Crystal Carpenters: Creative Brief

Project Summary:

Crystal Carpenters is a web-based serial graphic novel which explores the implications of new technology on the future of art and artists. In the near future, a group of college students are selected to beta-test the first true virtual reality environment. In addition, these young men and women are given the tools with which to build more virtual worlds--from the inside out.

The comic itself will combine hand-drawn and computer-generated elements to show the interactions between the real and virtual worlds. Over time, I hope to develop a well-integrated comic/website combination which will entertain others, showcase my artistic talents for potential clients, and possibly become a money-making venture in and of itself.

Target Audience:

Crystal Carpenters' primary target audience consists of recreational web surfers who are looking for an original piece of entertainment. These individuals are fairly young, web-savvy, and consumers of a broad range of media, from prose fiction to video games. They may already be fans of comics and science fiction in other media, wondering if the Internet might provide something they haven't seen a thousand times before. Above all, this user is concerned not with information, but with entertainment.

A typical Crystal Carpenters reader would be a college freshman surfing the internet in her spare time. She was already fairly web-savvy before coming to college, and is taking full advantage of the high-speed internet access provided through the campus network. She sometimes uses the web for school research and for keeping in touch with friends, but mainly spends her web time looking for new ways to relieve the drudgery of school. Her bookmark list contains a decent-sized group of websites which she visits daily, and others that she checks up on occasionally to see if they've updated. She particularly likes "link of the day" websites which direct her to interesting bits of content from all over the web. Her mantra: Give me something new.


Original, fun, exciting, innovative, epic
Futuristic, stylish, haunting? dreamlike?
Intelligent science fiction/realistic fiction--AVOID "cyberpunk" connotations at all costs
Form/content integration

Communication Strategy:

My goal with the design of the site is to use the elements that best serve the story. With that in mind, I intend to use the "infinite canvas" strategy in designing the comic's layout. In such a layout, comics are not split into arbitrary "pages" as they would be for print, but are divided into whatever increments best suit the story. Crystal Carpenters will take advantage of the unique nature of web delivery to communicate the story in ways that would be impractical in print.

Competitive Positioning:

Other producers of webcomics will be both my colleagues and my competition for this project. There are literally thousands of web comics being published by amateur artists hoping to make money, gain popularity, or just express themselves. Most of these comics are mediocre at best, but a handful have managed to distinguish themselves through good writing, well-done artwork, or an original premise. Through my best efforts, my comic should feature all three. In addition, the unusual "infinite canvas" format of my comic should help distinguish it from more traditionally designed comics.

Single-Minded Message:

Innovation in art and story

Site content copyright © 2005 by Alycia Shedd unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.