behind the work

WILLIAMSBURG Black Friday Shopping by Sonya Paclob

I avoid Black Friday shopping every year. It's a time where everyone, I mean everyone, is out shopping after the Thanksgiving. Long lines, bad parking and "apparently" great shopping deals. I prefer Cyber Monday. I sit back relax my pajamas while I surf the net for tech deals. 

This time, Daily Press sent me to cover for the Virginia Gazette at Williamsburg's quaint shopping areas, New Town. I didn't see lots of hoppers with multiple bags. Everyone I've talked said they did shopping on Thanksgiving Day or just avoided shopping all together. 

  Stuart Brown, Arlington, Va., smiles with his children from left, Kendall Brown, 10, and Peter Brown, 12, with Paul Sheehan as Santa Claus who looks at picture taker Deena Walls, worker for New Town Williamsburg, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. I'm normally the photographer in the family, Brown said, I'm glad I can be in the picture this time." Meeting with Santa and picture taking are free, said Paul. (Sonya Paclob / Special to the Daily Press)

Stuart Brown, Arlington, Va., smiles with his children from left, Kendall Brown, 10, and Peter Brown, 12, with Paul Sheehan as Santa Claus who looks at picture taker Deena Walls, worker for New Town Williamsburg, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. I'm normally the photographer in the family, Brown said, I'm glad I can be in the picture this time." Meeting with Santa and picture taking are free, said Paul. (Sonya Paclob / Special to the Daily Press)

  Nina Gokita, 10, shows off her Black Friday purchase, a heart locket with the letter N at Justice in New Town Williamsburg, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. According to her mother Tonya Gokita, Williamsburg, Nina bought the locket with her birthday money. "I bought this for 40% off and I'm happy, Nina said. (Sonya Paclob / Special to the Daily Press)

Nina Gokita, 10, shows off her Black Friday purchase, a heart locket with the letter N at Justice in New Town Williamsburg, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. According to her mother Tonya Gokita, Williamsburg, Nina bought the locket with her birthday money. "I bought this for 40% off and I'm happy, Nina said. (Sonya Paclob / Special to the Daily Press)

  Owner Amanda Wilbourne of Nautical Dog places dog related items in a bag for her loyal customer Amanda Stendardo, Woodbridge, Va., after purchases at New Town Williamsburg, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Wilbourne was offering her customers Nautical Dog cash for every $50 spent towards $10 off purchases in January, she said. She will also offer the deal tomorrow on Small Business Saturday. (Sonya Paclob / Special to the Daily Press)

Owner Amanda Wilbourne of Nautical Dog places dog related items in a bag for her loyal customer Amanda Stendardo, Woodbridge, Va., after purchases at New Town Williamsburg, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Wilbourne was offering her customers Nautical Dog cash for every $50 spent towards $10 off purchases in January, she said. She will also offer the deal tomorrow on Small Business Saturday. (Sonya Paclob / Special to the Daily Press)

Pro tip for shoppers: The best time to go shopping is at Midnight closer to 3 am in the morning. Many shoppers are already sleeping and Thanksgiving door busters deals extend till Black Friday evening. I think it's a better deal then staying in line at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Reserve your time with family. 

Pro tip for photographers: Scout your locations earlier in the week. Small businesses are willing to have you around, then big box stores. Bath and Body Works didn't want me in to photograph inside the stores, but was OK with me outside the doors. 

Whats was your best deal that you got from Black Friday shopping? If you didn't go shopping, what other actives did you do? Sleeping till 3 p.m. counts. 

The 24 Hour Comics Challenge, room full of talent and determination by Sonya Paclob

I participated in the illest, most awesomest event called the 24 Hour Comics Day Challenge in Lancaster, PA. It’s an event where students and artists build their own 24-page graphic novel within 24 hours. It seems like an impossible deadline. But, did I survive the challenge?

Yes, I did. However, I failed miserably.

I’ve been a fan of graphic novels since I was 10 years old. I dreamed to be a comic book artist, but I didn’t fully believe in myself to be successful. However, I still appreciate the art form. I’m thankful for Bob Hochgertel, professor at the Pennsylvania Art & Design, who invited me to the challenge. I know my inner child would be so stoked.

I was rusty when I started the challenge, but I only drafted one page of my comic book within the 24 hours. I did fail at the challenge, but I was awarded with many inspirational insights from professionals.  

I asked Jamar Nicholas, cartoonist from Philadelphia, “If you met your younger self in a elevator, what would you say?”

