Posted in Creative Enagement

What Family Means To Me (and other sentimental stuff)

The challenge instantly piqued my interest. This was for two reasons. First off, stirring music seems to be part and parcel of ads about agencies and products that have to do with family, children etc. This made me wonder how the sentimental value of family and adoption could be brought out with purely images. The second reason was, in a way, the answer to the question asked. Although attitudes around the world are changing, it is still a commonly held opinion that deafness (along with many other, manageable disabilities) is an insurmountable obstacle. However, with modern technology and advancements, it is really only something that needs some measure of accommodation from time to time. A few adjustments and an engrossing class in sign language is all parents would really need to get started. So how to show this in 30 seconds? That too, without an appropriately treacly song?

“You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile!”

Here I thought of my own family and the experiences that stuck out from childhood. Many of them had nothing to do with hearing. In fact, the first and most vivid ones were to do with touch, smell, taste, sight. And that’s when the idea of amplifying experiences with the other senses came to me. Now, this turned out to be similar to the example in the book, but very different in its ultimate message. The intent of the ad I created was to show how easy it would be to bring a deaf child into one’s family and how wonderful life can be in a family. This required creating happy family moments that many people could relate to. Therefore, the phrase “There is nothing (more) [insert adjective/verb] than… a [noun]” was used e.g. “There is nothing prettier than… a smile.” This phrase would have accompanying images to go with the phrase itself. In the case of the “a smile,” caption, it was a picture of a mother and daughter smiling in a close-up shot. This continued for moments such as family meals, campfires, soft blankets, or simply smelling flowers. This was all figured out relatively quickly, since most of these things are so common as to be readily available when family and a certain sense is thought of in relation to them. The last phrase, “Nothing simpler than a gesture” was meant to encourage future parents to consider sign language and adopting a child who may need to use it.

After this came the decision as to what canvas/design process would be used. Here, Austin Kleon’s wisdom proved useful. The Analog side of the office was instrumental here, with the Digital only being used to find and print the right pictures for the project. After this, it was a mix of chart paper, sharpies, color pencils and glue, all the way to the finish line! Since the chart paper offered a clean and large canvas, it was uniquely suited to storyboarding such a short ad. It can be a bit disorienting to turn a page midway through imagining something, so having all 9 frames numbered and placed on one space was ideal in the case of pitching this idea. This project also called for creating a design that could be used for other media, such as billboards and print. Therefore, I decided to include that in how the frames were designed. In the ad, there will be a fade-in style, with the text at the top appearing first, then the video of the topic and then the final word that links to it. In a billboard, the text will be there with just a picture, like the ones seen on the chart. This would work for print as well. All this was made much easier given how dynamic the page made the work. Whereas my abilities where graphics are concerned are very, very limited, anytime text needed to be moved around, or something needed to be brought together, I was able to do so with ease on the paper. This was something Mr. Kleon refers to in the book as well, with paper creating more possibilities and opportunities to play around with ideas.

Early Inspirations…

Putting the right information in the descriptions for each frame also proved difficult, since specific details were needed initially. This all fed into the idea of how much detail is needed for even the simplest design to come together. Which leads me to the final idea, which was a logo and name for the adoption agency. I chose the name ‘HeartSign’, since the logo was four hands making the universal symbol for a heart. The logo was from a picture found online, while the color scheme and heart symbol on the outsides of the hands was done by me. Though an attempt was made to draw the hands myself, it failed spectacularly, so the printed picture with a new color and design became the final logo. The reason I chose to use the heart symbol and not a sign from American Sign Language (ASL) was that it was more inclusive if it weren’t purely ASL. For anyone who couldn’t use American Sign Language, the heart would be evident as a sign of love and compassion. The second to last frame also had a written version of the ASL words being shown by the hands in the ad. Universality was also channeled into the pictures used, since they include several races, with the final photo being of a diverse family. This was to show that family is a concept we are all a part of, and maybe inspire someone who may not have considered adopting, or adopting a child of color, to do so. Having felt the effects of identifying with a person on the screen myself, it was imperative in reaching as many people as possible.

