……..A loud buzz and a click sounds as the main door opens and Spencer steps through, walking down the path and into the building. He enters the gray cement structure surrounded by tall fences, and the prison guards greet him as he empties his pockets. He removes his hat and jacket, revealing his dark hair, and his naturally gaunt appearance to the harsh fluorescent lights in the room. Spencer stands starfish style as the prison guards that are all at least 3 inches shorter pat him down like they have done every week for almost two years. Throwing on his jacket and scooping his belongings back into his pockets, he walks towards the door before turning his head, giving them a small smile and wave as he quickly says, “Thanks guys”.
……..He follows the short guard named Bill, who always works on Saturday afternoons, through the hallway and to another door. As they walk, Spencer talks the entire time, striding down the hallway, taking care to not walk ahead of Bill, his favorite guard. After beginning to visit Stephen, he learned that bringing Bill an Abba-Zabba bar would cause him to turn a blind eye to their conversations as well as give him some extra time in the visitation room. Bill swipes his card through the keypad next to the large steel door at the end of the hall and blocks the numbers with his body as he quickly types in the code. Bill opens the door and Spencer tosses him an Abba-Zabba bar, entering the cold concrete space filled with round lunch tables scattered around the room and vending machines lining the right wall. Spencer walks over to the vending machine, inserting two quarters and punching in B5, resulting in a packet of yellow peanut M&Ms. He paces to a table right in the middle of the room and sat down into a hard plastic chair, his back facing Bill, and looking toward the door on the opposite side of the room. Knowing that he could be waiting in this room for awhile, he looks up to the clock on the wall, which reads 1:43 PM. A couple of minutes pass and the door in front of him swings open, revealing his best friend Stephen, wearing a huge grin. Stephen, like Spencer, is fairly tall, but unlike Spencer, Stephen has an incredible amount of confidence that Spencer envies.
……..“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Stevie, you look great in an orange jumpsuit,” Spencer jokes.
……..“I know,” Stephen grins back. Spencer hasn’t seen Stephen smile in a long time, and is surprised to receive a response other than “Yeah, yeah”. Not only that, but the bags under Stephen’s eyes are fading, and he seems to be extremely happy.
……..“What’s got you in such a good mood?”
……..Stephen practically leaps across the room and plops down into the chair across from him. “Life,” he says confidently, knowing that his lack of elaboration will bother Spencer.
……..“Steve, what does that even mean?”
……..“It means I’m done pretending to regret what I did and that I am done letting this place,” Stephen waves all around the room, “bring me down.”
……..“Okay then,” Spencer says, feeling suspicious of Stephen’s answer. The two continue talking and update each other on the week’s activities, Spencer telling Stephen about how bored he is at school and Stephen asking a plethora of questions about the outside world, and talking about how excited he is to get out, even though he isn’t even halfway through his sentence.
……..“Five minutes left,” Bill warns from the corner of the room.
……..Spencer acknowledges Bill with a quick nod before turning back to Stephen, “Anyways, what were you saying?”
……..“When I get out of here in three years, I’ll still be in my twenties, and I want to really do something great with my life. I want to do the things I was too scared to do before. Being here gave me the ability to realize that I’ll to be able to do whatever I want to do when I get out because I already hit rock bottom.”
……..“Wait, hold on, are you happy to be in prison?” Spencer questioned.
……..“I mean, no. Well, actually … yeah. No. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t regret what I did. I knew I was gonna end up here from the beginning. I took a stupid risk in stealing something I didn’t need to steal, but I knew what I was doing. I was trying to get rid of the ‘white picket fence’ kind of a life that was set up for me and I’m happy I did, I’m not stuck in the loop like everyone else.”
……..It was quiet for a while, Spencer staring at his best friend, with first a look of confusion, then one of realization.
……..From across the table, Stephen watches as Spencer goes through a rollercoaster of emotions. He thinks that he can make out Spencer mouthing “holy crap”, which is then followed by a loud sigh, and a look back to him that almost seems to say, “screw you”. This look causes Stephen to sport a familiar smirk, one that showed He realizes that he is in the loop that Stephen is talking about, and that he doesn’t want to be there. He criticizes himself for not realizing it sooner or for just ignoring the fact that he is conforming. He has a sense of guilt as well, thinking about all of the opportunities that he has missed because he lacked confidence and was too scared. He knows that what Stephen did was dumb, but he took a chance. When they were kids, Stephen was always trying to convince Spencer to take more risks, telling him that it could end up amazingly. For his whole life, he told Stephen taking risks was stupid, and when he ended up in prison, it practically confirmed that fact. However, the conversation he just had changed his perspective. Could Spencer be right? He thinks to himself.
……..“Times up boys,” Bill says from the corner, snapping Spencer out of his trance.
……..“Well,” Stephen declares as he moves to stand, “See ya next week Spence.”
……..“Yeah, uh, bye Steve,” Spencer says as he walks toward Bill who leads him out of the room and back into the long hallway.
