Everyone remembers story plots from elementary school. Most often shaped like mountains, these charts show the normal progression of a fiction story. The first part is the exposition where characters and plot are introduced. In the rising action, the plot thickens and this is normally one of the longer pieces to the story. It culminates with the climax, where the action, most often a conflict is addressed at its peak. Finally, the falling action wraps up the story while the short resolution does exactly what it says, it resolves, and in children’s books, this could be the “happily ever after.” I decided to make a story plot of my growth in English 101. I started off with skills that I was more familiar with, going to where I was not, but finally gaining more confidence to read and write about things I may not be as comfortable with. This course is almost ending but I cannot wait to continue to grow with my skills after this semester.
Background mountain photo from Flickr
Social media has been studied to see if it has any impact on mental health. Numerous studies have shown that excess use of social media can negatively impact your daily life. I am a pretty emotional person and tend to cry in situations of stress. I was curious to see if my social media consumption impacted my emotions. I tracked the amount of times I checked Facebook for 10 days along with the amount of times I cried. I tracked it by keeping a Google Keep file where I wrote down each time either occurred (screenshot from note is the Featured Image). I then graphed the two against each other.
My results showed that the amount of times I cried were sometimes correlated to the amount of times I checked Facebook. But, I remember from my high school statistics class that “correlation does not imply causation” meaning the amount of times I cried may not have been a result of my social media usage. In addition, the first day I checked Facebook significantly more than the others. I think I got embarrassed that I logged in so many times that first day that I tried to limit myself the days following. I also had multiple assignments due that day so, in turn, I was stressed and emotional. I think this information is interesting to see and I will definitely try to limit my social media usage so that it is not as crazy as that first day.
When I read the instructions for this project, I was stumped not because I didn’t have an idea, but because I had too many. I started thinking about how I read the book and then I remembered times where I did not actually read, I just watched. I thought about the memoir almost as a film, more than the other graphic novels we read in class. I read the book quickly yet still processed it almost like I do in a movie. I decided to count the pages where there is no text on the pages, only images. Although in most chapters there was only a few, in chapter 8, there were 10 pages dedicated to only pictures, around 20% of the entire chapter. The drawings were short snapshots into Tillie’s life following her sexual assault. It almost felt like we were living her life, brief snippets clustered together, almost as a way to experience her sadness, her fear. The map shows that chapter 8 has the most text-free pages due to its large size in comparison to the others. I wish this map could show more into where in the chapter these pages were found. However, I could not find a way to accomplish that. I feel like this map simply shows where the places are and it is up to the reader to interpret why.
Image taken by me
Both considered graphic journalism, Palestine and Pyongyang tell stories of lesser known realms impacted by political instability. Although both graphic novels, Palestine with a lot of detail and the more simple Pyongyang both bring readers deep into their text, immersing them into each individual short part, or vignette. Through exploration of these texts, I wrote about how both stories impacted me as a reader, through both the complex and plain styles. Writing my essay was a challenge at first. I was scared to write about my own thoughts, as I learned early in my english career not to rely heavily on first person opinion. However, after being reassured that it was okay, I went forth with my ideas, while still staying fair to the authors of both texts. I wrote from the heart, scratching out drafts that were in the poor compare and contrast style I learned in middle school. I tried to shy away from that style and think I did better but I am still unsure. Of all of the things we have written in this class, I feel as though this was the hardest for me as I struggled with finding things to discuss in my essay. I struggled with finding similarities, especially due to my struggle with reading Palestine. I think I finally came up with a good argument and executed my essay the way I felt was necessary due to my experience with the texts.
Image taken by me
One of my favorite movies of all time is Bridesmaids. It has become such a classic comedy. When choosing my movie scene, I tried to pick a film that had a scene on a bus, or something with seating like a bus, as I was traveling all weekend. I chose this scene, which took place on a plane, due to 1. it’s similar aesthetics to where I needed to take the image, and 2. because in my opinion, it is one of the funniest movie scenes of all time. However, I am not a great model; I did not get the head tilt quite right But, I think I really captured the essence of the scene, especially the sleeping passenger next to me.