The Final Logo and Name

This also fed into some of the considerations where language and inclusion were concerned. For instance, after doing some research, it turned out that the deaf community preferred the term ‘deaf’ to describe them and not ‘hearing impaired’. This was surprising to me, as ‘hearing impaired’ was a term I had been using for a long time, thinking that it was preferred. It was definitely a little embarrassing to think of any mistakes made in that regard, but also an illuminating look into how the deaf community views and represents itself. The use of diverse families was also important (although it was very difficult finding the results I needed for ‘mixed religion’ or LGBTQ+ families- Google isn’t always prepared, it seems!) Overall the results were good and could be expanded upon in the TV spot itself, since actors would have to be hired, allowing more control over the individuals in any given group.

Overall, this project proved much more difficult and intricate than I had imagined. However, it taught me a lot about how to use an Analog canvas and create a cohesive narrative from what was just a small idea. Hopefully, this blog post taught the readers a few things about how to create an interesting storyboard using Analog design concepts and tools (I’ll always swear by color pencils and glue!) and the detail that goes into even a 30-second TV spot without any sound. Most of all, I hope it got across my message of how love and family are universal, and can be created with all types of people, making us richer for having known them.

The Final Storyboard


Posted in Creative Enagement

Three times as hard

After reading every single challenge box, I picked challenge 13: Three in One.


So here I am on a Saturday sketching and thinking and stumbling but enjoying myself.  The first problem with this project wasn’t the creative aspect but the examples given in the book.  After reading a challenge I would look at the example and find that the example is either something I would have thought of eventually (like challenge 48, 53, or 57) or now anything I come up with looks like I just copied the example.


I was tasked with designing three print ads of an object I use daily and showing it in three different ways: positive, negative, and metaphorical.  Again, the example messed with me.  Dang it! I really would have been able to come up with those USB ads.  In addition, I found myself comparing my ads with those of the example.  DAMN, the examples are good and I can’t help but try to reproduce the style in my own ad somehow.

I sat down with my laptop, blank sheets of paper, a pen, a sharpie, and water.  Turned on Netflix and watched a new Netflix series: 13 reasons why.  (Really liked the show, recommend it if interested in deep shows that talk about not so comfortable topics)

13 Reasons Why

Back on topic

After some major brain storming I chose my wrist watch because I always wear it.  The easiest ad was by far the metaphorical one, I knew I wanted the ad to show a clock with numbers falling off the clock face – to represent how every second is important or how 24 hours in a day isn’t enough.  I went about sketching a clock face with the numbers 1-24 to represent the hours in a day, and then hours overflowing onto a pile on the ground.  Added some text and I was ready create a digital ad. I made the choice to digitally reproduce my idea because it was the only way I knew how to create my idea from paper to computer.


My first step was to find the right font type.  I wanted it to be similar to the way I wrote the text because I felt it would be more eye grabbing.  I went through all the fonts and picked four fonts that I thought were close to my sketch and found that Mistral was very close to how I sketched it.

20170401_114036 Finished up with creating a simple clock face and numbers spilling off the clock face.  Metaphorical ad done and done.  Only 45 minutes in and still needed to complete two other ads.

LUNCH BREAK be back in 20

And I was.

After my quick lunch break I had to figure out how represent a watch in a negative and positive way.  The book said you could give a glowing review for the positive and use another company for the negative.  It turns out the hardest part of this project was coming up with a positive and negative ad.   Negative I just ended up using my watch as a “crappy” style of watch compared to a fancier watch that was going on sale.

First thing I thought of for the positive, “what was the benefits of a watch versus a phone”.  Let’s face it why even have a watch when your phone can tell time and so much more.  This calls for a pros and cons list of watch vs phone! Yay

Watch Phone
longer battery


Cheaper (usually)

I like them


Games/Social Media


I need it …my whole life (sorta)

The list was mostly to devise a positive ad for the watch.  A phone can give you the time all while playing angry birds or candy crush.  That’s the point!  You go to check the time and then get distracted by checking social media, playing video games, or texting people.  3 hours later, you realize that you just spent too much time on your phone and not your homework because you went to check the time.  Here is where a wrist watch would prevent all that wasted time from being wasted.

