Once Upon a Time Family Tree

A long, long, long time ago on this blog, I mentioned a television show I was watching. At the time, I think the show was beginning season two. I binged the first on Netflix and watched the second live. Now, fast forward a few years, and the show has come to its end, after 155 episodes (and one failed spinoff).

I'm talking about ABC's Once Upon a Time.

I just recently caught up on season seven, which took its own weird turn in jumping ahead a good decade (at least; I don't think specific dates are given). The cast's contracts all expired, and only three of the original actors remained. So the main character's son goes from high school student to full-fledged 20-or-30-something man (effectively replacing the actor), and a plot is contrived to stick him (as the new main character) in some other place where all our missing members can be mentioned with plausible excuses for never seeing them. Honestly, the way I talk about this show's writing sounds like I hate it. I love it, but it's ridiculous. Just... don't get me started.

If you've heard of this show at all, you've probably picked up on the two main ideas in the fandom: First, that it started out fun, but almost nobody watched it all the way through (my almost-quitting point was season four). Second, literally everyone is related and it is confusing as all get-out.

I decided for no real reason at all to make a family tree! Because what budding graphic designer doesn't need a massive challenge?

*Please note that I made this before finishing season seven, and also still think of season seven almost like a spin-off or something, so basically the show ended in season six in my brain and that's when I made this.*

I found some free virtual software for family-tree-building, and split my screen between that and a list of characters. There's definitely too many for me to keep straight!

Let's do this thing!

It was going well...

So far, so good.

...until I realized the software was more than a little limited. You get what you pay for, I guess. Or don't pay for, in my case.

Crap, I can't connect existing people in new relationships...

I considered changing software...

This looks like the best software, but is it ethical to add fictional people? Hmm...

...but decided I'd have to start from scratch instead. In Canva!

Maybe generic design software is a better idea.

Let's do this thing, take two!

It took more time, but it gave me the results I wanted. Smooth sailing then!

A bit more work, but going well.

Of course I listened to OUAT's musical episode soundtrack while working.

Gotta have my tunes.

After a while, individually adjusting the size and color of every box got old. But I persevered, determined to achieve my final product.

You have no idea how tedious this is.

It's coming together nicely.

I did have to make a few more unexpected adjustments in the process. Like copy+pasting everything into a different document because I needed landscape orientation and couldn't resize the file in Canva free. (Also, I ran out of songs on the musical episode and opted for another form of background entertainment. I honestly have no idea what show/movie that is; I can't remember.)

I underestimated my need for horizontal space.

Some information took more digging than the Wikipedia characters list could give me.

Did Tamara die? I don't remember... this is hard.

Dang Regina, your family is complicated... and cramped.

Brennan Jones, you were a complicated man.

Once I had everyone in the chart, I just needed to clarify some details.

Okay, now to check who's dead...
Finally, it was complete!

Three and a half hours later... IT'S DONE!

So here you go, the final product: the complete Once Upon a Time family tree (before Henry grew up).


(Yeah, yeah, I know Emma's pregnancy wasn't canon until the season seven premiere, but Captain Swan is literally my very first OTP and the only reason I kept watching after the mess of season four. This is my graphics project, I can do what I want, and my shipper heart wants Emma and Killian to have a baby.)

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