The Secret Language of Comics

Sketch 11: Assemblies

A Well-Established Literacy Is Like A Stone Pagoda.

To best describe my achievement in ENGRD101 this semester, I must allude it to a stone pagoda. Step by step, I learned and added new layers of literary knowledge like upbuilding each story of the tower. Like anonymous writers/journalists who are identified with their pen names, making my blog and avatar was the first step that, in some ways, introduced me to the literary world and have appropriate Digital Citizenship. Then, chronologically, I was able to learn Visual Thinking through Sunday Sketches, Writing as Process through the 3 parts of Literacy Narrative, and Critical Thinking through Halfa Kucha. As a tall tower that can only be built with a solid foundation, acquiring the aforementioned outcomes helped me achieve the final goal of Rhetorical Composition.

Sketch 10: Mix Tape

Gloomy Night, Gloomy Song

To be honest, I hardly listened to the newest music recently and am unaware of the current hit songs. About 2 years ago, when I listened to music the most, I did follow the trend, knew various popular songs, and discovered even some Sound-Cloud songs from the underground singers/rappers, but not anymore.

However, from the time when I started listening to music, I had made about 5 playlists of which the first 2 mainly consisted of exciting songs and sad songs, which I listen to at the gym and on my bed at night, respectively. I remember I was listening to the second one for the majority of the time in the last two years in high school. As I became 12th grade, the academic expectations around me skyrocketed, and I was not able to play sports like before. Listening to sad emotional songs after finishing my work at night was one of the small ways I relieved my stress. Now, a year later from the time, I again often feel void and become emotional after finishing my work at night.

Hence, in today’s playlist, I picked from the previous playlists and composed it with songs that would comfort one’s gloomy night. The rhetorical situation is people’s gloom due to various reasons such as death, breaking up, unrequited loving, and many others that can be all consoled with this playlist.

The picture for the album cover is the view of the daybreak from my room which I took myself. I actually had used it as a background picture in sharing songs before. The dark buildings, orange border, and navy sky pointed by the wire still make me be lost in thought. Also, I thought the picture looked ambiguous, being either from dawn or from dusk, which also gives an mysterious impression of the time.

Sketch 9: Recreate a movie scene

Well-Placed Jaehyuk

For recreating a movie scene for Sketch 9, it was really hard to decide on a movie scene in the first place. I wanted it to be something that I was an ordinary person could imitate but have the element that I can give as a point that indicates the scene that I am referring to. To me, it was the film Parasite. I asked my sister for help and with consent took a picture in the garden. Also, I added mosaic-like rectangles to cover the eyes like in the poster. As a side note, the reason behind the covered eyes in the poster is considered to veil the emotion of each character. Also, the white and black colors represent the rich and the poor. The best part of the assignment was that I got my own meme from it.

Sketch 8: Data viz from everyday life

How Much Happy Am I?

For Sketch 8, I wanted to know my happiness for each day, which I think would be higher if the day becomes closer to my ideal schedule. I gathered my data about stress level, productivity, meal satisfaction, sleeping hours, and satisfaction of the day for 8 days. For Stress Level, Productivity, Meal Satisfaction, and Satisfaction of the Day, I qualitatively evaluated it myself out of 10 at the end of the day, and for Hours of Sleep or Nap, I quantitatively recorded hours that I slept or napped as soon as I woke up.

I believed that my happiness, regarding how close it is to my ideal schedule, consisted of low and stable stress level, somewhat productivity, high meal satisfaction, and moderate sleep and nap. However, I think the results were quite unexpected.

The first thing that was easily notable and expected was the high stress level in general. I regard it was due to the final period I was in. In the pretext, the stress level was significantly inversely proportional to the hours of sleep I took, and I believe it does reinforce what I thought previously. I did feel much stress when my 8-hours weren’t assured. However, what surprised me the most was that the satisfaction of the day did not explain the stress level, as much I thought it would. In the days when stress level recorded the highest, 10, the satisfaction of the day rose. My conjecture is that the prospect of the vacation and that the assignments and exams are almost over have affected the satisfaction of each day disregarding the stress level of that moment. I think it could be understood as having clear motivation may increase the satisfaction of the day even in times when there is too much work to do. Also, I noticed the correlation between meal satisfaction and satisfaction of the overall day. I did not know that meal was so important to my happiness.

