Everyday, electric cars are sold to people looking for an alternative to gas-powered cars. Most electric car owners believe that they are doing a great service to the environment, and thus humanity as a whole. It is true that electric cars are better for the environment, but most people would be surprised by how little that difference is. Our problem was that electric car dealers were advertising their cars as an amazing way to save Earth. Electric cars are truthfully not that much better than gas cars. To address these misconceptions, we made a comic to educate the public.
Our comic takes the reader through the story of a man who wants to buy an electric car. He meets, quite unexpectedly, a car salesman who explains to him the truth about electric cars. The salesman also provides useful statistics and walks the man through the development process, from materials to final product. All information is arranged in an informative and intriguing, nine-page comic.
We started out by finding the statistics of emissions for the two types of cars. Throughout the research process, we decided to focus on strictly full battery-powered cars. We did not include hybrids because the data was not as sound. After narrowing down our research, we were able build a strong argument about why the customer was being fooled. After the data-gathering was completed, we moved onto our storyline. In order to have all of our facts represented in such few pages, we decided to have the electric car salesman, who took the role of our tour guide, be able to teleport. Writing the script for the characters was not complicated nor that time-consuming. It only took about half a day to create the script. The main challenge that we faced concerned drawing. Neither of us draws well, so we decided to trace all of our images. We used Photoshop to compile images and then printed them out to trace. Another challenge was character consistency. The images we used for the character varied heavily throughout the comic, so we had to come up with a lot of different identifiers.
In our first iteration, we drew everything as it was on Photoshop. We traced everything to the best of our abilities, but after looking over our drawings, we could not tell which characters were which. The character consistency was non-existent. Although the characters were not correct, we were happy with the backgrounds and actions of the characters. We had spent a lot of time planning all of the movements and gestures on Photoshop and paper. We also felt that our dialogue would be able to clear up the confusion of identity. Overall, we had a strong first draft that was ready to be improved upon after review.
In our second iteration, we came up with several ideas on how to identify the different characters. We tried drawing a logo and words on one of the character’s shirt, and it worked. Using this technique, the reader would be able to connect the dots using dialog and visual cues, even if the character did not look like his previous self. A good example of these visual identifiers is on page seven of the comic. Originally, the car salesman was just wearing a plain white, collared shirt. At first we thought that the shirt would be enough to distinguish the character. After further thought, we added the “CARS” logo to his shirt. This way, the reader could make the connection, even if he looked different in the next panel.
In our third iteration, we created more character clues. We decided that it was unclear who the “guy from the dealership” (the man showing the potential electric car buyer the truth) was. This is why we wrote “Tesla” on the side of his pants. In the comic, the man is from a Tesla dealership. We concluded that this was not necessarily a visually appealing design decision, but it was one that need to be done. This change assured us that the reader would not get confused about which character was which, even if they looked different.
After all of the major changes had been completed on paper, we scanned the pages onto our computer and perfected them in Photoshop. Our last step was to make sure all of the text fit in the panels and were not blocking anything important. This took some time, but when we finally got it, the comic was complete.