#UltraVioletChallenge constrained comics exercise; turning an abstract comics into a figurative one.

#UltraVioletChallenge: “Making Sense of Signs (and Fragments)” in-class creative assignment (“Intro Comm” & “Visual Media Studies” courses developed by the Faculty of Communication Arts; Semiotics chapter); create a figurative comics based on an imposed abstract comics (duration: 90′). Based on a constrained comics exercise used at Pierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-lab.

BLURB!

“Brilliant – thanks for sharing!” Nick Sousanis (January 16, 2018; commenting the page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank), assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.

Imposed abstract comics page #UltraVioletChallenge
Imposed abstract comics page #UltraVioletChallenge

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Students from the Faculties/Departments of Architecture (INDA), Communication Design (CommDe), Language & Culture (BALAC), and Engineering (ISE) creating their #UltraViolet comics. August 23, 2018. Visual Media Studies course, INDA, Chulalonglorn University.  

SOME RESULTING NARRATIVES:

Absract 01 Fern Lukpear Oom Bank
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank, fresh.wo.men students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.
05 Arty Pin Darnis
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Arty, Pin & Darnis, junior students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.
01 Pim Fa Pat
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Pin, Fa & Pat, sophomore students at INDA, Chulalongkorn University.
03 Gap Yong
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Gap & Yong, junior students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.
04 Iced Deedee Fern Jam
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Iced, Deedee, Fern & Jam, junior students at INDA, Chulalongkorn University.
02 Uang New Wee
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by New, Uang and Wee, junior students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.
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Students from the Faculties/Departments of Architecture (INDA), Communication Design (CommDe), Language & Culture (BALAC), and Engineering (ISE) creating their #UltraViolet comics. August 23, 2018. Visual Media Studies course, INDA, Chulalonglorn University.  

BELOW: #UltraVioletChallenge final page by Thai cartoonist Supachai Jack Jirakoup

UltraViolet Supachai
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Thai cartoonist Supachai Jack Jirakoup

Classic Franco-Belgian Comics (II)

Some Franco-Belgian classic comics acquired at La Crypte Tonique (Brussels) to illustrate -materially- the two courses dedicated to the History of Franco-Belgian “bandes dessinées” at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. PS: Merci Philippe Capart!

Moustique 001
Cover of “Moustique” weekly magazine #1481 (Dupuis, BE, June 13, 1954).
Moustique 002
Page from “Blanc Casque'” by Jijé (BE, goo.gl/P3l4wh) as published in “Moustique” weekly magazine #1481 (Dupuis, BE, June 13, 1954). Based on the novel by Joseph Pirot.
Moustique 003
Page from “Lucky Luke et Phil Defer ‘Le Faucheux'” by Morris (BE) as published in “Moustique” weekly magazine #1481 (Dupuis, BE, June 13, 1954). Comics available in English language: goo.gl/o186fV
Moustique 004
Last tier of a page from “Lucky Luke et Phil Defer ‘Le Faucheux'” by Morris (BE) as published in “Moustique” weekly magazine #1481 (Dupuis, BE, June 13, 1954). Comics available in English language: goo.gl/o186fV
Phil Wire
Cover of the English edition of “Lucky Luke contre Phil Defer” (Morris, BE): goo.gl/o186fV
Moustique 005
“Spirou” (goo.gl/wf4C73) voucher (to be collected every week in order to be redeemed for a board game) as published in “Moustique” weekly magazine #1481 (Dupuis, BE, June 13, 1954).

Classic Franco-Belgian Comics (I)

Some Franco-Belgian classic comics acquired at La Crypte Tonique (Brussels) to illustrate -materially- the two courses dedicated to the History of Franco-Belgian “bandes dessinées” at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. PS: Merci Philippe Capart!

Alain 001
Front cover of “Cadet-revue”, May 15, 1939, France. “Saint Francis of Assisi – Animals, my brothers”; one of my favourite illustrations by French cartoonist and illustrator Alain Saint-Ogan (goo.gl/dKom7j).
Alain 002
Back cover of “Cadet-revue”, May 15, 1939, France. One of my favourite pages by French cartoonist and illustrator Alain Saint-Ogan (goo.gl/dKom7j): “Monsieur Poche: un animal étrange.” First printed in “Dimanche illustré” #623, February 3, 1935, France.
Monsieur poche
Original artwork of the page “Monsieur Poche: un animal étrange” first published in “Dimanche illustré” #623, February 3, 1935, France. Analysis by Thierry Groensteen: goo.gl/kamg93. In the collection of the Museum of the Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Image, Angoulême, France.

“Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Jan-Apr 2017)

The “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) has three main goals:

1) select, summarize and partly translate 9 Thai alternative comics, and contact a foreign publisher to get them signed abroad.

2) Publish, promote and distribute our own zine gathering the constrained comics composed by former “Graphic Writing” CommArts students.

3) Organize an exhibition of the “Traumics” (Comics on Trauma) composed by CommArts & CommDe (Program in Communication Design, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) students.

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First special guest: khun Peataya Werasakwong, CEO of Kai3 (a brand of tee-shirts whose designs are extended into zines, and an indie comics publishing house), and author of the graphic novel “Pandism: Virus Panda.” ขอบคุณมากๆครับ khun Peataya!
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Second special guest: Belgian cartoonist & illustrator Ephameron for an afternoon of Comics Art Appreciation (with comments and tips). Students from the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) presented their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”) in front of Ephameron and my CommArts students in order to select the trauma-related graphic narratives to be displayed in the exhibition. Bedankt Eva! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ CommDe for inviting Eva in the first place! This project was partly inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit (and our partner) PositiveNegatives.
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Ephameron giving comments and advices to a team of CommDe students presenting their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”).
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Third special guest (or rather host): Spanish cartoonist, curator & illustrator Carla Berrocal offered us a private tour of the PRESENTES comics exhibition (Spanish Female Cartoonists of Yesterday and of Today). Discussion on the challenges (selecting pages, copyright issues, pairing different artists by themes or motifs…) offered by a Comics Art exhibition. Gracias Carla, Autoras de Cómic, and Maria & Joan from the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok. Thank you HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok, UN Women Asia and Pacific, and BACC (Bangkok Art Cultural Center)!
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Writing the editorial content of our “Bang Bang You’re Dead” constrained comics zine, inspired by the OuBaPian experimental comics by Lewis Trondheim & Jean-Christophe Menu. Trying to explain, as clearly and shortly as possible, the multimodal challenges faced by CommArts students while composing their graphic narratives (using “iconic iteration” with limited sets of panels drawn by European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon specially for our “Graphic Writing” course).
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Masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park). Photograph by ‘Rendez-Vous Franco-Thaï de l’Animation.’
OFF2
Thai films selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. During the masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park).
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Our fourth special guest; Ms. Pimpicha Utsahajit, Executive Director of Banlue Publications & CommArts alumnus, hold a talk on leading multi-platform content provider Banlue Group, with Banlue Sarn (humour comics magazines “Kai Hua Roh” and “Maha Sanook”), Vithita Animation, Salmon Books (publisher of alternative comics among others), digital platform MiniMore, Salmon House (production house of motion contents), Banlue Books, trendy free magazine Giraffe, or The MATTER and Pixniq among many other innovative content platforms! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ Ms. Pimpicha for the inspiring lecture and case studies (character development & licensing), and sharing with us your experience and expertise in so many fields!
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Making Small Press the CommArts way; a Taylorist approach. For reasons beyond their will, my 20 students had only 3 hours -including their zine-making formation- to produce the 300 copies of the inaugural issue of our Constrained & Collaborative Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!“. Challenge almost met with 281 issues produced, whilst avoiding too many flawed copies and finger losses…
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The inaugural issue of the comics zine series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” edited & published by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, and collecting the experimental, thrilling & collaborative works of 8 CommArts students with European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon, under a cover by Thai cartoonist Note Piruck and with a free ‘Phi Krasue’ postcard by French cartoonist Tamia Baudouin (only for the first printing)! Limited to 300 copies, the zine will be distributed worldwide thanks to our French partner L’Association ChiFouMi! Our thanks are also due to khun Satya @Rabbit4Print, and Thai cartoonist Tunlaya Dunn for the logo design & inspiration!
A word from the editorial team: “As evoked in its title, the ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead!’ zine invokes the playful yet serious aspects of constrained comics composition. Based on sets of speechless comics panels drawn especially for their Graphic Writing course by European cartoonists, 34 Thai senior students of the four-year program in Strategic Communication Management at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), duplicated, reframed, and combined the imposed drawings -with addition of textual elements- to create imaginative stories of their own. Without any particular drawing formation and facing the numerous and overlapping challenges posed by comics composition, our Faculty seniors were able to overcome the constraint of iconic iteration by thinking out of the box, using their creativity to cross formal, modal, cultural, and national borders.”