So yeah, that was my whole process, sorry this was so long but I’m proud of my work.

This was really fun! But it was hard to come up with three different designs for the same product, it also didn’t help that my Photoshop skills are pretty much level 0 so I was pretty much left with using straight pictures.  Even with its difficulties, I learned that looking at an object and coming up with three different views can be challenge.   That how you spin something changes how you approach the task, similar to how you use rhetoric can change how the discussion goes.


Posted in Creative Enagement

We are all just a Bunch of Noodles

Reflection: What I did, and why

So, I did the Creative Workshop 50: Patience Grasshopper.  I did not think I was the type of person to enjoy people watching until I had a good experience doing it when I was assigned to while on Spring Break in Rome.  On my Study Abroad trip, near the end of the week, we were assigned to find a location around the city to sit by ourselves and passively watch what happens around us for 30 minutes.  I decided to do the book observation passively during my house’s dinner time that way I can just be with my house sisters (Devonshire Cooperative) while doing homework, since I am rarely at home to study.  The observation was supposed to be for an hour, I probably spent 30 minutes doing the observation and 30 making the card.  The observation was a lot of fun, since I was sitting next to my sisters, it was hard to remain a passive observer rather than joining the conversation.  It is a little funny to say but most conversations in our house can be separated into three categories “Boys, Sisters (or the house in general), and School.”  Obviously, this doesn’t encompass the fact that some conversations are very fruitful and serious, but playfully we gossip about these three things.  One of my house sisters, Lauren is from Wisconsin, she brings her own set of idioms and slang to the house.  She has gotten in the habit of calling some sisters, Noodles, as a term of affection.  I took this use of the term and incorporated it into my card design because noodles can show a variety of shapes and colors.  Just like we come from different majors, years at Purdue, and have different personalities.  I thought it would be fitting to draw my sisters like noodles for the card.  For the observation, I were supposed to create a greeting card while reflecting on the experience I had while people watching.  I didn’t have a blank card to design this on, so I used a 5”X7” note card, as my “postcard.”


I looked up photos of noodles so I can draw the most (noodle-looking) noodles.  That way my lasagna and angel hair can be identifiable.  While doing that, I started to draw other noodles on my draft sheet in case I wanted to add more ‘people’ to my drawing.


Overall this was once again a great experience that I would recommend others to try.  I think having the patience to sit somewhere and open our senses to our surroundings is very important.  It is good for your health because it involves sense that we just have going in the background and puts them to work, and it gets us off our phones.  I think this can be a very creative experience to be influenced by what is going on around me.

ENG 306 Draft Obs

ENG 306 Final Obs 2

ENG 306 Final Obs

Posted in Creative Enagement

The prompt that fed my obsession for pirates and comics.

When I started this project, I knew I probably wasn’t going to follow the prompt I picked down to the T. When I came upon prompt #20, Storybook Ending, I was automatically drawn to it and thinking “okay, how can I change this prompt?”

Basically the prompt called for me to create a storyboard and plot for a book geared towards younger kids. Well. I certainly don’t write for children. So I knew I wanted to channel my story towards a different, older age group. I began thinking late middle school area, which was a challenge for me because I’m not used to writing anything geared towards a specific age group. I frankly find it more restricting as a writer. Nonetheless, I decided I would try.

So I’m sitting in my room and I’m thinking, “what kind of story do I want to tell” and that’s when it hits me. Pirates. These guys get a bad rap. I don’t really care. I love pirates. My favorite show is about them and I find pirates serve a really awesome metaphor of society rejecting what they can’t understand. Yes they murdered people and yes they didn’t abide by the law, but I think they’re really fun morally grey, anti heroic characters to flesh out. I then just decided to solely write about women pirates because I know that growing up, there wasn’t a lot for me to read outside of superhero comics that involved tons of strong female characters graphic novel wise.

I also have a strong belief that graphic novels can really help convey proper messages about life just about as well as any novel or film can. I have never had any trouble reading since I was young, but I noticed that my brother loses focus reading just text based novels.
I introduced him to comics and he has actually grownFullSizeRender to really enjoy reading. In fact, graphic novels are a great way to involve reluctant readers as well as benefit struggling readers (much like my brother).

