Thursday, 14 November 2013

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel Behind the Scenes

In this blog we'll talk a little bit about the creation of the Time To Shine: Graphic Novel, which we produced for Creative Scotland. We were approached by Creative Scotland well over a year ago, and were asked to place a bid, for the work of creating a graphic novel which would support Scotland's new arts strategy for ages 0-25.
Cover spread for Time To Shine: Graphic Novel

The idea was to produce an entertaining and accessible story which would appeal to a wide range of ages and backgrounds, a story to inspire young people to get involved in the arts and a story that supported and underlined the key themes of the strategy itself.

First we read hundreds of pages of documentation, research carried out by Creative Scotland with young people and adults, and the strategy document as it continued to evolve. We digested and condensed all this material into a story.

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel research material
John wrote a script - we discussed and developed the story together while walking around the park while John was writing the script. From this, Sandra created pages of layout. The layouts had to be approved before we could get started on the actual finished artwork. We also attended focus group meetings with young people at Young Scot, where we discussed the story and received feedback, particularly on the dialogue. We were pleased and encouraged that the young people liked what we'd written and drawn.

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel script and layout

Sandra also drew some thumbnails at various stages to work out how best to tell the story. We had a limited amount of pages to fit everything into, and also a very limited amount of time to complete the final artwork - 64 pages in under 4 months from planning to finished pages!

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel thumbnails
Here are a couple of page extracts from the graphic novel.

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel page extract
Time To Shine: Graphic Novel page extract
We also had fun with the design of the book and tried to incorporate and represent as many different artforms as possible. These are peppered throughout the story, but also in the actual design of the book. See if you recognise the artists and artforms we referred to in the following spreads.

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel inside spread
Time To Shine: Graphic Novel inside spread

Friday, 8 November 2013

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel

We're delighted to be able to share the news of our commission to produce a graphic novel, by Creative Scotland. This morning saw the launch of Time To Shine: Scotland's first youth arts strategy.

Time To Shine: Graphic Novel is a part of the strategy along with an animation produced by The Gates Film and The World of Arthur Cox. You can view this animation, along with more information about the strategy on:

Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop stated she hoped the strategy would "enrich young people's lives through the arts and creativity."

We were originally commissioned over a year ago to produce a work of graphic fiction which would inspire young people and encourage involvement in the arts. The story had to encompass the key themes of the strategy.

The challenge was to create something which would appeal to children of all ages, and we also wanted the story to stand on its own as a good read -  something entertaining! Our task was made easier by the fact that the subject - the arts - is something we have felt passionately about all our lives. We drew inspiration from the many graphic novel workshops and talks we do in schools, and were also advised by young people from Young Scot and Creative Scotland.

Page extract from Time To Shine: Graphic Novel

It is a story of transformation, in which the arts empower people. We also raised questions such as what is art? and, can you make a living from the arts?

Sam is 14 and he likes all the usual things any teenage boy does… football, music, girls… and avoiding Declan and his gang! He likes to ‘parp’ a bit on his trumpet but it’s his sister who’s the talented one. Jen is 17 and plays guitar in an all-girl band. When their school organises a talent show, Jen’s band are favourites but a last minute hitch means the keyboard player can’t play, so how will the day be saved!?

This original story forms part of Scotland’s arts strategy for ages 0-25 and captures the spirit and energy of young people and looks at the world of arts through their eyes. The arts have the ability to inspire individuals and have a positive impact on communities. Time To Shine: Graphic Novel looks at what barriers may stop engagement in the arts and its positive benefits by exploring three key themes: Let me in!, Help me shine!, Take me there! If you would like to find out more visit:

Page extract from Time To Shine: Graphic Novel

Here is the online version of Time To Shine: Graphic Novel.

We are honoured to have been a small part of this exciting strategy, and will be posting more soon, with extracts and a bit more behind the scenes information.