Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hype, Crook & Lyric

As we near the end of the semester, the 'bomb' was dropped on us as Ms Chiang unveiled our final project. This time round, it is a group work and we are tasked to come up with either a childrens' storybook or a comic strip. Lucky for me, I managed to find people to work with relatively easily and we sat down to talk about what we want to do. All of us wanted to do a children storybook. Main reason being it is something we are more familiar with.

So the theme was set as 'hype, crook & lyric' (HCL) and for a moment, we thought that we can only write something like a 'cops & robbers' story because of the word crook. But Ms Chiang went on to decribe it as story peak, twist and storyline. This suited us as it would mean that we are not limited in our content. 'HCL' then is the structure of our story.

We came up with various stories and morals behind those stories. At one point of time, we were rather lost as to what we want. But looking through past years' works, it shedded some light and we went with a story line that is first sad, then sadder, then TWIST and ending it with a happy scene.

Story of An Ant, Alex and the NUT.

We came up with pretty rough sketches according to our very brief storyline.


A little ant Alex set out one day looking for food. He saw a nut lying in his way. Eager to bring it home, he rushed to it and lifted with all his might. But the nut fell heavily on him, trapping his body. He shouted but no one came to help him. 2 little ants came by but left after whispering to each other. Rain started to fall and Alex felt hopeless. Little did he know that the 2 ants actually went to call for help! So they came back and under the rain, all of them managed to bring the nut back home. Moral: Teamwork & value of friendship

So anyway, we presented that to class and our classmates gave us quite a few constructive comments.

Comments given in class:

1. There could be more improvements in terms of storyline. Add in one or two more conflicts.

2. It is not logical that the ant friends whispered and not going ahead to help Alex.

3. The nut (?) does not resemble a nut.

Actions taken:

1. We added one more clause on Alex meeting a dog. This added to the effect of making Alex seemed even more ‘sad’.

2. To make it more logical that why the ants did not help Alex, the presence of the dog has served this purpose.

3. After much deliberation, we decided on the iconic acorn as it is used rather frequently in children’s books. It is also easily recognizable as an acorn.

We improved on it and our final (graphical) product is all done now (14.04.09). We went on to choose our fonts and whatnots, explored the various layouts of our book. For fonts, we browsed through more than 200 fonts from mainly and 1001fonts. We placed it in our first scene to see how it looks like and our final choice is CANDY RANDY. Just because it does not overwhelm our character and also, it is playful and fanciful enough for the kids. It is, in my opinion, a fun looking font.

Our group also looked into the possibilities of including interactive activities at the end of our book. These include coloring pages, mazes and simple fill in the blanks questions (since some words we used are quite difficult). In the end, we decided to include a glossary page for the difficult words and also include a games page. We felt that coloring pages and mazes are usually a one time thing and the kid can only play it once. Our games page is a combination of ideas from monopoly and snakes and ladders. This allows the kid to play with his family and friends and thus foster relationships at the same time. He/she can play it multiple times too.

Now, as we near the submission deadline for the project, our storybook is already printed and we are proud of it! (:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Chiang and fellow tutors for constantly giving us encouragement and ideas through out this module. This is by far one of the best modules I enjoyed. Although the workload is pretty heavy, my heart is always swelled with pride upon completion of each assignment. Once again, thank you!