Greetings, everyone! This is an archive of my works: several comics, a few essays, and a plethora of various posts which I completed during my first spring semester at Emory University in 2019. the life stuff is a blog I created as a part of my ENG101 course The Secret Language of Comics. As a page that will quite literally be the first thing you see, its following paragraphs will familiarize you with the steps I took in producing this project, and the life stuff I learn while embarking on this little journey.
One of the main learning objectives of my course was to understand and implement rhetorical composition, understanding and correctly accommodating for my audience, purpose, and constraints for each individual post. The prior two aspects often fell into two distinct categories: 1) an academic orientation, with an audience primarily composed of my professor and classmates, & a purpose of professionally discussing class material; and 2) a “creative” orientation, with an audience composed of the general internet, & a goal of composing engaging, original content.
Now, of course there were “creative” qualities involved in academically orientated posts, and vice versa. Generating weekly content helped me practice this duality, teaching me how to strike an appropriate balance between these two worlds, a balance which was unique for each individual work. This progress in more aptly applying rhetorical-composition techniques can be seen through comparing my first post, And So It Begins…, and a more recent one, A Squeaky New Update.
Both of these posts helped notify readers to new changes I implemented into my website, with the first one drawing attention to my avatar, and the New Update discussing several large adjustments made in my About Me page. Yet a clear disparity can be found in the distinct lack of substance with “weight” within my first post. Yes, I quickly announced I had created an avatar and briefly announced the steps I took in doing so, and yes, it had several cheeky puns, but most of the sentences were humorous yet meandering, and therefore, unnecessary. Humor is only tasteful in small doses, and for this post, the jokes hijacked the overall objective and felt unearned.
New Update is a large improvement in that each paragraph has a point, and though the puns are still present (for even the title is one), those chosen act as small bookends between each of the paragraphs. Instead of letting my attempts at humor overrun the content, I learned to implement them early on, in either each paragraph or the post as a whole, before delving into the academic “core” of the piece. Having the knowledge that my post’s goal is, first and foremost, to detail the reasons behind several adjustments to my About Me page and my process in preparing and finalizing that piece helped me format my paragraphs into a rhetorical argument, using an academic tone to present my revisions to my primary audience consisting of my professor and classmates.
As the class progressed and I garnered experience in producing online content, I became more comfortable and effective in implementing visualizations to enhance my writings and construct an online identity. I had always wanted to use slightly silly stick figures throughout my blog, but several comics assignments, particularly Bone Appétit! and Baked Goods, assisted in spurring the idea of using a “comics collage” style for my original images.
Gathering a variety of free-to-use images from the Internet, I would cut, crop, and rearrange them in PicsArt to create my final products. This process required a constant puzzle-like mentality of adaptation, a process in which I would use the most suitable images I could find and make them work the best I could. These comics, as a result of the picture compiling and editing, were admittedly time-consuming, so when I was constrained by a deadline, some of my visual ideas had to be cut (such as several different ones for my About Me page) or completed using pencil and paper (such as the one shown below) and minimal editing.
Furthermore, by brainstorming my About Me page over several separate drafts, I began to use these images not only as punchlines to jokes, but to further the ideas I wished to express to my audience of my professor and peers and enhance the overall arguments I wanted to make. For instance, in detailing my previously resigned acceptance of adulthood and its uncertainty for my About Me page, I chose to use a simple stick figure, sign, thought bubble, and road (all images I found on the internet) to explain my experience to my readers. It was a moment in which many words would make it seem too inauthentic or abstract, and as such, by thinking visually, I was able to create a composition which succinctly and effectively communicated those emotional aspects of adolescence and helpless indifference.
By rethinking my posts and reevaluating whether written or visual media (or the combination of the two) would work best in crafting my arguments, I slowly began to develop a unique digital identity during my time this first semester. I learned how to retain that slight “irreverence” (as my professor calls it) present in my previous works and implement in such a way so as not to drown out the academic goals of my pieces, adapting an online persona which discussed relevant realities in a manner both serious and self-aware.
There were times, however, where I had to recognize projects as those which required a completely academic tone in order to respect the works of others. One of these was my Tracing Pages assignment, which tasked me with analyzing two separate graphic novels, Spinning by Tillie Walden and Stitches by David Small. These works deal with their authors respective journeys through abusive situations, and as such, any irreverence would be both out of place and disrespectful; I therefore made sure to keep these posts completely academic and professional.
Moreover, this assignment required me to think critically when reading through these texts, discovering the authors’ arguments before I was able to begin the task of writing about them. As such, I followed my professor’s advice and wrote this essay without an introduction, allowing for the evidence I implemented to arise naturally and not be contrived to fit an argument predetermined by me. This tactic has helped me in other courses besides this one, for I used this process of holding off on the introduction when writing a critical-thinking sociology essay.
Overall, my journey through this ENG101 class has taught me how to best compose and present my ideas to different audiences, giving me several skills in properly incorporating visuals alongside and embedded within my text, helping me enhance the overall arguments I wish to convey.
Please feel free to explore my website and take a gander through some of my posts. You can find a catalogue of several posts here. If you would like to read something strictly academic, I would recommend Analyzing the Tears, and if you would like to enjoy something lighthearted yet personal, my life stuff is a great place to start!