The side by side comparison of Stitches and Spinning was helpful in creating a thesis about the two works. By putting them next to each other, it made realize how important color is to communicating a theme. My thesis is that the Elements of Art are significant in the representation of a visual theme. Both works create an ominous, cynical theme where the protagonist is facing struggle. This is clearly evident in the illustration of stitches.
This is my traced representation of the last frame I drew. In the book, he is literally facing his struggle: his vocal cord. I tried to make the image show that, but, in doing so, the vocal cord looks like an eye. I wanted to show a literal more clear as he is literally looking at his problem dead in the eye. This metaphor coincides with bildungsroman as it is an important step to coming of age. By doing so, he is addressing his problem, and, from here, will have to learn to adapt and live with it.
As I was looking over my annotations, it occurred to me how relevant color was in the work. Many of the elements of art coincide with color. For example, the darker lines, the dark background, and the usage of positive and negative space.
Here are four of the fifteen frames from the tracing. Obviously, color has a tremendous impact on the mood. The first three frames are bare of any color as Walden was alone, waiting in the dark. Finally, a car comes to get her and the color is there. The juxtaposition of color, makes it flow from sadness, to a glint of optimism.
This assignment definitely helped understand a new language. I didn’t realize the impact color really had on texts. Expanding to movies as well. For example, in Star Wars there is a literal “Dark Side,” where the antagonists appear in dark colors. The project helped me get a deeper understanding of the underlying issued the protagonists had in their childhood, and how hard it must have been to overcome them.
The two graphic novels Stitches, by David Small, and Spinning, by Tillie Walden, are memoirs about bildungsroman. The coming to age of the two respective protagonists are have many similarities, although the stories are each unique. For started, both protagonists encounter similar trauma, whether it be emotional or physical. Small makes it evident from the beginning that he has no role models in his life, few people he can talk to, and an absence of any emotional support. This makes him feel isolated. As a result, Small is an incredibly introverted and quiet child. That being said, he is not the only one in this graphic novel who endures trauma or pain. It is clear that a common theme in the novel is suffering. This is shown by basically every character small writes about. Both parents seem to hate their life and family. Even the therapists seems to have underlying troubles. The significant aspect of this is David’s parents oblivion to this. For example, once David is recovered from his surgery, he begins to go down a dark path. Instead of trying to get help for David, his parents send him to boarding school as they believe he is a “normal, rebellious teenager.” The fact that his parents can’t even realize he is suffering plays a pivotal role in how his behavior. He begins to go on an ever-looping, depressed cycle where his life continues to unravel and fall apart in front of him. This dark cycle parallels the youth of Walden. Walden practically had the same day on repeat throughout her childhood. She would wake up incredibly early, skate, go to school, skate again, and go home. Similar to David’s reading, skating was Walden’s safe place from the trauma and unpleasantness that surrounded her.
Chute points out that authors like to tell stories of themselves as children. By doing this, they are opening up to their audience about the root of a lot of their underlying issues. They display this darkness through a literal lack of color in their illustrations. The two scenes I chose to trace and annotate are from the early childhood of both characters.
Both scenes use positive and negative light to show an ominous tone. The juxtaposition of darkness and light creates a transparent mood of sadness and shows a repetition of depression. Likewise, both illustrations feature a focal point where the subject is the clear target as they are scaled largely in comparison to the background and foreground. Another similarity is in the shading. For the most part, both illustrations use only the whiteness of the paper and different shades of dark gray or black. They use the dark black to outline the other objects in the scene. However, there is still gray shading to show the subject. Overall, the two scenes are very dark which displays the trauma which the two protagonist endured throughout their childhood. Focusing on stitches, the usage of lines shows that David is somewhat in motion. The other lines show that he is in some sort of crevice or cave as the lines are curved and move around the focal point. Small takes up a whole page with just three frames. The transitions are frank and go in chronological order, as small is delving deeper into the crevice. The crevice is actually his own mouth, and he is looking at his recently clipped vocal cord. By using only three frames, Small makes it clear that this is a significant point in the story. This is the point when David goes from being able to talk, to not being able to ever verbally communicate again. In contrast, Walden includes a bunch of small frames, showing small changes. The changes show an actual movement, similar to a flip book. That being said, there is one very large frame which takes up a quarter of the page. The frame shows her sitting alone in the dark, waiting for a ride. The reason this is big is because it displays a level of sadness to the audience as she is sad and vulnerable.
Creating this comic has targeted multiple learning outcomes related to this class. After creating the rough draft, I had my class peers review it and give me feedback on what to revise and improve on. While my peers critiqued my comic, I also reviewed other peer’s comics as well and gave my own opinions on what they should work on. This exchange of positive criticism targets the learning outcome, writing as process, as I learned to provide constructive criticism for others’ works and learned to receive feedback with an open mind. Additionally, it took me several drafts until I finalized my comic and I had to revise it multiple times. Another learning outcome that this literacy narrative overlaps is digital citizenship. Since I am a poor drawer and drawing is an essential component to comics, so I would search up creative common licensed pictures online and use those images as a guide for my own drawings. This insures that I am not copyrighting other people’s intellectual properties. This comic process allowed me to practice being a good digital citizen.
I found it hard to write my literacy narrative as a comic because there were a lot more factors to consider. I had to use certain choice of moments that would emphasize what I was trying to convey. For example, I wanted to emphasize how hard it was for me to write summaries of the chapters I read in books by utilizing the choice of moment, moment to moment. In the second page of my comic, there are five panels dedicated to illustrate my struggles in writing and they are all moment to moment panels. When the visual components were added, I realized there is a lot more emotion involved with my literacy narrative. During the process of creating the comic, I had to take consideration in the choice of image used and the emotion I had to convey through facial expressions within my panels. In my literacy narrative, I wrote about how my parents were concerned with my lack of ability in expressing my thoughts. On the other hand, in my comic I had to show my parents’ concern through visuals. I did this by drawing my parents’ facial expressions that displayed confusion and concern.
I focused a lot on choice of image for this comic to convey what was going on in my head when I tried to write a summary about a chapter in a book or when I tried to explain to my mom what happened at school. I tried to illustrate the racing thoughts that were going on in mind by drawing a panel that zoomed in on my head and a tornado inside my head. The tornado symbolizes the racing thoughts. Another example of choice of image is the panels that focus on my parent’s facial expressions. In one of the panels, it is zoomed in on my mom’s confused face. To further exemplify her confusion, I also drew question marks around her head. This close up angle of my mom’s face was an intentional choice of frame as I wanted the reader to focus on my mom’s bewildered facial response when I told her about my day in school. One thing I would like to add more if I did have the resources and skills is speech bubbles. In Spinning, there were a lot of speech bubbles that provided more conversations between the characters. In my comic, there is barely any conversation and I would want to add more to make the comic more flavorful and keep the reader interested.
I decided to recreate a movie scene from one of my favorite movies, Taken. I tried to recreate Bryan Mill’s confused/worried facial expression when he is on the phone with his kidnapped daughter. Since the movie is from 2008, the video quality is not the best, so I tried to mirror the quality by taking the picture on my cheap Motorola instead of my friend’s iPhone.
For my last Sunday Sketch assignment, I chose to draw a tower to show the learning objectives that I have learned in this class. The bottom of the tower is composed of digital citizenship, since using technology appropriately is the most basic and important part to be engaged in the online class via zoom. Rhetorical composition is on the top, because all other objectives are the strategies that are needed for the rhetorical composition. I could compose texts in multiple genres by fulfilling writing as process, critical thinking, and visual thinking.