I was able to learn impressive new facts and suspected correlations between my variables. These data are important to me as I would experience stress throughout my life. However, as I noticed factors such as hopeful prospects (motivation) and meal satisfaction can ‘make my day’ that may boost my happiness even in stressful times, I believe I can use relevant methods to live healthier satisfactory days.

Literary Narrative: Part 3 Reflection

The Literary Narrative from part 1 to part 3 was the longest project that I have done in class this semester. At large, I believe it helped me meet 2 learning outcomes in general; Practice writing as a process, recursively implementing strategies of research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection; Use technology rhetorically and appropriately, and engage responsibly in online spaces. From the x page pre-writing to the Literacy Narrative: Part 3, the process of finishing literary narrative always included returning to the previous stage. As I learned new things and opened my eyes in different perspectives (mainly in Part2), I had to go back and apply the new ideas in my mind. My draft constantly changed through continuous editing until the end of the completion. For the second outcome, I think it was an opportunity to lower my reluctance in using technology. For example, I never had a experience using iPad to draw. However, as I was pushed a make a output and as I did not want to compromise the quality, there was no choice but to get used to using technologies. Not to mention the individual blogs I had to make and google the functions that I wanted to additionally use.

In part 3, I had to go back to literary narrative part 1 and apply with the ideas that I had while working on part 2. Frankly speaking, I think part 3 was somewhat done before part 2 in my head or at least was done spontaneously. As making comics directly involve visualizing the images, I wanted my story to have more imergery in part 3. Also, after finishing part 2, I thought my previous work had a scene of recollection which gives an unnecessary twist in time. In the part 3, I changed it to reflect the actual chronological order.

If my previous work was more like giving tips through how I learned my language (although I never intended it), I believe it is more like an coming of age story of me where I realize the truth about life. I think it has more depth compared to the previous work which only focused on my acquisition of languages.

Literacy Comic Reflection

Literacy Narrative Comic <The Railway Journey> was the first assignment that I lost the track of time this semester. It was not because it was boring or seemed endless. Rather, it was because I was immersed in drawing. In fact, one day, I went to the library at sunrise and came out at sunset while being unaware that such a long time has passed.

However, at first, I worried about the pages and numbers of the drawings I had to do. I never have drawn for more than 5 hours since I was really young, and did not know that I was able to make such a piece. However, after starting drawing and finishing the first page, I gained confidence that I would be able to finish the whole comic while the panels represent the scene that I wanted to show. I think it was even more interesting as it was about my own story. I was able to reconfirm my burning desire for creation which I haven’t felt for a long time.

In the beginning, I had to summarize my story from Literacy part 1. I chose what to focus in each page and divided the summarized story into 4. Then, I determined how many panels of what shape to use and the angle of perspective(choice of frame) for some specific panels that came into my mind. After, I started drawing as aforementioned.

When the drawing was complete, I used my summarized story which was divided into 4, and started writing text. I sometimes used inside-panel text boxes, to separate from the normal texts and to give emphasis. Also, there is a speech bubble that invades two panels. It was a visual representation of the ear-splitting noise my cousin made at the time. Also, the panel – full of an enlarged page of a book and the highlighted words with their corresponding Korean meaning – was partially inspired by Fun Home.

After finishing 4 pages, I felt that the ending was too weak with no lasting meanings. I wanted it to have something metaphorical like in the ending of Stitches. However, I was not able to find a satisfying method. After a few days, while talking with a friend about a totally different topic, I said something like “effort does not always fairly pay off. Although we think it does, after achieving something, although we think we have been always going straight, we all took a detour to some extent at some point. At least for me, it was.” On the way back to my room, what I said resonated within my mind. From then, it did not take long for me to take the idea and metaphorically combine it with the train rail which has twists and turns however we think we are going straight while riding a train.

If I were to work on a similar assignment in the future, I would like to put more time into paint colors and include light and shade. I believe it would facilitate a more vivid delivery of the story. Also, I would use more variety of panels. After finishing it, the shape of the panels in the first two pages looked too monotonous.

