The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

Final Sunday Sketch: We are The Avengers

Although the diagram does not depict the entirety of the analogy, I related our class to the Avengers. The class itself is the Avengers themselves. This is pretty self explanatory because they are the main characters, and I am a selfish teenager who is the center of my own world. That would make Nick Fury, the leader of the Avengers, David Morgen. Nick Fury is also considered an Avenger, just as David participates in class discussions as if he were a student. The villains of this story and the class are the stories that we read. The books that we read in class were all enjoyable, and if there were no villains in the Avengers, the movies would not be interesting at all. The books are also the main ‘challenge’ we have to face as a class, discussing our way through them in order to ‘defeat’ or understand their entirety. The tracing pages assignment would be the tragic backstory of each character. Each avenger has their own tragic backstory that motivated and taught them how to defeat villains, just as the tracing pages assignment helped me learn to analyze the stories we read. The Sunday Sketches were the training montages for the class. Although they were unrelated to the main assignments and novels, they were still integral parts of the class, just as training montages are in the movies.

Here is a link to the rubric!

Literacy Narrative 3: Reflection

The two Learning Outcomes that this project helped me meet for this class were writing as a process and visual thinking. For writing as a process, this project had three drafts, each with their own twists. As opposed to a normal essay, where I would go through edits, making the alphabetic text feel more like my writing, this assignment’s edits helped me change direction entirely. During my first draft, I wrote a pretty straight forward story, that just gave the plot and the lesson I learned. During the second draft (the comic itself), I knew that this strategy wouldn’t suffice. I made the story unique by adding comedy through the pictures. This made the story easier to read, not to mention more interesting. For my final draft, I knew it would be hard to transfer the comedy added through the pictures back to alphabetic text, but I tried my best. This connects to the learning outcome of visual thinking. Being able to transfer my alphabetic text to a visual comic helped me turn the original text into something more unique and interesting.

Returning to the alphabetic text after writing a visual comic was difficult. The process of turning the comedy shown solely in my pictures into text was a challenge, but I think I dealt with it properly. I ended up adding similes and analogies in my text to describe the pictures in my visual text. This hopefully lightened the mood of my text.

Honestly, I do not really see the story that I was trying to tell in different terms. I knew my story from start to finish, I just had a harder time putting that story on paper. Turning the alphabetic text into visual definitely helped me make that vision into a reality.

Here is a link to the rubric for the reflection!

Here is a link to the Literacy Narrative Itself!

Thanksgiving Football: Sawyer Steinmiller

I am going to preface this by saying that I did this assignment late because I left extremely early for Thanksgiving break. I knew that I wanted my comic to be about something that happened on my trip back home. I knew that writing about my Thanksgiving football game would be the best idea because it was just about the only thing that I did besides taking care of family. Honestly, telling the story was not as hard as I thought it would be. This format of a comic was super easy and fun to use. I think the most important choice that I made when making this comic was how I revealed information through the size of the panel. The first couple panels set the scene, showing a football game. The next two panels reveal that its a high stakes play in a high stakes game with the scoreboard and crowd, and the fifth and final panel reveals that the whole scenario is in my mothers head, while she watches me face plant when trying to make a catch.

Here is a link to the rubric!

Literacy Narrative Reflection Post: Sawyer Steinmiller

It was a lot more difficult creating my literacy narrative as a comic. I have written so many alphabetic essays in the past, so using the medium of a comic was a different process. My story was a lot different in comic form than in alphabetic text. For my literacy narrative part one, the story had little to no emotion in it- there really wasn’t that much plot to me editing the story, but in comic form, I added lots of comedy. This made the story a lot more down to earth. Before, I saw this as a serious turning point in my writing career. After adding comedy to the story, it seemed more relaxing and lighthearted. Honestly, my analytical process was the exact same, but when revising my alphabetic text, I think I am going to try my best to add comedy in it as well. It works very well for my comic so I might as well try my best to mimic that.

I made a lot of difficult choices when curating my comic. I chose to add comedy, which was not in my alphabetic text. I did this because I knew my artwork or the plot itself were not the most intricate, and I knew I needed something to stand out. Comedy comes pretty naturally to me when I have time to plan out the humor. I really tried to focus on the facial reactions of the characters; putting real emotion into my characters faces is something that could have made the story even more funny. If I had more time, resources or even a professional illustrator, I would have them work on my facial reactions. There were not many aspects of my comic where I had a clear sense of what I was trying to accomplish and I think that I failed at that. I think the only instance where I could have made a change was in the third page where I tried to draw me in my room shrieking nonsense, while my mom listens in confusion through the door. If I were to have more time and skills, I would have made the shot from above so you have a clear view of me and my mom, making both of us the focus instead of just my mom.

