Sawyer Steinmiller: My Averagely Average Bag

As shown in the title, my bag is averagely average. There is nothing too crazy in there, but it does get extremely heavy. When I carry it throughout campus, I think to myself that I am helping my core, but I really do not think that much progress has been made. Starting from the top, there is the bag itself. When school shopping, I chose a grey backpack as to not contrast my outfits. I thought that grey pretty much goes with anything and I stand by that. I didn’t want to stand out too much, adding to the averagely average vibe. On the bag are two Pokemon pins and a Pokemon key chain. I added these small trinkets as a means to start conversation. Nerds in the video game community try not to out themselves, and these trinkets might encourage someone to talk about gaming without me having to expose myself. Surprisingly, this plan has worked extremely well, and I have gotten many compliments. My physics lab binder is to the left of my backpack. I placed it front and center because physics lab is my favorite class. The Best We Could Do is next to the binder solely for organizational purposes. The calculator might be the least average item in my bag. The pink color really contrasts the vibe my bag gives off; it was my sisters in high school. I have grown to love it, and it has also received a lot of compliments. Next are my notebooks- the first one is my green physics notebook (green keeping the theme). The red notebook are my notes for my class on comics (this class). I chose red because English courses always seemed like a ‘red’ or ‘yellow’ class but the Barnes and Noble didn’t have any yellow notebooks. The black notebook is my Econ notebook; I chose black because I always think of black suits when I think of Economics. Last but not least is my blue math notebook. In my mind, blue has always been the color associated with math. Below are my folders. I only have three folders because not that many of my classes give individual papers. The red and blue folders are color correspondents with their respective notebooks, but I had to buy a white folder for physics because Barnes and Noble did not have green. In between my folders are my scattered pens and pencils. I came to college with one pencil and have grown my arsenal throughout the semester by finding spares on the floor. In high school, I was the guy who never had a pencil going into class, but I have always had one at the ready in college. Under my folders is my dongle. Honestly, I still haven’t used it, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it will come in handy in the future. In the bottom right is my Econ textbook; I really hate Econ. Honestly, I still haven’t opened that textbook yet and the midterm is Monday, October 21st. In the middle is my PACE book. I personally think that PACE is super useless and I always forget to do the surveys. Last and least is health. Health is my least favorite class because the entire thing is just memorization. I stayed up way too late for many nights studying the test, and I still probably did poorly on it. I thought it was super ironic how the class preaches getting sleep, but I essentially had to stay up late because I am really bad at memorizing things.

Is representing yourself in a catalog of the stuff in your bag a type of writing? Why or why not?

This image is not really representative of me as a person from at outside perspective, but it really does describe me. I try and give off the image of an extreme extrovert who doesn’t care about what other people think. While I am still an extrovert, I care immensely about what others think, and carefully craft each conversation I have to show a better me. I know it sounds very fake, but it is actually something that I am very proud of. Verbal communication is my best skill, and I am not afraid to use it to my advantage (that sounded evil but I am not- I promise). My communication strategies can be seen through the trinkets on my backpack and my dongle. The trinkets on my backpack show how I try and start certain conversations and the dongle is also there as a backup. If anyone needs one (which many people do), I have one just in case. While making the image itself, I tried to be as organizational as possible; this hopefully made it visually pleasing. This assignment was surprisingly not challenging at all. I thought that the description would be very difficult and I would have to make some lame parallels to my life, but that was not the case. The connections came easily to me, and I had a lot of fun. Representing myself in a catalog was a type of writing because it gave a new and unique outlet to describe myself. Normally, people show things about themselves through their actions but this was totally different.

Here is a link to the assignment prompt!

Sawyer Steinmiller: Tracing Pages Reflection Post

The thesis of my tracing pages assignment was
“On page 117 of Stitches and 265 of Spinning, the authors use the flow of the page and the framework of each panel to emphasize how the main characters have little to no control over their own lives.” In the assignment, I argue that the use of the three row structure of each of the pages creates a story that allows the author to convey a specific point in the text. I also argue that the use of framing in the texts, specifically a zoom out, creates a sense of irrelevance or disconnect through the characters.

