One of the first digital storytelling projects is a to use 4-7 images to tell a story. I allowed students to either use images without words or with some text, like a comic strip. The exercise is to be relatively simple, but to work on using images more than text to convey the story. How do you show emotion, the obstacle and the resolution, or tension in images? How can you create a connection to the characters? How do you do this without words? The goal is to get a complete story down to the basic or only the necessary details.
My first attempt was a comic style. I wanted to try out Pixton, an online site that helps you make comic strips. It has a 15-day free trial and variable pricing for business or education situations. Since I used the free trial I could not embed my story or download it. I did, however, get a screenshot of it, and if you can’t see it well here in my blog, go view it in Pixton here.
The process is relatively simple. There are multiple templates to use, or you can start “blank” and add things as you go along. Getting a setting and changing a setting comes from a long list of scenes, both inside and out, and changing settings is simple. Characters are limited. You can adjust their poses and facial expressions by clicking on them then on the pose or expression you want. The dialog bubbles are attached to the character, and if you move the character too much you tend to lose the “link.” I also could not find how to make it a “thought bubble” instead of dialogue – and the dog should be “thinking” instead of “talking.” Instead of wasting time, I just went with a talking dog.
One other missing piece is the dog treat that she gives. I did not know how (or if it is possible) to add a prop or item like that. All I had was the background or setting, the characters and the talk bubble – Oh, and I could not delete a talk bubble, so I guess the characters have to say something in every frame.
it’s an example – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Perhaps I simply rushed too much. If I took more time exploring the tool I may have found solutions to my difficulties with thought bubbles and props. Nevertheless, it is an excellent example. That sounds like a great excuse, but it really is part of my thought process for this blog overall. Nothing here is considered “perfect” but is considered something learned and then shared.
Overall, I don’t recommend cartoons or Pixton for the storytelling I’m considering even though on their website you can find testimonials from teachers about how wonderfully it fit into their students’ educational experience.
. . . (to be continued)