Backstory: In my town, here in Ohio, we celebrate the local vineyards. It’s a pretty famous festival called Grape Jamboree. Many things happen during this including a pageant (Miss Grapette), fair food stands, rides, a main stage where they have various contests (grape stomping and pie eating) as well as performances, vendors, grape goods (pie, purple cows, ice cream, and more), and (what this blog post is about) a window decorating contest. The contest wants merchants to grape and wine up their front windows to honor the festival. That means I got to decorate a comic shop window!
PS- Grape puns are a must this time of year!
Concept: I struggled to come up with a good idea for this year. Last year, I went with a (personalized to the store) take on what everyone does. I put grapes around the edge of the window. But my grapes were made out of comics! I also put grapes on our front door, back window, and back door. But it wasn’t that great (though it did take quite a bit of time) and I didn’t place.
This year, I really wanted to place! So I asked friends for ideas. I noodled ideas. I had everything from the store mascot made in a grape theme (idea suggestion) to superheroes enjoying a grape time around town.
Eventually, I decided to depict Grape Jamboree iconic foods, but cute, cartoon ones like Shopkins. So, I wanted a family of grapes (red and green) and a family of drinks (wine glass, champagne bottle, purple cow). Then I remembered grape pie, plain juice, a slushy, cupcake, and so many things! The weirdest one was a raisin. And something about coming up with a raisin made me think, “He’s a baddie.”
So I had an idea of what, but “where?” Would I do streamers floating in the background? Would I just let them float around the glass? Or did I anchor it to the ground? I decided, taking inspiration from my superheroes around town idea, to pick an iconic spot. That’s why I picked the clock in the center of town.
As I started mentally laying people out, I realized the “baddie” raisin could be stealing from the purple cow (drink) child. But originally it was just a balloon! It wasn’t until I was painting the clock that I decided to tie it even deeper into Grape Jamboree by making the drink Miss Grapette and changing the balloon to the crown! But I didn’t want this to be a sad tale and suddenly needed a hero. In the spirit of Superman (created in nearby Cleveland), I decided it was an alien. So, Miss Grapette became a smoothie and an alien from a different world, a true purple cow, became my hero.
Things happened while I created these characters. There were good things. I decided to do comic style word effects (MUAHAHAHA and Woosh) and talking word bubbles to convey my story. This tied it to the store more, by making it a comic panel! And there were bad things. We have a small window, and I ran out of space. I had to drop the grape pie, champagne, juice, and cupcake I had planned on doing. I almost continued with a second story panel on the door, however, I ran out of extra time. But I was so pleased and proud of what I did! So I was happy to leave it at that.
Story: Without further ado, I now share the story I created within our window.
Contest Result: Of the 11 entries, I didn’t place. Oh well. Maybe next year! (I already have an idea!)