I digress. This project has been a week in the making. As in I started a week ago and then two days ago remembered I should properly begin to work on it past the main idea. The prompt gives me ten minutes to brainstorm an idea for a story. I spent about fifteen minutes with a pen and notebook jotting down random ideas that popped into my head while listening to a playlist on my phone all composed of various movie soundtracks. After fifteen minutes I had four ideas, all of which to me seemed like utter crap but I was pressed for time and thinking quickly of ideas is not my forte. I shared them with a friend and we conversed about the various ideas for a while before I made my decision that I would yes, indefinitely write about pirates (I had back up plans in case pirates wouldn’t pan out), but I would write about them to bring to attention the need to intersectionality within feminism.

Feminism is an universally understood concept; it is the equality of all both socially, politically, and economically. Lately, the call for intersectional feminism has been brought about. Intersection is inclusion and feminism sometimes is not portrayed as such when it comes to trans women, women of color, and disabled women. It may not seem as pressing as a concept but when it comes to portrayal within media or feminism being used in every day life, it is something that could be explained and brought up more often than not.

And so I present to you my story idea, Jolly Regina (it’s a lame name but I thought at the time it was a clever play on the jolly roger). A story about a misfit gang of female pirates that advocates for intersectional feminism:

The Juno Bellona is a mighty warship manned entirely by women. A vigilante gang of misfit ladies who have long since pledged their lives to the sea and entirely forgotten their once peaceful lives in marriage to men bound to the King, they sail the seas plundering other ships that have committed crimes against other women.

Legend has it there’s a warship, the Nightingale, that sails the seas in the dead of night, destroying towns and ships alike to obtain women who try to go against the law of the King. By morning it disappears and isn’t seen. People believe it to be a legend, until suddenly there’s a string of missing women from towns along the coast. The ladies of Juno Bellona go after it in a frantic search, hoping to rescue the women and end the legend once and for all.
2017-03-24 01-53 page #1

The part I was most dreading finally could not be put off, though. I had a basic summary plot and I had begun writing a bit of the graphic novel’s storyline, but the prompt called for me to do some drawing and create a storyboard. I decided to at least try my hand at some drawing but truth be told I cannot draw to save my life. I asked a friend for help but she told me I should just try it myself and see where it goes. So I sat down, blasted some Two Steps from Hell, and set a 3o minute timer. I kind of enjoyed it, once I got over the fact I really, truly, can’t draw. The story started to flow, even if it was only the first page. I found myself quickly heading to my computer and using to begin my drafting of the script.

I wish I had given myself some more time and I definitely do think trying to play with the storyboard on a digital scale would be interesting to try out. Who knows, maybe I’ll keep this to the side and try to flesh it out some more. I had some characters already created and I also had begun writing a script. It was certainly a challenge for myself, I’ve always kept to the motto “write what you love” and I got to incorporate what I was interested about and knew a lot about, but was restricted to an age group which was unusual. Also the drawing. I give graphic novel artists props for the work they turn out. It’s amazing stuff.

Posted in Creative Enagement

“I’m in over my head, but it sure feels nice”

I’ll be honest. I was dreading this project. Not because I don’t like the assignment, but because I’m the least creative person there is. Seriously. I can’t draw at all and I don’t know how to do any design. There was no way I could do this project, right?

I started looking through the book and just got anxiety. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and honestly, I didn’t understand what a lot of the prompts are asking (i.e. what the heck is an interface?) So I just turned on some records and tried to relax. There had to be one project that interested me. And then I found number 19. All about designing an LP cover. That was so up my alley. I was supposed to turn on the radio and design an LP cover for a greatest hits album for the first artist I heard. Well I don’t listen to the radio and after five years living here, I still don’t know a single radio station. So I chose to design a cover for Fleetwood Mac, who I happened to be listening to at the time.

