I remember looking around the vibrant room, as I sat in a little chair in awe over the drawers filled with arts and crafts supplies, bins that overflowed with toys, and shelves lined with inflatable letter dolls. Each inflatable doll had an expression, action or symbol that was paired with a letter to match. Ms. T had big teeth, Mr. E liked to exercise and carried weights, Mr. N had an elongated nose, and so on. The letter dolls were not only an effective way of learning how to read but also incorporated fun and creativity. I have the letter dolls to thank (and I guess my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Brodie) for my ability to read and write. However, I owe my love and devotion for reading to my grandma and my mom.
My grandma was an English teacher and taught Russian immigrants how to speak, read and write in English. Through her dedication and commitment to helping her students assimilate into American society, I developed an appreciation for the importance of language and my ability to communicate. She showed me how language can be utilized as a tool to find a common ground between people of all backgrounds. My mom was able to witness this firsthand and would tell me stories about my grandma bringing her students back to the house to have some conversations (in English) over a home cooked meal. They would sit in the dining room surrounded by bookcases lined with shelves of books. My Grandma always stressed the importance and value of reading to her kids, and my mom did the same for me and my brothers.
When I was younger, each week after school, my mom and I would go to the library and I could pick out a book for us to read that week. I remember going to the children’s section and looking around with such excitement as I scanned the aisles filled with countless picture books and stories. But the library wasn’t even the best part of it all. Once I picked out my book and signed it out of the library, with my very own library card might I add, I brought the book home to read before bed with my mom. I would get all ready for bed and call her name as I got under the covers. She would come in, turn on my bedside lamp and begin to read to me until I fell asleep. But then suddenly, there was a plot twist in our narrative, and a new character appeared. The worst villain of all: cancer. Along with many aspects of life, our nightly tradition was altered and our roles were suddenly reversed. I would come into my mom’s room, turn on the bedside lamp and begin to read to her. If I could take her mind off of things for just one minute, I would. She fought as hard as she could, but it was relentless. The villain had won, and our story ended far too soon.
I loved our bedtime ritual. I looked forward to it and depended on it. I knew that no matter what happened, I had something and someone waiting for me at the end of the day. Sometimes I go to my mom’s graveside and read to her, but it will never be the same.
For this assignment, I decided to map the book by counting the number of pages with yellow elements. In the book we see that the author used white and purple to illustrate everything; however, on some pages, there are either yellow elements or the whole page is yellow. The use of this color may be a sign of some important event in her life, good memories, or even just light in the room. When I was reading I thought that she used yellow to show only all of the happy moments. However, while I was going over all the pages again for this assignment I noticed that there may be various reasons for using yellow elements. Therefore, as it was mysterious, at least for me, how in some chapters there can be more than ten yellow pages, while in the other chapters there are only three, I decided to focus mainly on this fact. When I started counting all the yellow pages in the book I realized that I have no idea how to visually represent it. After visiting Infogram, I decided to choose this chart as it is the best way to illustrate my assignment.
For this sketch assignment, I decided to simply show which steps we took to complete the class. For sketch assignments, I decided to show 11 bubbles that display 11 separate assignments, which are not related to each other but at the same time they are all in one harmony. For Literacy Narrative assignment I just showed a book as a reference to the whole topic. Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang is also simply illustrated by two books. Mapping Spinning is shown by the recreation of a map with dots that are connecting. And the Reflection letter is also just a simple drawing of a letter.
Every step seemed easy and challenging at the same time. They seemed challenging when we first heard about them but as we were working and discussing, it became clear and possible to do.
Throughout this semester, our assignments have been highly unique and unconventional. For that reason, each assignment presented a new challenge. As someone who was unaccustomed to visual writing and thinking, I noticed that with each task I faced a recurring obstacle. And that obstacle was forethought. Again and again, I found myself at a standstill when trying to conceptualize what I was going to draw, or design, or conceptualize: all while remaining within the assignment guidelines. I found that the harder I thought, the further I became from an idea. Which is why I chose to use the “tip of the tongue” theory as a metaphor for my experience in this class. Ultimately, I realized that most of my ideas came to mind when I stopped thinking. Moreover, when I kept the eventual goal in the back of my mind, and observed stimuli naturally, than I could clearly and decisively conceptualize a connection between them.
My life has never been prioritized by a particular sport or passion. So when reading this novel, I was astonished by how much skating consumed Tillie Walden’s everyday life. Let alone at such a young and impressionable age. So almost immediately, I knew that I wanted to map the novel’s depiction of her time spent skating. I wanted to visualize how often she was on the ice, and how often she was elsewhere. But, I immediately figured that the majority of her time “off the ice” would still be spent near the rink, so I wanted to include time spent near the rink in addition to time spent outside it.
I decided to dummy code the variables: assigning each of them numerical values. I coded a “0” for time spent outside the ice rink (at school, at home, etc.). A “1” for time spent near the rink (locker room, benches, etc.). And a “2” for time spent on the ice (practicing or competing). So for each page where Tillie appeared skating, I recorded a “2,” and followed suit for the other two variables.