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Field trip with the editorial & production team of the inaugural issue the EuroThai Comics Zine “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” at the Bangkok International Book Fair (Queen Sirikit National Convention Center). The zine was on sale at the booth of the Thai indie comics publishing house Kai3. ขอบคุณครับ khun Peataya. Followed by a visit of the booths of publishers who collaborated on our projects (Salmon Books, Typhoon Studio & LET’S Comic). ขอบคุณครับ!
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Copies of the inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” have safely arrived in Belgium. The zines are now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels.
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The inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” is now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels, Belgium.
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Second objective of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course: to promote contemporary Thai Comix abroad. 8 teams of students. 8 Thai comics profiles (with summary, chapters translated into English, author bio, and pros & cons of each book to fit the French market and a specific publisher’s catalogue). 8 Thailand/France Skype sessions with Serge Ewenczyk, founder of the French independent comics publishing house Çà et Là. Proud of my students who did a tremendous and critical work there! Merci Serge pour ta disponibilité et ta marque d’intérêt! ขอบคุณมากครับ to the Thai editors for the complementary copies! Now, let’s all cross our fingers and see what the Future holds for Thai Comics! (On the picture: Serge Ewenczyk & the “Loser Rainbow (by Puck)” Team). 
Poster Traumics DEF
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displayed 18 short Trauma-related comics narratives all composed by students in the Faculty of Communication Arts, the Communication Design Program (Faculty of Architecture) and other Departments at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand). From refugee stories to household accidents, from domestic violence to genocides (Congo, Shoah, Khmer Rouges), being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies, these narratives intend to raise awareness on social and human rights issues. Inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit -and our partner- PositiveNegatives, this project also highlights the ability of Comics Art -as a medium of fragments- to visually reveal how the minds of the victims were broken into pieces. As mentioned in the introduction to the Call for Papers for the conference Traumics: Comics Narratives of Trauma, comics -“with their syntax of panels, gutters, and pages and their use of the evocative power of image in conjunction with the precise communication of text- (…) are uniquely suited to delivering narratives of trauma.”
The opening night was held on the 5th of May 2017 from 5pm until 7pm at the first floor of the Faculty of Communication Arts (Chulalongkorn University), in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers.”
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” was organized and curated by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand).
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Last project for the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course; to mount the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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“Framing – Unframing – Reframing”, or mounting the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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Opening of the “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers”, of graphic designer Ms. View, and of Thai alternative comics pioneer Suttichart Sarapaiwanich (“Joe the Sea-Cret Agent”).
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With polyptych, iconic iteration, bleed, braiding, narrative use of colours, parallel timelines, palindrome-like/mirror device, loop format, and other experimental features, or being straightforward visual narratives, the 18 Trauma-related short comics composed by students at Chulalongkorn University make full use of the hybrid art form to depict the victims’ shattered and alienated minds (and bodies), in order to raise awareness on social and human rights issues (from refugee stories to household accidents, from social conformity to domestic violence or genocides; being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies). I couldn’t be prouder by the meaningful work produced by Chulalongkorn University students from various Faculties; most of them being 1st year Thai students (and with a team of European exchange students), some of them without any prior artistic formation, and creating there their first ever comics. I only wish we could have displayed more of the dozens of Traumics created over the past two years. So many were equally deserving to be shown, and they will at some point, when I find the time, over here. To all, your works being displayed or not, artists or exhibition curators from the Mngt Comm Crea Inno course, for your talent and hard work, ขอบคุณมากนะครับ! Aj. Nicolas Verstappen
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Well-deserved rest after 4 intensive months of work! ;^)

