Before COVID-19 struck us here in the U.S., I was still debating on what college I would declare to attend by Decision Day, but there was one thing that I knew for sure would occur to me no matter where I decided to go: I am super awkard and shy so it’s always usually pretty hard for me to interact with strangers and make acquaintances and/or friends right away. However, COVID made its grand and unwelcomed appearance and suddenly whatever that “traditional college freshman year experience” is was completely revamped. Whatever little insignificant expectation I had—such as “I’m going to get lost trying to find my classes”—was thrown out the window. So, basically my only expectation still standing was “it’s going to be awkard and tough meeting new people and making friends”, even more so given that all my classes were through zoom regardless of my geographical status living on campus that first semester. As expected, I did not make more than one new (1) friend and one (1) new solid acquaintance who I felt comfortable and not awkard interacting with. I’ve grown up, preferring to be solo most of the time, yet something about living in a place that I had previously seen pictures of, with crowds of people, and feeling confined to my dorm room by myself made feelings of isolation skyrocket—surpassing my expectation of “loneliness”.
I had lots of trouble crafting my narrative. First off, I did not even know what to write about—to make up a scenario or to go with something based on personal experience? i decided to go through my photos first and see if I could get some inspiration and surely, I did. Yet, again, it always has to do with sky pictures with me, so at first, I was planning on writing about my trips to my house’s rooftop to view the sunsets. But, upon coming across a photo I took at the lonely Quad last semester—photo that I really like too—I knew I wanted to use it and split it for my three panels. At first, I was not able to figure out an efficient way to split my photo evenly and adding the text, until I remembered two apps I used before: one to split a panorama photo so I could post it on instagram “completely” and Phonto to add the text on the images. Coming up with the “caption” was the next challenging thing. Having selected the photo, thinking back to the emotions I had that day I took it, I knew I wanted to write about that topic but I wasn’t sure how to convey it, so I pondered over it for a while, until I decided to just make it the simplest I could. Crafting this triptych it felt very similar to the process of creating my literative narrative comic rough draft; I had to think about the choice of wording and the choice of frame—I purposely cropped my photo so the chair would be on a panel by its own—to convey my story.
This Sunday sketch was a bit challenging but I enjoyed it! The examples provided through the instructions were very cool and instantly reminded me of a forced perspective assignment I once had in my high school photography class. I find forced perspective photography much more difficult compared to this assignment though because I have to find actual items I can physically work with, which can limit my ideas. On the other hand, I have the entire internet and CC licensed images to work with for this assignment—the slightly challenging part is just deciding what photos to use and how. I remember, for that forced perspectives photography assignment, I had used a small teapot, held it out, and aligned it with a light cloud on the sky so it looked like steam coming out from it. Initally, I wanted to recreate that, but this time “digitally” using photos from Flickr—I found the prettiest teapots—but I could not find an appropriate cloud photo, so I started going through my own camera roll of endless sky photos. As I scrolled through, I found some sunset photos I took last semester while I was on campus, and then a new idea hit me. When I showed my mom those photos a few months back, she had mentioned how the clouds looked like some sort of explosion, so I decided to switch up my idea—just a bit, still on the topic of some sort of steam coming out from something—and looked for volcano photos on Flickr. I was not finding any that I thought were good, until I came across this one of the Ometepe Volcano in Nicaragua, and I just knew it was perfect.
I used Picsart to crop the volcano and put it over my photo; I also darkened the silhouettes in my photo. Then I used Polarr to add a filter on the image.
While creating my notes, I felt like I struggled more than necessary since I tend to consider myself a visual learner. I suppose it’s because I feel like I can usually learn or remember something being taught with a visual already provided by somebody else—sometimes I will just tweak it to accommodate for myself. Not only did I struggle with coming up with proper and somewhat efficient visuals, I also struggled with deciding what info I should even mainly focus on/worry about including. By doing this Sunday sketch, it only emphasized the fact that I do not know how to study since all I want to do—when there’s motivation—are pretty color-coded handwritten notes, as well as making me realize I should include visuals in my notes when possible—my memory as a whole is terrible but I reckon I usually try to rely on photographic memory for many things, especially closed-book/note tests. The idea of visual notes is fun, but the fact that it’s time consuming and I left it till the last minute made it a little less fun.