The drawing and tracing parts of the assignment were relatively simple and fun. I had an easy time tracing the pages themselves because I have used tracing paper before. There were lots of complications with the copy machine because it wouldn’t send a PDF that was dark enough. My annotations were very easy and fun because I have spent lots of time annotating poetry, and this process was very similar. I have always loved annotating poetry and I love the same aspects in comics. It really helps me analyze the page and go deep; I am not the type of person to understand every layer of a page or panel just by looking at it. During the annotation process, I found similarities in the structure of the pages and the framing. I really enjoyed writing in a non five paragraph essay format. It made the process a lot more simple, and it was way easier to put my thoughts on the page. This assignment 100% helped me realize the secret language of comics. Both of my points had nothing to do with the writing, but how the pictures were laid out on the page and the content of the pictures. These were things that could never be found in a normal book, but only in comics. I learned that the significance of the words on a page is just as important as the rest of it. I think that in the future, I am going to spend less time looking at the pictures, and more time reading and understanding them.

Here is a link to the assignment prompt!

Here is a link to the assignment itself!

Sawyer Steinmiller: Triptych Comic- Life is Hard

I wanted my comic to be a message to someone close to me who is going through some really hard times. A family member of mine has a lot going on in her life, and she uses me as an outlet: someone to talk to when she needs to vent. I think about her a lot, and wanted this comic to emphasize the message that I have repeatedly tried to drill in her head. As far as the actual composition process, I tried to make the scene as simple as possible so people focused more on the message than the art. I honestly have never really tried art before, so drawing stick figures was even hard for me. It felt really rewarding once I finally drew the figure in a position that I wanted them to be in. It was also challenging creating a ‘middle of the story’. The context and finale were simple and planned out, but I had zero clue how I was going to create a ‘middle’. I think I did a pretty solid job binding the first panel with the last panel through my second panel. This assignment was actually my favorite of the semester. I feel as if it gave us the most freedom; it has also been the first assignment where we got to make our first multi panel comic!

Controlling the Force: A Golfer’s Patience

This was originally a photo of me teeing off at a golf course with my Dad. I picked this photo because I recently bought my plane tickets back home for fall break and am excited to see my Dad. I’ve been thinking about him a lot and appreciating his style of parenting. This photo was taken in Florida- we travel there every two years to visit my Grandparents. I picked the light saber to go along with the picture because I thought my form looked like I was slicing someone’s stomach open. My Dad is also a huge Star Wars fan and I wanted to create something that I could send to him. I picked a purple light saber because my favorite Jedi, Mace Windu, uses one.

This Photoshop job was relatively harder than the previous one. I used a different software this time to create the image- Pixlr. It took me an extremely long time to get acclimated to the program. I used the lasso tool a lot, but sometimes I could not copy specific parts to paste onto blank space. That is why the desert area by the tip of the light saber looks like a different shade; I just used the pencil tool. I think my photo conveys that if I were to live in the Star Wars universe, I could be a solid Jedi. In my opinion, my form is impeccable and will be practicing just in case I do find out how to transport into a different universe. I also think that this conveys how similar sword fighting is to golf! They both use similar swings, and although sword fighting has a larger variety of strokes, this one stroke looks very similar.

Here is a link to the stock photo I got of the light saber.

Here is a link to the original assignment.

Sawyer Steinmiller: Visual Notes

For this visual note taking assignment, I chose to remake my physics notes. This is because physics is my favorite STEM class and it is my hardest. I have never taken a physics class before and although we are going at a quick pace, the material is extremely interesting. Because we are moving at such a fast pace, my notes tend to be messy; I thought that visualizing my notes would be helpful.

During the process, I learned. a lot about how I process information. Personally, the drawing aspect did not help me that much, but the organizational components were extremely helpful. When I normally make my notes, the important parts of the lesson are the same size as the non important parts, so it is hard to visualize what is important and what is not. Here, it is very simple to know what the lesson revolves around because of how central the themes are. I know that I can’t create these types of notes in the moment, but I might go over the important notes and rewrite after the lesson.

Here is the link to the rubric for the assignment: CLICK HERE!

Sawyer Steinmiller: Sunday Sketch #2

For my Sunday Sketch, I decided to combine my favorite game, bananagrams, with my favorite plant, the banana tree. Bananagrams has been my favorite game forever. My family and I would play it every night when I was a kid, and my friends and I would play it almost every night in high school. Normally, I don’t have the best vocabulary, but that all changes once I’m playing bananagrams. My mind goes into this competitive state where I truly feel happy and involved. I have played so many times that I know how many of each letter there are in the bag and the probability that each letter would come up. Not only do I love bananagrams, but I also love the banana tree. When my Grandma was alive, she taught me everything there is to know about the banana tree. She and my Grandpa lived in rural North Carolina where banana trees are not native, so it was extremely difficult to tend to. My Grandparents were not busy people, so they spent lots of time tending to their massive garden. Because of this, I learned the ins and outs of the banana tree. When I am retired, I am sure that I will have at least one banana tree in my garden.