He laughed at first, but then deeply reflected on the question. “I would say, ‘with all the things that you're thinking, you are going to be just fine,’” he said, “Don’t worry about it.”

He thanks his mother, who was a designer, for pushing him to believe in himself. He admits that he didn’t get the overall arching positive reaction from her as a kid. However, he understands that she was pushing him to strive better and still continues throughout his career.   

It was also true for Big Al Gruswitz, president of Boundless Creativity. He pushed his colleagues to reach a better version of their work. Even when you have to deal with other client’s input.

“Take their (clients) input and make it even better.” He stressed that it’s important to also own your work from start to finish. If you don’t, someone else will, Gruswitz said.     

Mike Hawthorne, an artist for Marvel and DC comics, was the only artist that stood as he worked. He taped his Deadpool art on the window and jammed to his music on headphones. At one time, he didn’t feel he was the best artist out there during his college years. He stressed that with great practice and persistence, it’s possible to make it.

“It’s so heart breaking that people stop (drawing) for a living,” Hawthorne said, " I knew people who were so much better than I." 

Savanah Myers, freshman at PCAD, felt she was not good enough compared to her classmates. We sat next to each other during the challenge. When I looked at her own work, I was impressed by her creativity. 

 Work by Savanah Myers

Work by Savanah Myers

“Don’t you ever give up because you are talented,” I said, “I mean look at me. I’m struggling trying to do one page in 24 hours.” We laughed it off and got back to work.

Throughout the night we shared stories, food, and even drawing supplies.  She shared her makeshift pencil sharpener with me. I shared my first comic book, Sailor Moon #4 by Nako Takeuchi, which got me into drawing. 

That one day gave me a better appreciation for graphic novels and artists. It actually inspired me to draw more and get back to the basics.

Would I participate in the challenge next year? Of course.

My goal for the next challenge is to finish two completed pages. It’s a small step or sketch in the right direction.  

BTS: Goodbye Final Cut, Hello Adobe Premiere by Sonya Paclob

I'm saying goodbye Final Cut Pro 7 and moving on Adobe Premiere. Also, critical look into developing the video and story. 

 Screen Grab of finished documentary "Comics in Education"

Screen Grab of finished documentary "Comics in Education"

I've used Final Cut Pro 7 as a major part of my workflow for seven years (the irony) and I FINALLY made the switch. Why? Because technology and tools are changing and I needed a new challenge.

The "Comics in Education" documentary is brief look into the community during Free Comic Book Day and the positive benefits in reading one for all ages. It was part of a larger body of research that included photos and a story for print newspaper.

I will be honest, this was my first time opening Adobe Premiere Pro and working on a longer video. I quickly gained a few knowledge of where keyboard shortcuts were and the use of the timeline. It was almost the same at Final Cut Pro 7. And I also had some training in Adobe Premiere Elements. 

It was not too foreign to me. By the time I was done with the video, it wad clear I had to move onto a better Video editing software. 

PROS & CONS w. Adobe Premiere Pro:

PROS
- Format to .mp4 or .mov
- Do not have to compress video files
- Sub clipping made w/ keyboard shortcut
- Edit audio tracks in multiple layers
- Closing gaps in timeline w/ out misplacing audio or video
- Text titles easily edited and more range of options
- Looks like a mini version of Adobe After Effects

CONS
- can not repair clipped videos (still doing research) 

What work, what didn't work

The newspaper daily grind is a difficult. Their are some set backs in trying to be everything when time is tight and when people are too busy with their own work. It took about a month and 2 weeks to produce the video, research, story and photos. 

I wish I had two others to help with motion graphics, post production and sound recording. I thought the video needed more attention to color and a steadier shooting capabilities, but I could not let the work set out too long after Free Comic Book Day, which happened Saturday, May 3. It was a great learning experience for myself in both research about the topic and time management.

See story and photos of Comics Educates All at York Daily Record / Sunday News

My most favorite part is meeting Dave Kot, co-founder of Autism At Face Value who created a super hero with Autism in a comic book. 

I had a clip of him saying he was autistic, but I left that piece out of the documentary. I felt the work as a whole won't support his confession. I want people to focus about the work he has done than being autistic. I want people to come up with their own conclusion and actually read the book. Find out on their own terms. 

He said this to me, "I'm autistic, but I'm also a bald, a left hander and wear glasses. I want people to judge me on this traits than just being autistic."