The second half of my semester began with an exploration of prose fiction. I did this by reading and studying books, short stories, and films. From there I practiced communicating character and story arc through descriptive storytelling and narrative digital art. I was able to deepen my technical communication skills by learning a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as Wacom Digital Drawing Pads, Adobe Illustrator, and Pro Tools.
I valued how much this narrative project pushed me to have a goal and to try and take it one step at a time. Through this process, I improved as a storyteller and digital artist by continually working on and revising all of my work for each of the classes. This semester was crazy and made my work on my time management because throughout all of this, I still had to do all of my other school work and play on the varsity basketball team.
In our English Class, we had to create a character and then write a story about them. We first did this by filling out a character questionaire that would help us develop who we wanted out character to be. From then, we made plot maps to create the storyline and then write the story. My inspiration for this story is that I have had a lot of coaches that would lose their minds over the littlest things. I have felt personally attacked as well as seeing other people get yelled at before, but have always wondered what could have happened if the person had some kind of disability or something that the coach didn’t know about. This idea helped form the story.
After I had written, rewritten, and revised the story until I was happy with it, I had to record the audio for the story. I did this with a recording device and then added music on top of it that would add to the theme of the story. In this entire process I learned to value the adventure of it all. Working, failing, fixing, and failing again until I was happy with the result. Mr. Greco really pushed me to write something good that I was proud of, instead of something I felt was just okay.
Dale walked to and from his day job every day. He always had his work bag, and he always wore his Blackhawks jacket. Every day, as he walked home from work, he spent some time in the park on the same bench watching some of the neighborhood boys play basketball. Most of the time he didn’t think they were all that good, but every so often, he would see a potential recruit for his Blackhawks basketball team. It was one of his secrets to creating a dominant AAU basketball team.
Today, a tall, lanky, blonde kid, by the looks of 15 or so, was tearing up the court, weaving, darting, and changing direction on a dime. He captivated Dale’s attention, Dale decided to wait around a little longer than usual to talk with him. In the ensuing minutes, he was blown away by the level of ability of this player. He decided he needed him on his team, and was going to do whatever it took to get him there.
The game finished, and Dale waved the kid over to come talk to him. As he started to come over, he had a puzzled look on his face.
Dale put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and asked, “Son, what’s your name?”
“Tim,” he said
Dale then proceeded, “Tim, you are a really good basketball player, and I see a lot of potential in you. Do you want to come and play for my team?”
Tim knew exactly what he was talking about. The Blackhawk jacket gave away everything.He was talking to Dale, Coach Dale, the head coach of the Blackhawks! Tim’s heart raced in awe.
Tim vigorously nodded his head.
Coach Dale, “Good. I hoped you would.”
Coach Dale blew his whistle for everyone to form up in a tight circle around him. It was Tim’s first day of practice. He jogged over to the huddle, but found himself on the outside, not really able to see what was going on. Tim tried to push in as Coach Dale started talking, but Tim was only able to understand snippets of what he said, but pretended he could hear by nodding along with everyone else.
After a few minutes, Tim found everyone looking directly at him. His face broke out into a sweat. He hadn’t heard what Coach Dale had said.
“Oh, I guess Tim doesn’t want to listen,” said Coach Dale frustrated, “We need to show him how we play basketball. Don’t be afraid to bump him and give him a couple knocks so that he knows what it’s going to be like from now on.”
He then looked directly at Tim and said, “We’re gonna toughen you up, and I expect you to take it. Show everyone what you’re made of. No one’s coming to your rescue.”
Coach Dale paused and then put his hand up in the middle of the huddle. Everyone else did the same. “Blackhawks on three. One, two, three, Blackhawks!”, they yelled, but Tim was late on the cheer. Maybe he’s just nervous, Coach Dale thought, but it’s time to see if he belongs on this team.
Coach Dale decided to immediately jump into a scrimmage to test the rookie out against his players. As he chose teams, he made sure that Tim was playing against his best players. He blew his whistle and the game began.
In the first possession, Tim stole the ball and sprinted down the court on a breakaway. He jumped up for the easy layup, but for a split second he locked eyes with Coach Dale. It was just enough to put him on edge. His hands slipped as he released the ball… It bounced around the rim, and missed.
Dale was conflicted. His brand new recruit had just made a good defensive play but had missed the easiest shot in the game because instead of looking at the rim, he decided to showboat. Coach Dale couldn’t allow that kind of behavior on his team.
He knew Tim was a good basketball player, but apparently telling him that was enough to get to his head. He stamped his foot on the ground and swore.
“Tim, you have to look at the basket to make a layup!” he barked, blood rushing to his cheeks.
Tim gave no acknowledgment of hearing him.
