldn’t have done anything much differently if I hadn’t been rushing, I would have enjoyed it a bit more and been less stressed if all my work hadn’t been pushed to the last couple days. But I still enjoyed the assignments nonetheless! I really liked the photo safari most of all; I think it would be fun to do something like that for a video. Maybe by taking short clips and editing them together to show some kind of adventure. And I loved digging through the visual assignment bank; there were so many cool projects to try! I’m also loving the open aspect of the class and getting to see people from outside our school commenting and working right along with us.

And now it’s on to audio week!

Out and About

And now it’s time for a photo safari! I went around campus, mainly around melchers, to find my pictures. The weather was perfectly cloudy and moody to set the tone; I’m just glad there wasn’t any rain! All the images were taken by me and edited in photoshop. Most of what I did was play around with the levels and curves, so nothing too drastic, but enough to make a difference (here’s a nifty little video I looked at to give me a refresher on using levels and curves) . I didn’t want to make them all black and white because I don’t feel like something has to be black and white to fit into noir. However, I did desaturate them pretty good so that they aren’t really colorful and cheery.

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Photography and All That Jazz

I’ve never been that into photography. I always leaned more toward design and drawing and creating my own thing rather than capturing an image. I think of all the info we were assigned to review that the video by Jason Eskenazi in the section of the ds106 handbook was the most eye opening and inspiring for me. I’d never thought about how a photographer might wait for everything to line up juuust right to get the perfect shot or how much thought actually goes into the composition and setup of a great photograph, not just being there at the right moment.

Usually when I take pictures it’s either to capture a memory or to be put to use in another project. I’ve uploaded two new albums to flickr. One album is of a day I went to a children’s special olympics event called little feet. Some of my favorite pictures were framed right, but they were out of focus or the other way around. If I had more experience with that camera and with photography they’d all be great. The other album is of some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken over the past year that hold sentimental value to me and show places I’ve been and memories I have.  And then I really wanted to share this one photo of my mixed media project I did last year in my graphic arts class:

download (6)

As I’m taking photos for this class I’ll be paying close attention to composition and design principles, and not just snapping away.

Cleo Barrow: Notorious Bank Thief

You know Bonnie and Clyde? What if it was Bonnie and Cleo instead?

Admittedly inspired by the Avicii music video here. But I’m gonna take it a couple decades later, so that they aren’t in the depression, but instead children of the depression. Here’s what I put for Cleo’s bio when I submitted the character dossier:

“Pretty much a female version of Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde fame. I’m gonna play around with the character some and try to not change the personality all that much, aside from making her more feminine, maybe more of a city person than Clyde and smoother with flirting and such. Still trying to decide what to do with Bonnie, but I guess I’ll figure her out later. But I do think Cleo’d call her kitten.”

To all who meet her, she’s the mysterious woman, but those who really know her she’s a jerk with a heart of gold. I also drew a picture of what she should look like, but I haven’t decided if I like it enough to put it on the internet yet :). But basically she’s tall, and has feminine curves, and wide hips. Plus dark hair, brown eyes, and a know-it-all smile. If this is going to be a character I’m working with all semester, then I am going to go way deep into her background and personal details. But that will take a whole lot of thought and I usually like to take a few weeks to get to know a character like that, so I will be sure to show how well-rounded a character she turns into in upcoming assignments. I have a whole page of ideas written down for her that could take her story in completely different ways, but I’ll wait until I get to know her better before I tell y’all my plans for this girl.

Also I made her a little soundcloud playlist to get me inspired. It’s not stuff from her era, but if she were kickin it in the present day I think she’d listen to this:

Further Readings in Noir Fiction

In this weeks further readings of noir fiction, I started off with “The Postman Always RIngs Twice.”

Our protagonist and antihero, Frank, stumbles into a restaurant and the desperate owner, Nick (called the Greek by Frank), hires him on the spot. Frank soon dives into an affair with Cora, the Greek’s wife and femme fatale of the story. She came to California expecting to be swept up in a life of glamour, but ended up poor and too embarrassed to go home. She married Nick, not for love, but to live comfortably. But with Frank she had love and passion. The two of them came up with a plan to kill the Greek and run the restaurant themselves, but their initial plan failed due to a blackout. They try again much later by getting Nick drunk and staging a car crash. In the end they avoid punishment and things seem to be working out, until they get in a real car accident and Cora dies. After the deaths of Cora and Nick, it makes Frank look too suspicious, and he’s sentenced to death. They got what was coming to them. I kind of hated both Cora and Frank as much as Leysa did.  I can see how the dark themes, crime, and dialogue style put it in the noir category, but I really don’t think it was good enough that it deserved to be in the modern library top 100 novels list.

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