Overall, it was a very exciting assignment. I was able to actually apply the concepts of comics that I read and discussed in class. I believe it was very different from the previous activities which focused on analyzing the given comic. It was an opportunity to be in the shoes of the author, which may help me understand the author’s motives and even the comic itself when reading them in the future.

Reflection: Tracing Stitches and Fun Home

Tracing and analyzing Stitches and Fun Home (Similar Problem, Different Solutions) was the most challenging assignment so far.

As the instruction asked for elements that I have not quite thought of when reading, I had to briefly reread the book again. This time, I focused on the use of constituents that only comics have such as the panel and gutter. I think such perspective helped me understand and see the part of comics that I was missing.

Even after rereading it, I had a hard time planning the essay. It was extremely difficult to select a page from each book. I was strangely captured by the thought that I had to choose a single page that would somehow represent the whole book. I think I may have overthought here, which impacted the overall assignment afterward.

With doubt, I chose two pages and started to brainstorm in a planning document. In this process, I had to overturn my decision several times as I was not satisfied with where it was heading. In hindsight, I probably should have done with it. On my third attempt, I chose the current pages and started analyzing. As it was my third time tracing the pages, I had no left spaces on the tracing paper, and I had to use my iPad. By repetitively tracing, I noticed a few things like the use of lines. Some were rougher and some were smoother. Also, color-wise some looked like water paintings and they often crossed the panels and invaded gutters.

For analysis, I initially thought of ultimately linking my analysis with the quotes from Chute, and accordingly, I skimmed through her books again. However, at first, I was not able to find any groundbreaking rule that penetrates not only the selected pages but also the whole book and the literary world of comics. There was a moment where I tried applying the symphonic effect for layout or use of symbolism which I thought would give a pretty nice analysis and would be easy to be broadened and generalize in the conclusion. However, it did not fit with the reason I picked the current page. While I was in trouble, it suddenly reminded me of the gist of the instruction: understanding and applying, the name of our website, The Secret Language of Comics. After all, it surely was a secret.

After, rather than finding fancy terms or known effects of certain layouts, I analyzed the panel itself, one by one, which is quite opposite of the symphonic effect. I looked for the purpose of each panel and tried to understand the intention of the author. In such a way, I was able to find meaningful patterns.

The writing itself again was easier than the previous painful process. However, the conclusion where my thesis is in ABT format as the instructions was hard to write. It was very interesting but also hard at the same time to use ABT format thesis in the final paragraph. Also, besides the thesis statement being introduced at last, as it had to contain statements that embrace broader aspects of comics, I felt that the essay is broadening unlike other essays of mine.

In general, it was a useful time that developed a new perspective in seeing comics, but to be honest, it was also very difficult.

Halfa Kucha Reflection

The start of the Halfa Kucha project was similar to that of an essay. First, I chose two books: that being Stitches and Sabrina. Then, I organized the analysis points that I wanted to address in my planning document.

However, it did not take long until I realized that each of my points was too long to squiz in 20 seconds and too few to make 10 slides. Then I reformated it so that it would have 1 starting slide, 4 slides of why or how characters obtained trauma, and 5 slides of how characters recovered from it.

After I finalized the outline, I had to select pages of the book that corresponded to the points. It was possible to write points first and select the pages as I remembered the content of the books pretty well.

With specific points and pages for each slide, I was able to write a script. This was relatively easiest and took the shortest. However, as I started to record myself, I had to dedicate much in summarizing the content. All of the words in the script seemed meaningful to me, so the process of eliminating some of them was a painful backbreaker. I believe this was the main difference between the Halfa Kucha and a normal essay.

In terms of the design for the slides, I did not feel much need to dedicate much as the photos from the comic decorated them. Rather, for slides that I used many photos, I tried to make them seem uniform.

Although the specific format of Halfa Kucha – 20sec per slide and 10 slides total – was new to me, sometimes being uncomfortable and unfamiliar in doing the project, I believe it had some advantages after all. It helped me make a concise argument without any euphuistic phrases. As each point generally ended in one slide, I believe it was easier to understand for the audience too.