……..The long walk down is abnormally quiet as Spencer drops his usual chatter with Bill for silently looking down to the floor as his mind wanders. He thinks about what Stephen said, being too scared to do what he wanted to do, and that he “got out of the loop”.
……..He walks back into the first room he entered, where he empties his pockets and gets patted down once again. Giving the guards a thin smile, he mumbles “Thanks” as he walks out into the parking lot. Spencer gets into the car, as he replays what Stephen had said over and over again in his head. In the end, Spencer decides that Stephen is right.
……..For the websites, we were assigned to make banners for the different headers of the Narrative 1 section of our websites. To create the banner images and the browser favicon, I used Illustrator to create the different scenes that I wanted to portray. Part of this assignment was that we had to have our banners relate to our story. Because my story takes place in a prison, I wanted to keep my banners showing just that. For my images I chose to show a prison yard, a hall of cells, a silhouette watching security footage, and the first image again. I chose to use my first image again for my last banner to make the collection of images feel finished.
……..For the personal Illustration, we were given the task of using our skills in using Illustrator to create our own Illustration. There were no parameters and we could create whatever we wanted. I really valued this project because I learned a lot more about Illustrator outside of what we learned in class. I also valued this because I was able to continue to develop my skills as an illustrator and learn more about what I like and don’t like about my art and creative process.
……..In For creating this personal Illustration, I was thinking about the character Ophelia from Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. In the story, Ophelia chooses to sink to the bottom of the river, and I decided to play with the concept of if Ophelia had made the choice to float instead, which would have changed her character completely. This piece was inspired by illustrator Colin Elgie, and his high saturation in his work.
Positive Negative Design Exercise
……..In this exercise, we were assigned to take two tones of colored paper, and cut out shapes to make interesting designs. With the paper that we cut out, we glued it to the other side of the paper to reflect the design on the opposite side. The goal of this assignment was to develop an understanding of negative and positive space, and how we can use both effectively in our art. What I value the most from this assignment is learning how to use both positive and negative space to create an interesting image.
Understanding Basic Color Theory
……..For this assignment, we were challenged with the task to get a palette of complimentary colors, and create a wheel of smoothly blending the colors together. The goal of the assignment was for us to understand how specific colors combine with each other. For my color choices, I picked blue and orange for my complimentary colors, and I created a wheel of the colors transitioning into each other. From this project, I learned how to combine and blend colors together. I really value this skill that I learned because it helped me understand color better, as well as how I should choose colors in the future.
……..Much like the color theory assignment, this project was to help us understand how to create neutrals and what role they play in art. In this assignment, we made different overlapping shapes, and we then colored each with different primary and secondary colors in watercolor. What I really valued from this assignment was learning how to use colors together to make neutrals.
Tints, Tones, and Shades
……..In this exercise, we were given different colors and told to use white, gray, and black to create tints, tones, and shades. The goal of this project was to show what tints, tones, and shades were, as well as how to make them. We used colored pencils to create the swatches. What I valued from this assignment was getting to use colored pencils to create the different colors, as well as getting to understand how to use tints, tones, and shades.
Photoshop Creature Compilation
……..To begin our main Narrative Project in Design, we were assigned with the task of compiling images of creatures that shared traits with the personality of our character. This taught us how to use Photoshop to combine parts of images together, as well as taught us how to create a creature, but still show who a character is. What I really valued from this assignment was learning how to show who a character is through what they look like.
……..This illustration is based on the short story I wrote called “Spiraling Downward,” which is about a young man named Spencer going to his weekly visit with his best friend Stephen in prison. The scene illustrated here is the visitation room, where Spencer is waiting to talk to Stephen. The creature in this scene represents Spencer, with different animals relating to his different personality traits. The majority of the body is a panther, which represents Spencer’s calm, but calculating overall personality. Next, the creature has a raccoon tail and the wing of a raven, representing how Spencer is clever. On top of the panther head, there are ram horns, demonstrating the personality trait of being strong headed. In place for the legs, I chose to place frog legs, in order to show how Spencer is wanting to change his life, as his conflict is his complacency. I chose to combine all of these creatures together to give insight on the primary characteristics of Spencer, showing that he his a calm, calculating, and clever person.
……..This entire project began in English class, where we were given the assignment of writing a short story about whatever we wanted to. I developed the story “Spiraling Downward,” through the process of brainstorming, peer sharing, and revising. Then in Design, we sketched out and decided on the scene that we wanted to depict, as well as choosing what animals we could combine that would make a creature to best represent our character. We then went to the internet and compiled images that were the objects in our scenes and the animals in our creature. Then, in Photoshop, we combined all of the images to make a base image of our background scene, as well as making the creature. They were then imported into Illustrator where we began to trace the different sections using the pen tool, and building the scene as well as the creature. After creating the two separately, I combined the two images together, and added drop shadows to make the image look less flat, as well as create a smoother transition of creature to background.