Most of my research included looking at Fleetwood Mac’s previous albums to get a feel for what their style was. And it was all over the board. Some covers featured the band, or some just had artwork, and thIMG_1946en there’s Tusk, which is literally just a barking dog. So I felt confident that I had a good amount of freedom. Then i had to do the thing I hate most. Draw. Oh gosh. At this point my roommate’s cat decided to steal my pencil, so I just sorta let that happen. Once I got that back, I sketched something quick even though it wasn’t required. It was my way of deciding if I can actually do this. I also needed to include elements from some of their songs with which I am very familiar. So I chose Landslide, Gypsy, Songbird, and Gold Dust Woman. I also had to include a photograph so naturally I chose a picture of the gypsy queen herself, Stevie Nicks. I chose to draw a nature scene, the “snow covered hills”. Plus, nature scenes are fairly easy. Then from there it flowed.

I was looking at the sketch and thought. “how cool would this look in water color?”  So I took a trip to Meijer to get watercolors and gold glitter. I chose to do this on cardboard so I used the cover of a shoebox which was pretty close to the size of an actual LP sleeve. Then I started tracing and then painting. I was so much easier than I thought it would be. And I actually enjoyed myself. To the point where I would consider doing this again or even in my free time.

So I went into this whole thing thinking it was going to be some terrible disaster and it actually wasn’t bad at all. I may have even found a new hobby! But it was really cool that I got to incorporate something I love into an English project. Who knew?

Posted in Creative Enagement

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees”…and Wanting to Get Married

Two things you should know about me:

  1. I am a not-so-secret hopeless romantic.
  2. I am in love with wilderness. My happiest places normally have lots of trees and an unknown trail.

So when I randomly flipped David Sherwin’s Creative Workshop open, and it landed on challenge thirty-nine entitled “Outdoor Wedding,” I decided it was a perfect choice for my creative engagement assignment.

The prompt challenged the reader to create multiple wedding invitations for the future Mr. and Mrs. Laura and Marty Longerman, using natural material collected from outside.

The Process

In typical Courtney fashion, I began the project Thursday night after my meetings (so around 11:00pm). I had selected the aforementioned prompt beforehand and was excited to begin; however, I soon encountered a rather obvious, but forgotten, problem.

It gets dark outside at night…? So walking around finding natural material becomes a smidge more difficult.headlamp, bagel, bag.png

“Have no fear,” I thought, “I have just the tool to help in this process.” Whipping out my headlamp, I ran downstairs (quite literally), made a bagel with cream cheese, grabbed a bag for storing natural items found, and headed out.

I spent approximately fifteen minutes outside pulling leaves off of trees and bushes, finding twigs on the ground, and seeing much more litter than I expected. I live in Alpha Gamma Delta, whose backyard abuts the golf course, so I started to go and walk around there to see what I could find to inspire me. However, quickly I became rather self-conscious of the fact that I probably looked a bit creepy, walking around the golf course with a headlamp on at 11:30 pm, so I decided to head back in and make do with what I had.

I found some tan and white paper, a Sharpie pen, some paint, and my friend’s tub of Modge Podge. With all materials gathered, I settled down at a kitchen table to begin my work. I work best while listening to music, so I began this process by jamming to “The Gown of Green” by The Collection and “This Fire” by Ben Rosenbush and the Brighton. I processhad intended to listen to a different genre of music for each invitation made to see what impact that may have on my work ethic and production; however, I became too engrossed in the project to bother with music.

I decided that Laura Ambrose (simply a maiden name that popped in my head with unknown inspiration) and Marty Longerman were going to get married on my Dad’s birthday, May 23rd, at Shell Cottage in Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. The cottage is a fictional location, yet Bar Harbor is a real town on Mt. Desert Island in Maine–it is one of my favorite places I have been in travels, situated right on the edge of Acadia National Park.

External Connections

After making these invitations, I attempted to do some basic research of the conception and utilization of wedding invitations. I stumbled upon a research article by Cele Otnes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Tina M. Lowrey of Rider College pertaining to the classification of sacred and profane artifacts involved in the marriage process. Within their work, profane artifacts were classified as “profane either because brides stated that they simply did not care about these items, or because they made other remarks that indicated these items were relatively unimportant to them” (Otnes and Lowrey). Wedding invitations were included within this definition of profane artifacts. I found this information interesting, especially after the time I spent creating invitations, that brides tend to classify them as rather unimportant. It made me question why this was, and if there was any way to make wedding invitations more personal in their design to become more meaningful to brides and grooms.

