Projects Underway

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Graphic Flash: Collaboration between Students in Creative Writing, Illustration, Graphic Design, and Multimedia Design

Kelly Roe

Project Team
  • Leigh Wilson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Oswego
  • Amy Bartell, School of Communication Media and the Arts, Oswego
  • Cara Thompson, School of Communication Media and the Arts, Oswego

Oswego, State University College at


Tier One

Project Abstract:


Students across multiple departments will work collectively and collaboratively to create, and sustain a start-up e-magazine. The project centers on creative partnerships formed across departments for the purpose of simulating professional collaborations in the production creative work. This project will team writers, illustrators and graphic/media designers to produce an e - publication for distribution on Apple and Android based sites. The desired outcome is to establish an e -magazine that could be produced bi- annually. The project will initially feature work by SUNY Oswego students and hopes to expand to include partnerships with K-12 Schools from the surrounding area. Its purpose would be to provide an outlet for original creative work while also providing analysis of that work as well as technical explanation in order to allow others to build on the work. The ultimate goal is to empower students through participation in a creative enterprise with entrepreneurial possibilities that fosters expression and experimentation.


With the arrival of, and establishment of e-publishing as a communication media, writers and artist are choosing to self-publish in greater and greater numbers. While it is still unclear as to what this new form will look like when it hits full maturation, it is clear that it is here and evolving rapidly. Whether used to allow for a trial run to determine interest, or as a full-blown for-profit endeavor, the benefits of e-publishing offers much for artist and writers. This project intends to harness the energy of student artists and focus it towards this “real world” communication modality.

BACKGROUND — For many years, students in the writing and illustrative arts have collaborated on the SUNY Oswego campus. The most current manifestation is “Graphic Flash.” This project pairs students studying in creative writing with students in illustration. As writers develop their short stories they share their creation with illustrators who prepared an editorial illustration intended to illuminate the story by providing a picture that captures the heart and soul of the writing. Faculty from both areas work closely with students providing critique feedback and pushing students to reach past previous achievements. When the work is completed, students work together to create an exhibition that displays the writing as well as the illustration. They also host a reception for the reading of the stories, which is filmed and posted online. An example of which can be seen at:

The project proposed in this application is an expansion of the Graphic Flash project, and is designed to also allow variation in content and constituency. Expanding into the area of e-publishing, takes the existing project from being a one -of-a kind experience to one that keeps an on- going dialog taking place long after the event ends. This method of production not only allows students to continue to write and produce illustrations, but it allows the story telling at the heart of the work to expand to include movement, sequence, sound, and interaction. It also provides opportunity to showcase work outside of the already established relationship by creating a magazine with multiple volumes instead of a single volume book. In addition to these
benefits, e-publishing would allow the student collaborators to reach a world audience, which opens up all sorts of possibilities.

The project will begin by assigning a writer to an illustrator, as in the past. These collaborators will be joined by graphic designers/media artists who will work with them to transition the work into an e-publication. Part of this transition will also allow for the inclusion of audio in the form of narration as well as soundtrack/special effect. All designer/media artists will be part of a team that will design the magazine and define the infrastructure of this publication. Given that this publication is essentially in its start -up phase, this team will also need to explore distribution methods as well as ways to use online/social media to generate interest in the publication. The inclusion of a social media component, opens up the publication to outside critique and dialog beyond the classroom.

Project success will be analyzed in several ways. The most obvious form of data collection will include monitoring downloads, user interest, and the general analytics currently employed in most online sites and endeavors. While this is a start, we are also interested in exploring the use of various software tools designed track the social media web that we hope will be spun around the release of this publication. If successful, the project could also allow for the creation of a revenue stream in the form of an app fee that could sustain and support the project overtime, while also providing seed money for other student led endeavors. However, the predictability for this type of monetary success is difficult and it should be noted that making a profit is not a primary concern at this time.

In conclusion, the complexity of the project allows for students to work in a manner found in the “real world.” It allows for students from multiple areas and departments to come together in a symbiotic, creative relationship. It also allows students and faculty to study and analyze this newly established medium to observe directly the phenomenon of e-publishing for the purpose of creating something that is successful, and than being able to evolve and further replicate that success in the future.

Project Outcome:

Outcomes TBD