Yotsuba & Blogs

Okay, so here’s a graphic novel review.


Author: Kiyohiko Azuma

First English Release: June 2005

Number of Volumes: 10

Black and White


It is partially visuals driven, but often needs the dialog to support what is going on.

Theme: Childhood and learning

Setting: Modern Japan

What’s going on: Yotsuba is a five year old girl recently adopted by “Dad,” Mr. Koiwai, whose given name is not yet known. Yotsuba herself apparently comes from “an island to the left.” She is energetic and curious. The family’s next door neighbors quickly become friends. They have three daughters, one in college, one in high school, and one in elementary school. The manga revolves around the daily escapades of Yotsuba and those who tag along, or get dragged along in her wake, as the case may be.

Yotsuba& is a manga I found almost by accident while surfing TVTropes. I was curious, so I looked up the page and was advised that it was cute and heartwarming. I read several chapters and found that I agreed. It’s certainly not action-packed, magical, or intellectual in any way, but it has a certain amount of charm to it. Seeing Yotsuba exploring the world and learning about simple things that we frequently don’t notice, and viewing the world from the perspective of a child, is an experience that I feel comes close to an objective, even if overly optimistic, view of the world. It helps that Yotsuba and her many adventures are adorable.

Peter and the Really Sucky Life

I didn’t realize how much Peter’s life sucked in this version the first time we watched it. I mean, I got the point and understood that he was having a rough go of it, But rehashing the opening scenes shot by shot really hammered home just how much Peter’s life sucks at the beginning of this little tale. It’s like a book written by Lemony Snicket. In this episode of Peter and the Wolf, Peter comes face to face with a freezing cold winter, a beautiful world he won’t ever get to see, other kids laughing at him, a balloon-wielding hobo, the world’s most pissed off hunter, a trash dumpster, and a duck.

Looking at all this stuff, I can see why he’d want to get the heck outta town. Anyway, here’s the six page summary of just how much Peter’s life sucks at the start of this short film.

A Story

So this is the rest of Module 2. It’s a storyboard based on the opening scene and dialogue from a movie. My art is, as usual, terrible, but hopefully that won’t detract too much from getting the point of the assignment. Camera angles and shots become much harder to depict when you’re bad at both drawing people and drawing in perspective, but I thought they came out decent at least. My added scene is the frame back to the book, just to sort of reinforce its existence. I’m not sure how important it is to the story, really. Perhaps it will serve as a sort of Chekov’s Gun or something (yay TVTropes).

Module 2 part 1

So It’s time for module 2, so here’s the first two parts, with a storyboard and another storyboard. Apologies for the awful art, I’m just really bad at art.

In other news, I finally saw How to Train Your Dragon. It was absolutely awesome, and gave me several cool ideas for stories and characters.

Anyways, picture time.

How to Train Your Dragon

So, telling a story with only images from a movie’s trailer? It seems like it should be easy, but as it turns out it’s a bit trickier than I anticipated. As it is, though, it’s our assignment, so here it goes.

How to Train Your Dragon is a movie I really want to see. I wanted to see it when it came out, but as it stands it looks like I’ll be relying on UPAC to catch this flick. Anyways, it looks cool, so I’m using it for this assignment. The trailer does look really cool. Two of my favorite things are dragons and cute, small animals, so it works out pretty well.


I don’t know if anyone else likes to walk around campus at night with their iPod. I enjoy it and find it fairly relaxing, and up until this year I’ve never really felt it was dangerous, since I always stayed on campus around the educational buildings or dorms. This year, though, I’ve already seen them several times. There is a small family of skunks living somewhere on the academic side of campus, and the first time I saw them they really surprised me. They don’t seem too threatening, but the other day I didn’t see one until I was about ten feet away from it. I backed away quickly and it never even raised its tail, but it sure startled me. Anyways, beware of the skunk population. Also, this is my mini-story based on the twelve random drawings.

Have you seen the RPI skunks?

Commons serves Pink Lemonade Now

So here’s the slightly belated set of instructions for how to make lemonade. My scanner didn’t work very well on this, probably because it couldn’t close all the way. You can still tell what’s going on, though. It was a cool assignment. I tried not to use any words, but in the end I had to use sugar, as that was really hard to draw.

Also, Commons has pink lemonade in their fountain now, and I couldn’t be happier.

How to Use Your Rocket Sled

So there’s a brand new 200+ cards in Magic: the Gathering as of Friday, and while certainly not the most impressive one in terms of power, this scrappy little guy really made my day. The art, name, and flavor text fit together to create a world and life for the character in a way that’s inspired me like few cards do. It made me want to play him in spite of how weak he is as a card overall.

Goblin on Rocket Sled

But anyways, here’s some really hard to understand instructions. They make some kind of weird robot thing that moves around on its own. Maybe it is instructions for building the goblin’s rocket sled.


Not very helpful. Here’s something a little more useful. These are instructions for building a homeless shelter out of materials that can easily be scavenged. At first I had a little trouble figuring out exactly what it was doing, but it actually looks like it would work fairly well. The design is also highly portable and contains storage space.


This was actually kind of a fun assignment to do. It took a little while for me to figure out what direction I was taking with it, but I think I came up with something pretty cool. The hardest part was figuring out good pictures to use for each individual slot. In the end, I think it turned out great.

cute bunnies are cute

A Tale

Today in Graphic Storytelling, we had to tell a story using images form a specific drawing that details a number of Netherlandic parables. I decided to tell a story people are surely familiar with.

Interesting what a few comments can help you see in images, huh?