Watch: Embracing Vulnerability to Build Stronger Stories

September 8, 2020

Watch: Embracing Vulnerability to Build Stronger Stories

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Is vulnerability the key to a good story? In this video, digital artist Nichelle Quiocson discusses why she embraces vulnerability and provides advice on how to build a strong story.

Vulnerability, in my opinion, is essential when it comes to storytelling. If you do not have the ability to be vulnerable with yourself, you’re limiting the amount of stories that you can tell. My name is Nichelle Quiocson, I am from Moreno Valley, California and I’m a digital artist. 

Nichelle’s take on digital art

My style of digital art is weird, very weird to the point where some people have told me that my edits freak them out. Understandably so, because I don’t include faces in my edits at all. But the reason why I edit in this way is because society tends to focus so much on what someone looks like on the outside. We tend to focus on physical features like skin color or hair. To me, what makes a person beautiful is what goes on, on the inside, their emotions, their inner thoughts, and feelings. And so with my edits, I kind of try to twist things around and make the edit focus on someone’s inner thoughts and their inner feelings as opposed to what they look like. 

How to craft a story

Okay, so three things that make a good story: message, contrast, and turning points. A message, if you don’t have a message, if you don’t have a certain theme of what your story is about, it’s just gonna be a bunch of random stuff put together, and it’s not gonna make any sense. It’s not gonna be cohesive. So the message is the thing that ties all of the elements together. Number two is contrast. Now a good story has a lot of contrast, a lot of ups and downs, because that’s how life works. Life is literally a rollercoaster, life is a highway if you will, full of twists and turns. So you have to have a lot of contrast in your story to keep things interesting. Number three are the turning points in your story, those are the pinnacle moments that get you from the highs and the lows that gets you through the twists and turns. If you can emphasize those pinnacle moments, with those turning points, it’s gonna make your story a lot more interesting and it’s going to keep the pace of everything. So that way, whoever’s watching it, doesn’t get bored along the way. Whew, that was a lot! 

Embracing vulnerability to build stronger stories

I think vulnerability allows you to be completely open-minded and not judge yourself. The second you start judging yourself, you’re limiting the types of stories you’re gonna tell. If you can just be completely vulnerable, let everything go, let the ideas flow through you no matter how ridiculous they might sound, a great story might actually come out of it. 

The creation process

Okay, so when it comes to my Photoshop edits, I often pull inspiration from other creative outlets and other work that I see. So that could be lyrics from songs that I listened to, quotes from books that I read, movies, TV shows, literally anything creative I also find inspiration from.

This Photoshop edit is honestly one of my favorites because I knew exactly what I wanted to do as soon as I saw this picture online. I wanted to portray what people feel like when they go through heartbreak. A lot of the time heartbreak is internal, but it can have external effects that people don’t really talk about that much. I love using portraits. I think using portraits makes the edit more personal. I pulled a lot of inspiration from the movie, Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen. I just knew I wanted to create some sort of character like that. Overall that’s kind of the visual representation of what this edit is. 

Everything around us is a story and as humans, it’s in our natural instincts to share messages and to relate to people through storytelling. So that’s why I think it’s important for us as creators to really fall in love with this process of storytelling. Sometimes we tend to have thoughts and feelings that we don’t necessarily know how to express outwardly, right?

The reason why I love creating and the reason why I love creating through digital art, is because it gives me the ability to express my thoughts and feelings and emotions in a way that I am not able to normally speak in camera like this. Creating helps me express myself when I don’t know how to do that normally.


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