A few possessions later, Tim had the ball again, but this time it was at the top of the key. Tim jabbed hard to his right, getting the defender off balance. He immediately tore down the driving lane and dribbled hard. The defense swarmed around him like bees in a hive. Tim jumped up to pass the ball out to one of his open teammates. Mid jump, he spotted one. He passed it as hard as he could to the player, but it wasn’t enough. The opposing team stole the pass and sprinted down the court .
“What kind of a pass was that?” Dale yelled, “I give you a spot on this team, and that’s what you come up with?”
Tim continued running to get the ball. Everyone stopped as Coach Dale stormed onto the court after him.
“Tim! Come over here! Come over here!” Coach Dale’s voice increased with each step as Tim unknowingly continued to follow after the ball. “Listen to me! Look me in the eyes! Are you listening?… Are you listening?”
Tim fetched the ball, and jumped back as he saw his steaming coach closing in on him. Coach Dale lunged at Tim, “Answer the question! Are you listening now?”. Tim evaded his grasp. “On this team, when I speak, you listen!” foamed Coach Dale.
Tears welled up in Tim’s eyes.
“Stop!” yelled a teammate, “He can’t hear you. I know him from school. If he can’t see you speaking, he can’t tell what you’re saying…”
Coach Dale suddenly realized what he had done, but it was too late. The damage was done, and Tim had run out of the gym.
Dale decided to end practice early. He walked by the empty park court and sat down on his bench to think. He reflected on all the times he had yelled at his players. He would never know what was going on in their lives outside of practice. He was an expert at spotting talented players, but tonight demonstrated that he was also an expert at crushing confidence.
When Coach Dale stood up to leave, out of the corner of his eye he saw a person shooting on the court. As the figure turned his head, Dale recognized who it was. He wanted so badly to call out and talk to him, but he now realized that Tim would never hear him unless he truly cared for Tim’s story.
Author Study Project
In English class, we had to study a certain author, and I chose to study Samuel Beckett. He wrote the plays Waiting for Gadot, and Endgame (not the Avengers). I read and annotated those plays and wrote a snippet of my own play that was representative of Beckett’s writing style. This project was challenging for me because I don’t have practice writing my own plays.
Dim yellow lights.
An indoor parking garage. A car.
Far left, a small bar facing the audience.
Leo tries to unbuckle his seatbelt. It takes him a couple of tries as his hands fumble over the button for his release.
Mary: (Mary has already gotten out of the car and stood impatiently waiting for her husband to start walking with her to the bar) I don’t understand why you’re taking so long!
Leo: (defensively) I’m just trying to unbuckle my seatbelt.
Mary: All you have to do is press one button.
Leo: (angrily) quite a feat when your fingers are as big as mine!
Mary: (Comes around to his side to look at his predicament) Those fingers aren’t big at all!
Leo: Yes they are!
Mary: No they’re not! They’re the exact same size as my fingers, and I got out just fine!
Leo: Pah! (Pause. Leo continues to try and undo his seatbelt)
Mary: Come on.
Leo: I can’t.
Mary: You’re helpless. (Mary reaches over and unbuckles the seatbelt.)
Leo: You don’t have to be so mean about it.
(Leo slowly gets out of the car. Mary marches over to the bar, stops, and turns around to see that Leo is not following her)
Mary: Come on!
Leo: Come on where?
Mary: (pointing) To the bar of course!
Leo: (Looks around) Why?
Mary: Why not?
Leo: We would get drunk again and our health would get worse. (Leo starts getting back in the car)
Mary: You’re insane. All I want to do is get a drink and not have to worry about my life for a bit. Doesn’t that have an appeal? It’s such a liberating alternative to whatever we might have to do if we leave.
Leo: No, no, no.
Leo: (Leo stops, halfway in the car) Yes. (pause)
Mary: Why did we come here in the first place?
Leo: To drink.
Mary: Then let’s go!
Leo: I’ve made up my mind that I should stop drinking.
Mary: You’re impossible! I’m not getting in the car.
Leo: (pause) I still want to drink.
Mary: But you just said…
Leo: I know what I said (cutting her off) I just feel freedom when I’m drinking…
Leo: Quiet! (cutting her off again) I’m thinking. (pause)
Mary: If you can’t make up your mind, then I’m going now.
Leo: Please don’t. It’s smarter if we should wait and think about what we’ll do before we do it.
Mary: What are we thinking about?
Leo: (muttering to himself) We could go in and just have a couple drinks then leave… Yes! Yes! And leave feeling better…(he thinks to himself content, then despairingly) but no… after we got a taste of drink we would want another… oh but to be free from one’s actions and not need to worry… ah, but we would just stay until our money was spent and our stomachs on the floor… no that wouldn’t do.
Mary: (While all of this is happening Mary decides to get in on the passenger side of the car, resigned at the state of her husband.)
Leo: (Leo remains in deep thought until he finally looks up and notices that Mary is no longer standing by the bar anymore. He sees her in the car and eases himself in. He fumbles a while with the seatbelt, then asks Mary) So you’ve decided we should leave?
Leo: Me too.