My first impression of the original data map was that it looked like a barcode. My second was being surprised by how little time was recorded outside the ice rink. I was also surprised to gather that the majority of the pages depicted Tillie near the rink, and not actually on the ice. I was most intrigued, however, by the gaps in the bar graph, which symbolized time spent outside the rink. In developing my final data map, I uncovered that nearly all of the novel’s major events took place during these periods, including: Tillie meeting Lindsay, Tillie spending the night with Rae, and Tillie coming out to her parents. Furthermore, it seemed that each of these moments symbolized key developmental stages in Tillie’s life. Nearly every positive interaction within the novel took place outside the ice rink. Meanwhile, events that occurred on and around the ice largely consisted of ruminations, frustrations, and negligible banter.
These quantitative and qualitative findings led me to conclude that Spinning is not really about skating, but about stages of growth in adolescent life. Among the most important of these stages being a struggle to discover, accept, and embrace one’s identity. I have gathered that Tillie’s confinement to the ice rink was more or less a metaphor for her inability to embrace her homosexual identity.
I felt the most appropriate thing to represent this class was the bike, the item we had to attempt to poorly draw in class.
For a little explanation:
The seat is the original literacy narrative that we did. The reason for this is because the seat is what we always relax on and where we feel most comfortable sitting. We don’t like sitting on the handles, the bars, the wheels, or any other part of the bike except for the seat. The literacy narrative, a full blown alphanumeric essay, is what we used to comfort ourselves in this strange new world of analysis through comics and art.
The pedals represent our first major project, Tracing Maus. This project is what helped us start to move on our bike, and get us pedaled in a new direction. This project was cool and interesting enough to attract anyone towards the idea, and attempting to analyze anything to the intricate level that we did will always our eyes to new ideas.
The handlebars are the sketches that are done throughout the whole semester. Though small, these sketches held guide us in the right direction and keep us on track between the major projects. The sketches challenged us to think differently and keep on the path of diving further into the world of comics.
The backwheel is Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang because the back side are those projects that dealt with more alphanumeric ideas. This “side” idea will come into play later.
The front wheel is Mapping Spinning because the front side are those projects that dealt more with the artistic ideas. This “side” idea, again, will come into play later.
The bars in the middle are the draft and final draft of the literacy comic. This is the connecting point between the back side (the alphanumeric) and the front side (the art). It shows that to create a fully functioning bike, you need both ends.
For this project, I tried to simplify the process of converting 3D object into game ready models. It can be a complicated process, but I felt it was hard condensing average 3 hours of work into a sheet of paper. There are a lot of process in conversion. There are finding the actual model itself, manually painting texture on to the bone of the character for movement to be fluid, and hoping that upload of the character actually works. The drawing was also hard to accomplish since my hand drawing is awful. But this was the result for this sketch.
As a kid, I loved legos. I always enjoyed the feeling of putting all the pieces together and gazing at the final sculpture I created. So for this sketch, labeled “assemblies,” I thought there would be nothing more appropriate or personal than drawling a lego man. While keeping the metaphor of a final portfolio and what comprises it in mind, I chose to make side by side drawings of the pieces of a lego man and a completed lego man. The former representing each aspect of the class, and the later being the collective whole.
I chose each leg to be one part of the Literacy Narrative because they are in many ways reflections of one another. In addition, legs are what carry the rest of the body, so without those initial assignments we wouldn’t be able to have progressed. The groin is Tracing Maus because it is the assignment that came between both parts of the Literacy Narrative and helped transition us from only writing to drawling. The torso is represented by our readings because it is the center of the body and is where everything else stems out from. The arms are Comparing Palestine & Pyongyang and Mapping Spinning because they are what we used to further build upon our skills. The hands are sketches and class time because they gave us the dexterity to fine tune our skills throughout the semester. Finally the head is our Final Portfolio because it is where our minds are directed at currently.
For this assignment, I wanted to determine whether the weather has any influence on my general mood. I therefore decided to record the highest daily temperature and my happiness from 0-100 each day. While recording the temperature wasn’t difficult due to its objective nature, determining my mood was totally subjective. However, I tried to keep this consistent so I recorded my mood at 9PM everyday in order to avoid timing bias. When creating the chart, I decided to represent the two sets of data as lines in order to see if there was any visual similarity between the two. Before I began I had thought that if the temperature went up my mood may as well, but this was not the case and the data had a very low correlation. I think the greatest flaw of my project was that temperature doesn’t accurately reflect the general weather outside.
If I were to do this in the future, I would not go about it in the same manner. I would likely try to find a way of quantifying how bright and sunny the day is in addition to temperature because rainy days occur and may have a different impact on my day then I previously realized. In addition, I don’t think the comparison is really fair to begin with. There are so many factors that contribute to happiness, and simply relying on weather won’t truly capture the whole image.
Overall this was an interesting project to take part in and even though it wasn’t particularly telling, taking the time aside to assess my mood was beneficial. Realizing the flaws helped me come to a better personal understanding of happiness and the various facets of my life that contribute to it.