One artistic choice that I placed in the piece was that I made some of the bananas ripe while others had yet to ripen. Each banana represents a piece of my independence, and the more ripe a banana is, the more independent I am in some aspect of my life. Although I have many ripe bananas stemming from my lived experiences in high school, I still have many bananas that have yet to ripen. These bananas will hopefully become ripe during college or beyond. I also incorporated a word coming out of the bananagrams bag. The word I chose was ‘security’ because the more independent I get, the less secure I feel. When I was in high school, I was inclined to take lots of risks because I knew that I could always fall back on my Dad once I failed. In college, taking risks is a lot more difficult because with the independence of living on my own, I also lose the security net that my Dad gave me.

Here is the link to the Sunday Sketch assignment.

Sawyer Steinmiller: Literacy Narrative 1 Reflection

In my narrative, I talk about how I went from a unmotivated writer to someone who loves to write. This happened in my junior year of high school when my teacher gave us an open ended assignment which barely had a rubric.

During this process, I learned that it was much harder to setup a page than I thought. For my creative medium for the narrative, I recorded myself reading the story that I wrote in junior year. I spent about two hours figuring out how to add it properly because whenever I put the file in the page, it gave me the message of “audio file not supported for security reasons”. I ended up finding out that one has to pay in order to add audio files to a word press page, so I just made a cute little photo that goes along with my story.

Writing the narrative itself was relatively easy. The moment I describe in my story happened relatively recently, so I could recount some of the more intricate details more vividly. In relation to the free writing activity before hand, this was easier. During the activity, I spent more time stressing out about the five minute time limit than actually writing. When I was alone writing in my room, I was calm, collected, and had my creative juices flowing. The transition from free write to narrative was simple because in one of my free writes, I wrote about the same topic that I tackled in my narrative- I just expanded on that story.

I learned that it can be hard to tell your own story. Even though the details were there in my mind, putting words that I wanted to say on the page was pretty hard. I was suprised that it took me so long; the actual writing process took me about an hour and a half.

The most interesting sentence in my opinion would have to be “I would think to myself, ‘why work harder if you’re already meeting your expectations?’ ” This is because I think a lot of people have this outlook on life whereas many people totally disagree. Lots of my friends this year told me that they would be disappointed with anything below straight A’s which in my opinion is a recipe for sadness. I know my outlook as a junior inst the most motivational, but it definitely kept me grounded as a person.

Sawyer Steinmiller’s Avatar Post

My avatar is a very flattering picture of one of my friends, Alyssa. I made her my avatar because she took 200 pictures of herself on my phone during lunch one day and I thought a beautiful photo of her would be a fair way of revenge. Surrounding Alyssa are various photos of my dogs! My dogs are in my avatar because I miss them dearly and they were an integral part of my life back in Washington DC. One of my dogs’ name is Dobby- he is the black one. Dobby is super friendly and smart, but extremely loud. He barks at the door whenever anyone makes a noise. Biggie is the bigger of the remaining two dirty blonde dogs. He is super shy to strangers, but is a great cuddle buddy to family. Welby is the third dog. We rescued her from hurricane Harvey, and she has suffered many hardships because of the storm. She is blind, deaf, cannot make noise and cannot go up steps. Therefore, she is stuck in one room all day unless we move her.

Making my avatar was not hard at all. Even though I have never edited a photo before, the instructions were super clear to me and I had my friends around me while I made it- this made the process extremely fun. In terms of content, I tried to make the subjects of my avatar as lighthearted as possible, hence why I chose friends and dogs as the theme. I wanted to make my avatar lighthearted because that is the theme that I am trying to relay through my comics and blog. I have previewed the novels that we will be reading in class, and they all seem to address the depression and sadness in the authors’ lives. I am a poet, and I am used to expressing my negative energy and ranting about my issues through poems, but I have never used any creative outlet to show what brings me joy in life. I want to use the medium of this blog and comics to show who and what makes me happy!