The Production phase built on all the research, analysis and design that had happened earlier in the project and took approximately 3-months.

I used the storyboard to build a backlog of work items.

The work was tackled in chronological order, starting at the front of the book working forward. Each section or passage was designed using thumbnails for both page layout and composition.

Fig 1 – Example of thumbnailing ideas for page layout (2022)

These were then developed into artwork. The process was iterative.

At an early stage I set up a working version of the book in InDesign using the draft text and thumbnails as placeholders. This gave a good feel of the flow and pace of the story. Finished illustrations were inserted as they became available.

Set-up of InDesign for print, particularly working with bleed and gutters, was a technical challenge that was overcome through conversation with printers.

Frequently the visual design process led to changes to the structure or length of parts of the script. Sometimes better ways to structure content became apparent as pages were created. This led to a certain amount of waste, where finished artwork was rejected because it no longer worked with script revisions.

Text layout and formatting happened at the end of the process. The final draft was 52-pages (including front and back cover).

Fig 2 – Broken pages 4 and 5 (2023)
Fig 3 – Broken pages 14 and 15 (2023)
Fig 4 – Broken pages 20 and 21 (2023)
Fig 5 – Broken pages 34 and 35 (2023)

User testing

A draft was distributed for user testing with 4 different groups:

  1. WIP Comics – community of practice
  2. Critical friends
  3. OCA student meetups
  4. Friends, family, other contacts

A PDF of the book was shared via Google Docs and the link was either emailed or posted onto different social media platforms.

Key learnings from the testing included:

  • Users were drawn in and had an emotional response to the narrative.
  • The narrative arc created a sense of drama.
  • Use of WhatsApp messages worked well although there were a couple of pages where layout changes could improve readability.
  • The different visual approaches added to the reading experience.
  • The story ended too quickly, and additional pages/panels were required to improve the pacing.
  • The use of handwritten text for the captions could provide more of a contrast with the WhatsApp messages.
  • Some of the text layout needed to be tightened up.
  • Two people asked whether they could share a draft of the book.

After making amendments based on learning from user testing, a final print-ready version was produced.

The print and distribution of the book is in scope for the final OCA assignment, PART 5 Your exhibition.


List of illustrations

Figure 1 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Example of thumbnailing ideas for page layout In possession of: the author

Figure 2 – Hadfield, Hugh (2023) Broken pages 4 and 5 In possession of: the author

Figure 3 – Hadfield, Hugh (2023) Broken pages 14 and 15 In possession of: the author

Figure 4 – Hadfield, Hugh (2023) Broken pages 20 and 21 In possession of: the author

Figure 5 – Hadfield, Hugh (2023) Broken pages 34 and 35 In possession of: the author

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