In February 2018, the company 'PositiveNegatives' approached Adam Zygadlo at Jarbrain for assistance with their animated project titled 'The Difficult Journey Home'. This project was designed to tell the story of 'Justine', a character with the backstory of a child soldier.
The development of Justine was led by Emma Saville at PositiveNegatives, who ironed out the script with 'Child Soldiers International', the client for this animation. This character was created using background research based on the non-fictional testimonies of several girls who experienced similar environments both mental and physical.
When the script was complete, we began to draw out some rough storyboard visuals to see how the project's animation could be presented. Shortly afterwards, Congolese visual artist Rodriquez Mungulirwa collaborated with the team where he utilised his established area knowledge for evolving the illustrations using Jarbrain’s storyboard as a guide.
Once the artist provided the artwork to Jarbrain, we began to treat the files by both cleaning and cutting away specific character elements that cluttered the animation. We then arranged these pieces to established backdrops. Soon after these elements were composited and rigged together within the animation software. In addition, a virtual camera was set up for the project before moving further into the animation stage.
The voice for the character was provided by Carole Kuhuma, a Congolese Nursing student at Kingston University in London. She narrates the story of how the character was coerced to join an armed force at the age of 15 with the death of her mother. Environmental audio supplied from the client was added to scenes animated by us to further amplify the story craft.
On completion, Child Soldiers International was pleased with the finished product and soon it was used within 'WhyComics?' the education arm of PositiveNegatives. The animation would then be later distributed to schools and other institutions for teaching purposes and how community support is crucial to girls with experiences similar to the character of Justine.
- Credits -
Commissioned by Child Soldiers International in partnership with the Education Above All Foundation.
Produced by PositiveNegatives,
Animated by Jarbrain,
Illustrated by Rodriquez Mungulirwa,
Written by Emma Saville,
Voiceover by Carole Kuhuma,
Music by Phil Wilkinson.
* Justine's story also incorporates the experience of other girls formerly associated with armed groups interviewed by Child Soldiers International.