Vis Comm students at Ivy Tech write, illustrate graphic novel

Welcome back to Green Light! We’ll continue publishing on Fridays during the summer. Here to kick off the semester, meet the Marketing and Communications work study, Crystal.

Hi, there. My name is Crystal Monhollen, and I am a student and an employee at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast. For fun I attend a club named Ivy Art Society. It’s a great place to be surrounded by friends and build relationships with my peers.

CrystalIvy Art Society is full of Visual Communication majors who take pride in taking on special projects, and this year, we took on our biggest project yet: a comic novel called “Finding Ivy.” It tells a series of stories based in the fictional city Atropolis that literally had money that grew on trees and, best yet, machines that helped people with their work. Unfortunately, people took stuff for granted; the machines turned on them, and the city began to crumble. There were legends told of a small Ivy seed that, if planted, would restore Atropolis to its formal glory. So as this story unfolds, it’s about those who stepped up to re-learn how to control the machines and find the Ivy seed.

The cover of "Finding Ivy"


The real story, though, is the students who made “Finding Ivy” come alive—students like Kaila Shoemaker, who is the author of “Finding Ivy.” Shoemaker said the first step of the process for “Finding Ivy” was planning. She had to create characters, their names, and a storyline. The second step was writing and determining who would pen the story. Shoemaker and the Ivy Art Society worked with the Marketing and Communications office, and Shoemaker based the characters in “Finding Ivy” off some of the office’s employees.

Kaila's bio and illustrated headshot ran in the back of the graphic novel, along with the other students' who worked on "Finding Ivy."

Kaila’s bio and illustrated head shot ran in the back of the graphic novel, along with the other students’ who worked on “Finding Ivy.”

When she completed the story, she pitched the comic to the Ivy Art Society. After the artwork came together and the story evolved, it was time to edit and proofread. I personally had a part in editing the artwork by making a building appear extremely eerie, which was awesome. The panel I edited showed a building that looked brand new. Because Atropolis was so damaged and run down, the building needed to look as if it was part of a barren wasteland. I added broken windows and cracks on the walls and gave it a duller color scheme.

This is the panel I worked on to make more run-down and dilapidated.

This is the panel I worked on to make more run-down and dilapidated.

The final question was, how does “Finding Ivy” get revealed? We found our perfect answer in a comic convention, Appleseed Comic Con, because it’s an awesome nerd fest where comic books, arts, movies, and games are revealed. It’s also a fun excuse to dress up in your favorite comic character and find your inner nerd. So Ivy Tech planned ahead and passed out “Finding Ivy” at the Appleseed Comic Con to the community for free.

Joey Avila, a Vis Com student who illustrated five pages of the comic--including the cover--mans the table at Appleseed with Kaila.

Joey Avila, a Vis Com student who illustrated five pages of the comic–including the cover–mans the table at Appleseed with Kaila.

I hope Ivy Tech plans to do it again next year because attending comic con was such a success. Plus it was so cool to see all the different types of comic artist, costumes, and happy faces. So please, if you’ve never gone to a comic convention, put it on your to-do list.

If I’m given the opportunity to help with the comic again, I would definitely try to be more involved. The Ivy Art Society is only one year old, and this comic kind of became “our thing.” We did a lot of trial and error, and we learned a lot from it.

Now tell me: If we do another graphic novel next year, what would we write about?