This assignment made me feel several different emotions, among them some stress and realization. In my narrative, I wrote about one of the first books I ever remember reading, how I spent most of my time as an elementary student reading to keep up with reading logs, and how I feel like I barely have time to read for fun now. I also wrote about how I am not the most fond of writing since early on, especially when it comes to writing about myself, but yet will end up past the word limit and struggle with cutting back—which literally happened with the assignment itself and still went about 15 words over the limit…
I don’t know if it was because I did not find a way to incorporate my freewrite from the pre-writing exercise or if I simply did not have words to spare but that freewrite did not make the cut. The pre-writing exercise did seem helpful while I was listing out the memories and doing the 20 questions for one of them, but then the 10-minute free-write just did not feel like enough (or maybe I am just a slow writer, still holding back from just fully freewriting, worrying about how to word things). My freewrite did not go much past half one page and I think it was simply not enough detail including any of the information from the 20 questions, so it felt like a bummer and I felt like it was cheating if I went past writing for 10 minutes. Once I started writing my narrative though, I actually just ended up incorporating a few different of my other 10 memories I had listed, so in that sense the pre-writing exercise definitely helped.
When skimming over the prompt a week ago, I originally planned to start brainstorming ideas early on in the week—however that did not happen. I was sitting at my desk earlier this afternoon, spun slowly on my chair, and scanned everything visible in my room from that corner, trying to spot something that could get my imagination going ASAP. It took about two full turns before I spotted the roll of tape I dropped behind my desk earlier this week and forgot to pick it back up. The shape of the tape dispenser first made me instantly think of those little kid wooden toy cars, but I couldn’t think of how I could incorporate a sketch to that. Still pondering on the thought of transportation, it hit me it also looked like a carriage, so I looked up images of horse-drawn carriages to confirm my sketch idea—I got started right away.
I used a photograph of some wedding horse-drawn carriage to reference when sketching the horse—I love drawing animals, so this was definitely my favorite part to do and I took a bit more time working on it. On the other hand, I do not enjoy drawing people in any other way other than simply as a circle head and rectangle body, so I got that part done in seconds. For the hand-drawn portions, I used a No.2 wooden pencil. For the “carriage”, I used the tape roll dispenser and when I realized I could not draw wheels over the carriage, I ripped apart my kneaded eraser into two separate pieces, rolled them up, and stuck them on the tape dispenser.
When thinking of ideas for what my avatar should be or include, I felt like I had several to choose from. However, once I started to look for appropriately licensed images, most of my ideas were cut back so I started to rethink and decided to maybe do a collage with photos I have taken myself. My hobby and liking of photography began sometime in middle school (I want to say around seventh grade) when I started to take pictures of the sky—whether it was because I thought the clouds or sunset color(s) of it looked cool. I started to take photography “more seriously” and expanded my range of what I photographed after enrolling in a photography course my sophomore year of high school. I like taking pictures of flowers/plants after it rains because they have cute little water droplets all over, I also like taking pictures of cool/pretty architecture (a decently large section of my camera roll during the dates of fall semester consists of Emory buildings). But, the type of pictures that still dominate my camera roll are sky photos so I used one of many—which was a very difficult decision as well—for the background of my avatar.
I was thinking of simply adding my name on the sky picture, but then I thought that would be a bit too plain—even though I consider myself to be a minimalist. I named my website mieldiez which is the direct Spanish translation of Honey10. Honey10 is the name for fans of the K-Pop group UP10TION, which is my top favorite group. I have been a fan of UP10TION since 2016 and have made many memories that are dear to me through the years as a fan of them, so I decided to do a doodle of their lightstick—which is technically a fancy battery-powered glowstick for concerts—and included my name in it. The doodle was a bit difficult, yet fun, to do since I am not very skilled nor used to doing digital art; when I draw, it has mainly been traditional art.