Courtesy: Sara Breslin
Courtesy: Sara Breslin

Global warming, though a serious problem, is often ignored by many. An art student at the University of Rhode Island is attempting to educate the masses by making a comic book on the issue in hopes of generating change.

Sara Breslin, a senior fine arts major, has decided to create a graphic novel as a combined senior seminar and personal project. She is working on character sketches for her pieces and has been focusing on the writing aspect.

“So I’m in the middle of a screenplay that I’m working on for it, and I should be starting to sketch all the panels around April,” said Breslin. “The paneling is just the pages of the graphic novel, the visual part of it”

It is a science fiction comic that deals with major issues, especially global warming and what part humans have played in this problem. These issues are addressed through the story Breslin has written in hopes of reaching out to other people her age and urging them to stop passing the blame on this major issue.

“In a lot of ways it’s a creation story; how the world came to be and how people came to be on this world and how we interacted with nature since the beginning of our creation,” said Breslin. “It really deals with my personal feelings about the environment and about what we are or are not doing to help protect it. This novel is my way of speaking to kids our age about what we can do in the future and what we should be doing now to protect the environment and to stop pointing the finger at politicians… it’s not about us as individual people anymore, it’s about us coming together as a globe for this problem.”

Breslin chose a story format to get her views on the environment across because she felt it would be the most effective way to communicate and get people to listen and care.

“I think because people, with all these other issues happening currently, they look for an escape,” Breslin said. “And I thought this fantastical word, these romantic love stories, just living vicariously through these fictional characters; the trend in all these vampires and werewolves lately, just this surge of people wanting to escape into a world that isn’t ours, that’s better than ours.”

This “escape” will provide a platform for global warming through the story-lines, as well as the characters themselves and their interactions with each other. So far she has completed the permanent sketch of one of her main characters, named Okaason.

“She represents nature as a whole, she is my version of mother nature,” said Sara. “[Her name] is Okaason, and that is ‘mother’ in Japanese… [she] is the way I see nature personified into this powerful woman.”

To create the sketch of Okaason she used watercolor, gouache and gold leafing. Sara enjoys experimenting with many different materials, always in a purposeful way.

“The way I work is I have a goal in mind,” explained Sara, “and I pick up whatever materials are going to get me there, which a lot of times isn’t just one thing.”

Sara plans to start the rough draft of the comic in April, with a goal of having the comic self published and on shelves by the spring of 2016. She has set this long term timeline for herself because she knows that this is something that cannot be rushed if done right. Sara has decided to title her comic “The Human War”, and she has begun the rough sketches for many of the other characters.

“There’s going to be a character named Rion, and he’s going to be one of the human characters in the book,” said Sara. “There are going to be godlike characters and human characters to metaphorically show this relationship that we have with nature.”

As a child, Sara always had a passion for art, especially manga, as she and a friend once made a 100 page manga comic about time travel. Unfortunately, this changed once she reached high school.

“I wasn’t supported by a lot of people,” said Sara. “They thought it was unrealistic that art was an interest of mine [and] that it should just be a hobby… [and] it shouldn’t be anything serious. I allowed people to sway me in that direction.”

Sara left behind the art world for AP and science classes. She entered college as a biology major, planning to go on to medical school to be a trauma surgeon. Her focus was on a profession where she could make money, and she had been told this meant art was not an option.

“Then as I went into my second semester I realized that I was miserable and that biology was making me less of a human being basically,” said Sara.

Without support from her family, who was still very against believing art could be a career, Sara decided to change majors.

“I knew that this was me, and this was what I needed to do for me,” said Sara. “I pushed through and now my family [has] realized that I am so serious and that I’m good. I think that I have potential and I’m going to strive for that, so I’m happy I picked art.”