Leo does not start the car.
Geometric Light Cover
In this project, I was asked to use my skills in Adobe Illustrator and create a light fixture with a design of my own choosing. When I first got this assignment, I decided that I would try to be super ambitious and create the most detailed version of a lion and tiger that I could. I used the pen tool and carefully drew the cutouts in a way that would eliminate any “islands” so that my work was not cut out. After lots of time and effort I finally finished my designs for both the lion and the tiger. I turned it in and did not think twice about it. The day for cutting out the designs comes, and I’m excited to see how my creation turned out. I didn’t take long before Mr. Flo stopped my light cover from printing and showed me exactly what had happened. My beautifully detailed lion had melted together, as a result of the lines being far too close together. He then put the laser at half power and went over the outline twice. It was better but not what I had envisioned it being. I then told him I would simplify the design that was more laser friendly. This process took much more work than I thought it would as I revised, edited, and changed around my lines for the lion, so that they were far enough apart. As time went on, I realized my tiger was going to take too much work to completely finish, so I scrapped that idea and made a zebra instead. Long story short, these two are my final product, and I am very proud of the work that I put into these designs, not only initially, but as I revised and changed them. I decided to name the Lion design Leo after Mr. Flo, and name the Zebra after Marty from Madagascar. All things said and done, this has been my favorite project thus far.
Illustrator T-Shirt Project
When I first started on this project in Adobe Illustrator, I thought I would be able to make a polynesian type shirt that would be super extravagant and detailed, but as I learned from my previous projects that sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. The first thing I decided I would change is that I would go for a completely different look on the back I had originally planned. I drew a graffiti inspired logo on a piece of paper and then traced it in illustrator. I chose to use super vibrant colors that would pop. At that time I still wanted to have some kind of tropical theme despite it not being a polynesian style, so I added the flowers on the sleeves and the flower on the front. All of this created a style that I was generally happy with, but I wanted to add something more to the shirt. I have an affinity for water because I love the power and finesse of it. I decided to add drips to my design to make it look like the letters were melting as a nod to how much I love water. My last decision for this project was what color I wanted the shirt to be. This decision was harder than I thought it was going to be and I wish I had chosen differently because I chose a color that would make the design pop, but it didn’t stick with the theme. I honestly wish I had chosen a lighter grey or some pastel color because tropical culture is so light hearted and free flowing. However, I am proud of the work I put into this project and will wear the shirt until it doesn’t fit anymore.
**Having written this artist statement before I had actually applied the design to the shirt, I am writing this next paragraph after having to go through that process.**
Not reading instructions is probably going to be the one thing that gets me in trouble in my life. In cutting my design, I realized it was going to be much harder than I thought it would be, and I realize now that my life could have been much easier if I had thought through and read all of the step I would have to do much later. Instead I decided to do something that would require much more time, with not as good of a result. It’s unfortunate, but what happens, happens. I still love my design, but I don’t like the transferring of the design to the t-shirt as much.
Colored Pencil Project
In this assignment for my Design elective, I had to use colored pencils to draw the seven elements of art. Those are space, value, form, texture, line, shape, and color. This project was challenging at first because I didn’t understand the directions, so I ended up redoing the the assignment, and coming up with this
Narrative Creature Project
My story is about a coach of a basketball team named Dale that loves sitting on a special bench right in front of a park basketball court. He sees a very talented player and gives the kid a chance to play on his team. The kid’s name is Tim and he is deaf, and resorts to reading the lips of people and just nodding when they’re talking since Dale doesn’t know of his disability. Dale invites Tim to his practice and continually gets angrier with him as he thinks that Tim is hot headed and won’t listen to anything he has to say when he’s playing. This eventually escalated until Dale is screaming at Tim until one of the players tells him to stop and that Tim is deaf. Dale realizes his mistake, but Tim is already gone. He ends practice early and goes back to his park bench to think. After a while, he gets up to leave, but just as he is, he sees Tim playing basketball on the other side of the court.
In this illustration, I used Adobe Illustrator to create a creature compiled of animals that describe one of my characters. I first used a dog to represent Dale’s remorse. I also made a rooster’s tail to represent his original arrogance. Additionally, there are barnacles that are stuck on the body and face of my creature to symbolize how he assumed that all of his players were the same just because they looked similar. The giraffe neck and horse legs were there to show that he was tall physically, while also showing that he was condescending towards Tim throughout the story. The lizard feet with the claws represented his aggressive nature, and the tiger stripes showed how he was observant in the beginning where he saw that Tim was a talented basketball player, as well as in the end he observed that he had made a big mistake. My illustration is the moment where Dale sees Tim playing basketball after the disaster practice and realizes how badly he messed up. I used linear perspective on the building in the background to give a better backdrop than just the sky. The hardest part of the whole project was all of the intricacies of shadows, and shades on the creature. Even though this project took a very long time to complete, I’m very happy with how it turned out.