“Nailed”, a Silent Graphic Narrative by a Student of the ‘Imaginative Communication’ Course (Nov. 2016)

“Nailed” is a silent graphic narrative by Thai student Rattanakorn (Mim) for the IMGT COMM course (2800217), November 2016. In response to a video (see below) where a young child is the victim of a cruel joke perpetrated by adults, her comics captures how the child’s inner world is shattered by the traumatic psychological abuse and how it will affect his late life.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This semester’s theme: “Psychic Trauma; To Say the Unutterable”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

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“The Wave”, a Graphic Narrative by Students of the ‘Imaginative Communication’ Course (Nov. 2016)

“The Wave” is a graphic narrative (on the themes of psychological fright, phobia and school bullying) by Thai students Jinwara (Sugar) and Rattanakorn (Mim) for the IMGT COMM course (2800217), November 2016.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This semester’s theme: “Psychic Trauma; To Say the Unutterable”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

A clever use of potentialities and features of the comics form (layout, composition, design, text/image relationship, iconic solidarity, iconic iteration…) to serve the content.

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Reproduced with the authors’ permission. All rights remain to the authors.

“I Guess” by Chris Ware, USA, 1991


I Guess (a.k.a. “Thrilling Adventure Stories”) by Chris Ware (USA) in: RAW Vol 2, #3, High Culture for Lowbrows, Penguin Books, 1991. Via Glad You Asked.

Copyright ©1990 Chris Ware

If words can be drawn, and images written, then the tension between words and images can become quite complex. For example, in “I Guess” (Raw 2:3, 1991, reprinted in Ware, Quimby), alternative cartoonist Chris Ware experiments with a radically disjunctive form of verbal/visual interplay: a six-page story that sustains parallel verbal and pictorial narratives throughout, never quite reconciling one to the other […]. Admittedly, “I Guess” represents a radical questioning of the way comics work […]. Dismantling genre as well as form, Ware’s experiment demonstrates the potential of comics to create challenging, multilayered texts: his simple broadly representational drawings contribute to, rather than mitigate, the suggestive complexity of the narrative, while the blank naive narrational voice both amplifies and undercuts the appeal of the drawings. (Charles Hatfield, “Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature”, The University Press of Mississippi, 2005)


 

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PAGE 1/6 (colour version, 2003)

“Daddy’s Girl: Visitors in the Night” (first version) by Debbie Drechsler, USA, 1992


Daddy’s Girl: Visitors in the Night (first version) by Debbie Drechsler (USA), in: Drawn & Quarterly (Anthology) Vol.1, #10, Drawn & Quarterly, CAN, 1992. The author’s first name “Debbie” was changed into “Lily” in the Daddy’s Girl collection (Fantagraphics Books, USA).  More on the topic in our interview with Debbie Drechsler.

“Visitors in the Night” – or “Daddy’s Girl” as the book was eventually called – is a masterpiece of horror. And it’s all the more horrifying because it is true, and because the actions depicted, the innocence-killing, soul-destroying actions, are happening right now, everyday, all around the world. (Richard Sala, in XeroXed #4, July 2004)

Contains scenes of a sexual nature. Viewer discretion advised.

Copyright ©1992 Debbie Drechsler

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“YVES – My Life as a Refugee”, a Graphic Narrative by Chalit & June (April 2016)


A graphic narrative (on the topic of ‘War Trauma’ and/or ‘War Refugees’) by Thai students Chalit Ratapana (Faculty of Communication Arts; adaptation/script) and June (Pareploy Maneerut; Faculty of Political Science; art) – based on the true story of Yves -a Congolese refugee who survived ethnic cleansing- (Sanctuary Australia Foundation) – as an assignment for my Imaginative Communication course (2800217), April 2016.

Update: The Sanctuary Australia Foundation, which offered a safe haven to Yves, has decided to publish the 4-page comics alongside Yves’ original testimony. I guess the Foundation saw -as I did- how Chalit and June were able to capture and to express -skillfully, with power and sensitivity- the plight of an individual and how, at the same time, they grasped and shared the tragic fate experienced by too many. Crossing the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, Belgium and Thailand, crossing comics panel borders, so many boundaries were physically and symbolically overcome… I’m proud of you Chalit & June and I hope your graphic narrative will participate in “engaging audiences in conflicts and displacement crises that seem remote (…), especially when there appear to be no means of relating to the people in the stories” (to quote PositiveNegatives founder Benjamin Dix, see Comic as Art, Education and Advocacy). Thank you Chalit, June and Mark Hallam (from the Sanctuary Australia Foundation). And thank you, Yves, for your painful yet indispensable testimony. Best regards. Nicolas V.

Yves Sanctuary
Screenshot of the Sanctuary Australia Foundation webpage with Chalit & June’s graphic narrative alongside Yves’s original testimony.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This year’s theme: “Crossing Borders”. Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

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“Life Beyond Limitation”, a Graphic Narrative by Titirat (April 2016)


A graphic narrative (on the topic of ‘Crossing Borders’) by Thai student Titirat Sengsakdi – based on the true story of Caroline Casey – for her final individual project in IMGT COMM (2800217), April 2016.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This year’s theme: “Crossing Borders”. Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

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Titirat C
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Titirat F
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Titirat G
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Below: some preliminary layouts and final pages with interesting composition/aesthetic choices.

Titirat I
Preliminary layout and final version of page 7/8
Titirat J
Preliminary layout and final version of page 8/8
Titirat H
Detail of page 6/8

Reproduced with the author’s permission. All rights remain to the author.