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.
This sketch assignment allowed me to reflect on my growth throughout class. This will certainly help me write my cover letter. I decided to section each major assignment/task that we have competed in class. Then, I proceeded to break down my learning accomplishments from each assignment. I decided to group all the sketch assignments together. Though some were markedly different than others, each one seemed very similar to me. I believe that this is probably because ethyl had similar objectives: to create some sort of visualization. However, it was also because I tend to do all of them around the same time each Sunday. The assignment that I enjoyed breaking down the most was the literacy narrative. The literacy narrative was probably the most challenging assignment, but it incorporated a culmination of everything we learned in class up until now. I also saw, as I broke it down, the growth throughout the assignments. I realized how effective McCloud’s book was in helping me create my literacy narrative. Lastly, I figured that i would include in class lectures. They were blatantly helpful in allowing me to hear a diverse sea of ideas.
When starting this assignment, I was uncertain of what comparisons I would focus on. I was aware of many superficial differences and similarities between the two texts, but I needed to create a visual representation to narrow my focus. So I began the brainstorming process by building a comparison chart. This allowed me to conceptualize their differences in narrative structure. While my initial comparison noted numerous similarities in plot, I began to notice some stark differences in style of narrative. I highlighted Delisle’s use of subtlety in Pyongyang and juxtaposed it with Sacco’s use portrayal of boisterous disarray. While the two texts report journeys through countries where citizens suffer under oppressive regimes, the individual narratives are told in very different ways. I highlight these differences in my final comparison.
For this project I chose to illustrate pastries and cupcakes as a way to visualize our four major projects from this semester. I used pen and watercolor to do this, and showed each pastry as a deconstructed version of itself so that I could label each aspect of it in order to show something about the assignment.
For the Literacy Narrative I chose to show a deconstructed cupcake. The intention was for the cake to symbolize the traditional essay that wrote, and to show that it served as the “base” for the comic (which, in my diagram, was symbolized by frosting). The free writing assignment that we began with, was shown as sprinkles in my drawing. The structural element of learning to create a site page and post this narrative was shown as the cupcake wrapper, because it is the thing that held the project together and allowed us to present our work in a way that was accessible.
Tracing Maus was a cupcake with filling, because it was the first project that made us identify and explain patterns in reading. The filling in the cupcake is representative of the meaning within the repeated images or modes of expression that we chose to analyze.
Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang was a sandwich cupcake to show the construction of the parallel argument that we utilized in comparing these two texts.
Finally, Mapping Spinning was a cinnamon roll. I wanted to show that the meat of this assignment was the counting and analysis, and that the final product (the charts and visualization) was the secondary part of the process. I did this by indicating that the roll itself was the counting and analysis and by showing the data visualization as the “icing on top”.
I chose to do a pseudo-cake recipe because of all the integral parts involved in cake making. All of the ingredients represent different parts of this class. Larger parts of the cake, such as the flour and sugar, represent main assignments like Spinning and Tracing Maus. Smaller portions represent daily activities and Sunday Sketches. All of the “ingredients” came together to supply the parts for the cover letter and reflection, or the “cake” of this assignment.
For my 11th sketch, I decided to frame all the assignments we did this year as components of an eye. Over the course of this semester, I learned a lot about the possibilities and the depth of graphic novels. I thought a good way to show what I learned would be through a literal eye. I broke down the 4 major assignments we did this year to show how they helped me learn about graphic novels:
Tracing Maus: After reading our first graphic novel, Maus, I was shocked. I didn’t know that graphic novels could be so serious, deep and dense. By tracing it, I analyzed the pages closely and it helped “open my eyes” to the diversity and potential of graphic novels, just like an eye-lid open the eye to the world.
Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang: After Maus we read two graphic novels which, although they shared a similar style, they approached and used the medium in very different ways. By comparing and contrasting the two, I saw how flexible and customizable the genre is, similar to how the iris filters light and allows different colors and shades to be seen.
Literacy narrative: After reading and studying a few graphic novels, we wrote and illustrated our own mini-novels and I was able to understand the struggle in writing, planning and creating a graphic novel. This is similar to the pupil/the back of the eye, where light is processed and turned into something comprehensible.
Mapping Spinning: The last graphic novel we read was Spinning, which we analyzed for some non-obvious pattern. It was an exercise in seeking underlying messages and themes of graphic novels to understand the depth they can have. It was a fascinating process where we looked past the surface for patterns. (Not really sure what the white part of the eyeball does but it felt fitting to put the mapping Spinning assignment there…)
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
Looking closely at the Cocktail Construction Visualization allowed me to realize how to go about this overwhelming sketch assignment. At first glance, the different patterns and shapes scattered throughout the page were extremely confusing. but, I then noticed the key that tied together what each drink consisted of. Making a key and laying out all eleven Sunday Sketches, four graphic novels, and six larger assignments allowed me to visualize common factors for each part of this Visual Literature Freshman English Class.
Making the key of common themes of this course and deciphering which projects included each category was sort of challenging. While some are simple such as “creative approach” and “storytelling”, I felt as though they had to be included to show the theme of this class as a whole. In addition, I used the three course outcomes to frame some other parts. Knowing which projects formed my skill on revision and reframing projects, taught me how to use a new rhetoric technique of visual representational storytelling, and included textual analysis to strengthen my writing skills will be extremely useful for my Reflection Cover Letter.
Framing this “Assemblies” assignment uncovered a lot of the synthesis of this class as a whole. A big example of this took place with the “Data Analysis” section of my key. Our last two assignments- Data Visualization in Your Everyday Life and Mapping Spinning- were the two obvious data analysis projects we completed during this semester. However, looking back at the coursework allowed me to realize that this theme has been consistent. I have interpreted Tracing Maus and Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang to also include this type of skill in more of a textual way instead of visual. For example, though we close read individual pages of Maus for the assignment, the overall project of making three connections that encompass the novel as a whole track data throughout the entire layered story. In addition, comparing and contrasting Palestine verse Pyongyang forced me to uncover similar themes consistent throughout the novel and track their relevances in retrospect to each novel.
The sunday sketches as a whole show the diversity of visual representations. Many include personal representations of myself in non-traditional ways. Who would have thought a cartoon avatar, photo of what I carry in my backpack from day to day, or “True Story” would mirror a personal narrative. As a whole, this course has gone beyond boundaries of a traditional english class.