Conclusions and Extensions

There were several, rather random, observations I made throughout this process that I believe to be noteworthy.

First, as I was collecting various leaves, some of the plants reminded me of plants back home. For example, I took some sprigs of a type of bush that is also outside of my house, a bush I remember we would always loose softballs in, only to be found when Dad decided to trim the bushes months later. Another set of leaves came from a type of weed that I remember invaded my backyard one summer. I remember spending days out in the heat helping my mom de-weed our yard. Although both of those memories may sound rather negative in nature, I look upon both fondly. They were either humorous or implied quality time spent with my family. It got me thinking about, if this were a real couple getting married and incorporating natural elements into invitations, how Laura and Marty could select particular plants that may be personal in nature. If they had a memorable date to an apple orchard, for instance, leaves from apple trees could be incorporated into the design. If they took memorable trips to certain locations, local vegetation from that geographical area could by used in the production process. It suddenly became a deeply personal gesture.

Much of what Kleon suggests in Steal Like An Artist resonated with this project, particularly the notion that an individual will not create a masterpiece from the get-go, but he or she should still create. I had to surrender much of my perfectionism to make this product, and boy am I glad I did.

It was liberating to create with little to no limitations.

Friends walked by, in confusion asking what in the world I was up to, and I was able to respond, “Homework. Yeah you heard me right, I’m making wedding invitations for class.”

If I had more time or could do it differently, I would, first and foremost, not do it during the night. Instead, I would collect the materials outside, from several locations, and (if weather permitting) create the invitations outside at a picnic table. Additionally, it was difficult to find many living plants at this time of year, so if done again, I would have preferred to do this project in spring, summer, or fall as the vegetation options would have been greater.

all four.png



Cele Otnes and Tina M. Lowrey (1993) ,”‘Til Debt Do Us Part: the Selection and Meaning of Artifacts in the American Wedding”, in NA – Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, eds. Leigh McAlister and Michael L. Rothschild, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 325-329.

Posted in Assignments, Creative Enagement

I Have No Creative Title to Offer

For this project I chose No. 23, “Book Report”

The challenge’s description is to call a friend and ask for a book recommendation. After receiving the title and a short summary, the goal is to create a cover for this book you’ve never read. So I called up one of my friends who is into obscure things and asked her what she’s currently reading. The book, Hyperspace, according to Alex is, “About parallel universes or something I dunno the guy is like a scientist or something”.

So initially I was thinking of things that I could do with this, but having no knowledge of any characters there wasn’t any kind of real subject that I felt should be featured on the cover, so I decided I would try and create something abstract with a spacey vibe, which is about what I imagine reading the actual book would feel like- minus any of the confusing scientific jargon that I’m sure it contains.

My method, I decided, would to be use a leftover board I had and use a technique that involves a sort of water-coloring using crayola markers and salt. So I started with a blank boardhyperspace-2 and thought that I would try and go with a playing-card opposite kind of thing to give it a parallel kind of feel. I didn’t want the sides to be too different because everyone knows parallel universes are infinite and most of them only have small changes, like our universe but if noodles were never invented.

After I gave it a wash, by adding water and trying to convince the ink to go where I wanted it, I added salt to create small “blooms” in the ink, which I hoped would look like baby galaxies. This resulted in a rather cloudy mess.hyperspace-3

Once the water dried it started to look more like I had imagined, thank god, and I thought about outlining some of the blooms but the challenge had a time limit of 60 minutes and I knew if I started I would never stop. Once everything was dried I added my title, which I felt should be kept simple and straightforward considering the scientific-ness of the book.

Final product:


My thoughts after this were mostly “Man book covers are stupid hard”. I never really thought about how hard it would be to create a single image to sum up an entire plotline. I guess, realistically, I got lucky that Alex was reading something like this, because I really cannot draw people to save my life. But at the same time, her description was ridiculously vague and left me wondering what the cover artist for Harry Potter was thinking when they had to compile all of that together.