Photo from scene taken as a screenshot from video
I really had a lot of fun drawing and editing my comic. The projects I complete normally rarely have to do with myself and my own personal experiences so it was very refreshing to analyze my own piece of text and create my own expression of the work as both the author and reader. I took the time to read the feedback from my peers after I completed a (very) rough draft of this comic and I feel as though I truly captured the light-hearted emotion that I intended in both pieces. I added more detail and completed thoughts that may not have been explicitly written. The comic, although focuses heavily on the images, relies on a lot of the text to truly shape the story. Leaving out color was an artistic choice that I made in order for the reader to not be as distracted.
I talked to my mom this morning, and we ended up reminiscing on our past family vacations, as my sister, who is a junior in high school, is on spring break and they have been traveling a lot for college visits. When I was young, my family would travel to Colorado every summer to go hiking, biking, and exploring in the mountainous region. We talked about the time when I was around 9 or 10 and we were on a hike in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was near the end of the hike, when we were making our way back down into the valley, when my entire family stopped to step over what they all thought was a piece of rope. However, the rope started moving. I am going to preface this with the fact that I have a huge fear of snakes. I hold my breath when passing snake exhibits at the zoo and I think it’s truly crazy that people have them as pets. When I saw the snake, my parents joke that I am the first human that flew. I jumped so high and screamed so loudly. With this memory fresh in my mind, after reading the description for this weeks Sunday sketch, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I found a picture of a snake and combined it with the picture of the rope. The movement of both allow the images to feel more connected. I think this image, and the project as a whole, gives people the opportunity to see that things are not always what they seem at first glance.
Photo of both snake and rope from Flickr
Most people have gone through this: imagine being with a group of friends, with a significant other, or even just alone, trying to decide where to eat. It’s a nightmare. You try to please everyone but each person tends to have their own preferences. It can take hours to decide where to eat. Now, imagine all the places you usually go are closed. That’s what happened to me when I was trying to decide where to eat with my boyfriend when I got back to campus early after spring break. All of the dining locations on campus were closed except for Kaldi’s, the over-priced yet very convenient coffee shop on Eagle Row. We tried to come up with many ideas off campus but could not agree. It seemed as an eternity passed, hence my little SpongeBob reference to “one eternity later.” Our laziness kicked in and we finally decided on Kaldi’s, due to it being so close to home. I feel that this comic can be very relatable as many people have gone through the same process of deciding on where to eat. This moment was a good one to pick for this assignment. Although it seemed like an eternity, it was only about 15 minutes in time and focused only on the subject at hand. It is a truthful yet relatable story, sort of in between the works of Spiegelman and Sacco.
In drawing out my literacy narrative comic draft, I tried to focus more on the text rather than the pictures. I tried to get the story down before I started creating very detailed drawings. My peers seemed to appreciate that by telling me “it was well written” and “light-hearted” much like I felt the original narrative was. However, I will definitely take their suggestions in my editing process. I will add some more detail and formulate a good conclusion for the end. I also want to put some variation in with panel shape and focus angles on my characters. In all, I felt like this peer editing process was really helpful in seeing what I should and should not change about my comic based on what I saw in the other ones that I read.
I chose this image as I was drawn to it due to it’s “realness.” The girl reminded me of myself, with my friends, taking pictures of fireworks on New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July, and many other holidays and events. I spent about 7 of my ten minutes trying to figure out how to draw those small specks of fireworks exploding in the sky. I only had a pencil so as I started to do the shading, it started to look weird. I started to draw and erase, draw and erase. Until finally, I was just too unhappy with it that I erased the whole thing and just drew the hexagonal shapes I saw in the the image. I then quickly rushed through drawing out the people but it really didn’t turn out that well. The blurriness of the image gives it movement that needs a very skilled hand to portray when drawing. The photo is beautifully composed and it seems as you are truly in the scene.
Image credit: “Adolescents photographing the fireworks on Fifth Street” in “Imperfect Portrait of Adolescence” by Eren Orbey. Photography by Colin Combs in The New Yorker.