I think that this project really helped me with my writing process. Writing this project as a comic has helped me realize what I can change about my alphabetic text in order to make it better. Adding comedy to my essay would do exactly what I am telling the reader to do in my comic- it would give it my voice!

What Should I Do Throughout My Day to Play Better Chess?

I tried to figure out what things throughout my day impacted how I played chess. I always play about an hour of chess everyday, so I decided to record how many wins, losses and draws I had and the types of games that I played. Sometimes I would win or lose based on an outplay but other times it would end because a player ran out of time. I also recorded how I spent my day and how happy I was to see if there was any correlation.

In terms of results, I found out that I won more games and better games (outplay oriented instead of time oriented) when I studied more, had more classes and had more physical activity. The physical activity makes sense but the studying and classes surprised me. I thought I would be tired of thinking from classes and slack off in chess, but that didn’t seem to be the case. I am also surprised that sleep and mood did not play a huge role for my win loss ratio. I was also surprised that my puzzle rush score (a chess related warm up game that I played before my games) did not correlate with any of the statistics as well.

I was able to answer the question that I asked. What I do throughout my day definitely impacts how I play chess. Rating my day on a scale of 1-10 was super difficult because my mood fluctuates heavily throughout the day and it was hard to find an unbiased point where I could logically rank it. I chose the three graphs as shown below to organize and compare my data. The first two graphs organize the data shown in the charts below. I made the first chart by category as opposed to by day because there were too many categories in play. My third graph is analysis of the data. I made it to compare day by day instead of by category. These visualizations show that I am a very logical person and love ranking things. I am always the type of person to rank just about everything in my day to day life. I think I would go about this experiment similarly; I would just add social interaction with friends. I think there might be some correlation there. In my opinion, this was a very valuable tool for self analysis!

Here is a link to the rubric!

Human Document: Sawyer Steinmiller


I really struggled on this assignment (I am turning it in a day late). First of all, my Dad was here for all of parents weekend and I only see him a couple of weeks out of the year; because of this, I didn’t start my homework until 5 PM on Sunday, and I started this assignment at about 11 PM on Sunday Night. I went through all of the submissions and was truly blown away. Unlike the previous Sunday Sketches, it really seemed like everyone was an artist. It really stressed me out, and in a frenzy, I decided to go to bed instead of finishing the assignment. When actually making the page, I just started drawing away with Ore at Complex. When looking back on my work today, I decided to totally scrap that and start over. I then spent about 2 hours reading the pages, trying to find some sort of meaning in a somewhat random assortment of words. I ended up choosing something that I would not have written about in a million years. In my avatar post, I explained about how instead of reflecting on lows in my life, I was going to try and reflect on the highs in order to keep my mental health strong throughout the year. Instead of doing that, I dug deep to one of my lowest lows. This page is about when I was in a forced abusive relationship for about a year. I am not going to go into too much detail, but I try and make my point about how the relationship was abusive in a physical and emotional way. I tried my best to draw gravestones in the center of the page. Her gravestone is what kept me bound to the relationship and my gravestone is actually being in the relationship itself. Overall, I am pretty disappointed in my work. Not only was I a day late, but I do not think I properly expressed my story. It is moments like these when not having practice in any art field really made me feel like an outlier compared to the other students. Hopefully in the future, I am able to find my groove. I might redo this assignment before the end of the semester; even if it does not impact my grade at all, I really want to produce something that I am proud of, especially if it is about such a meaningful time in my life.

Here is a link to the rubric.

A Disconnected Connection: Quadriptych

This composition process was actually very difficult. This is because I wanted to challenge myself, and draw from different angles. If you cannot tell, the first and third panels are shots from the back. I chose this one because I wanted to capture my character and his sister sitting together while having the television screen in the background. The fourth panel was the hardest; I chose this angle because I wanted to give a different view to the reader, where you see the main character’s controller not plugged in. This format of a comic seems more complex than a triptych. This is because instead of one middle panel, there are two. I used one of the middle panels as additional context to the scene where I used the second one to set up the conflict. Having two middle panels allowed me to give more context to the audience without putting it in dialogue or a thinking bubble. I told this story because I was talking to my sister on the phone right before I made the comic. I liked playing single player games as a kid so I didn’t have many multiplayer ones. My sister, Summer, would always watch me, and we would talk about the game. Being the selfish boy that I was, I would play most of the time, but Summer would want to play about once a week.

Here is a link to the original assignment!