An Unusual Valentine

The Valentine design assignment asks us to

Create you very own Valentines Day cards. Go ahead and make a funny spoof valentine that would make people laugh! Use at least one image and modify it in some way to create a cool effect. Afterwards, go ahead and send that baby out to people who would get a kick out of it. You can be sentimental if you want to, but funny cards are prefered!

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To make it, I followed the process.

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I started off with a random image I had on my computer, which I pasted into a Drawing in a document on Google Drive. For more details on this process, reference my other posts: its really not that complicated!
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Then I clicked on the textbox option, which lets you draw a textbox wherever you want with editable text.
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I drew the textbox by dragging the cursor to expand the textbox. To move it around afterward, just select it by clicking on it, and then drag the textbox until its in the desired position.

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Click on “More” while the textbox is selected, and it gives you the text editing options.

A Slightly Ingenious Way of Exposing the Setting

The most useful piece of media in my story would have to be the poster I made based on the Design Assignment Vintage-ify A Place. Its pretty interesting to begin with.

Richmond Outside and Firefly Design, Inc. teamed up to create vintage-like prints of some favorite spots along the James in Richmond, VA.  Based on the WPA National Park posters of the 30s and 40s, these RVA posters add retro flair to some of the city’s popular spots.

Is there a jewel in your city or town?  What about an infamous spot?  Is there a fictional place that deserves its own retro poster?  Get to work!

But it also works perfectly for my story to subtly explain about the setting. The story centers around the fountain in City Square, where the protagonist discovers a special secret: there are dolphins who live in the water. However, introducing this place is a little hard; I’m tempted to get sidetracked explaining what it looks like and its history. This poster can do that without forcing the information on the reader, but instead presenting it in a visually-interesting way that lets the reader explore the information, and making it easy to find for reference. I will be using this strategy in my “real” writing (stuff written for the sake of publishing).

Here’s how I did it!


Step 1: Import Image

Because this is a full length tutorial, I’m going to include everything. That means finding the image is included too.

I went to Google Image Search and googled “dolphin fountain”, then selected images that are “Labelled for reuse with modification” on the menu bar, according to Google. The search yielded these results.

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I selected this image.


To see it up close, first I clicked on the image.

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To import this image into WordPress and for editing in Google Drive, I right-clicked for the menu that allows you to copy the image URL.

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If this doesn’t work for you, you can just open up the website and click on the picture, or try the Open image in new tab option on the same menu, then copy the URL from the box.

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As promised, it should open a new tab.

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Just copy the address in the address bar above the image by right-clicking for this menu, and clicking on Select all. Alternatively, you could just right-click and hit Ctrl+A on your keyboard, assuming its a PC.

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Then of course, hit Copy!

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To import the image, paste that URL address as follows into a Drawing in a Google Document on Google Drive.

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And the image is successfully imported into a Drawing.

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Step 3: Overlaying Text

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To Read More: My Clever Little Add On

Although its not technically part of my narrative, I added on one more assignment in the design category. Its called Book Artist, and as per the name it asks you to:

Re-design your favorite book cover!


In GIMP/Photoshop/any image editor of your choosing, create a new book cover for your favorite story! Imagine that there’s a new, special edition of the tale coming out, and YOU are the special, super awesome artist who has been chosen to design the new look!

In this case, instead of using a favorite book, I used an imaginary book that contains my story and what happens afterward.

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I made my tutorial in slideshow format this time, just to change things up one last time. It was a little more effort, but probably a lot easier to navigate that cumbersome long posts.

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Whining about Wanderlust, Part II: Its My Philosophy!

For 2.5 stars, I decided to do the “Minimalize Your Philosophy” Design Assignment. As per usual, I utilized Drawings in Google Drive. But since this assignment was relatively easy, this time I took more screenshots than ever before. I almost considered turning them into a gif for the benefit of the internet.  Hopefully they will be helpful! I also used a tool I’ve never used before, called “recolor” on Google Drive.

I began with a quote from one of my favorite poets, none other than Sylvia Plath. Although her quote rings with determination and dreams of wanderlust, she was known for writing confessional poetry, a style defined by opening up discussion of darker private, personal matters such as depression, death, and trauma. Its highly-relatable for people who suffer from depression like myself. I paired the quote with a painting by Vincent van Gogh, another famous depressive. Like the quote, I thought the painting was actually quite pleasant and encouraging, with the lights that seem to hover just beyond reach of the choppy water, in spite of the backstory of van Gogh’s life. Its called “Starry Night Over the Rhone”, painted by van Gogh in 1888.


I would like to think this fulfills the extra challenge to “include a unique element that makes it YOU.” Literally, in this case, I consider myself an ostensibly upbeat person in spite of events in my life.

I imported this image from the Wikipedia article about Vincent van Gogh by copying the URL address.

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I specifically chose this painting because of the nighttime setting, as well as the openness of the scene. To import the image, I went into a Google Drive document and opened up a drawing.

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It opens as a separate window. In the drawing window, simply click on the image icon (I hovered over it so the label “Image” would appear where you need to click).

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Clicking on image will open a window where you can paste any URL address as follows:Design Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (6)

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Hit “Select” (the blue button at the bottom) to exit the “Insert Image” window and return to the drawing window. Now you will have the image ready to edit in the drawing window. Design Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (7).jpg

I thought the image looked a little blurry in the size it originally appeared, so I shrunk it. To shrink it, first I clicked on the image to select it.

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Next, I clicked on the blue square on the corner and dragged it inward. Just like the way an image would be resized in Microsoft software and in general.

I started thinking about color, based on the readings provided to help with the Design Blitz (that’s finally done! But the post is taking me forever to write, so sadly I can’t link it yet). Its a fairly pleasant picture, as discussed before, and I did want to preserve that. But I also wanted to subdue the colors a little. At first I thought I would try making them less saturated, reducing the intensity of the color to soften the image in relation to the text that would be superimposed.

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In Image Options, as you can see above, I found the perfect solution. I recolored the entire image to be in monochrome, which preserves the beauty of the lights but simplifies the distracting colorfulness of the image. Design Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy.jpgDesign Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (2)Design Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (3).jpgDesign Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (4)Design Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (5)Design Assignment Minimize Your Philosophy (6).jpgI made a few final changes after looking back at this concerning the typeface, thanks to the excellent resources provided for understanding typography for our Design Blitz.

Books are a girls best friend

For the Create A READ Poster assignment, worth 3.5 stars, DS106 students are challenged to make a poster urging people to read in the style of the posters made by the American Library Association. I immediately thought back to an unexpected discovery I made once. Apparently Marilyn Monroe loved to read. Just Google “Marilyn Monroe reading” to find more images like the one above. Sure, some of them are of her reading scripts, but she also often had her nose in all kinds of pleasure reading. In fact, there were supposedly 430 favorite books that Marilyn Monroe had read and kept in her personal library! Unlike many of the fashion icons, actresses, models, and celebrities of today (cough Kardashians), Marilyn was beauty and brains in one package (not to mention a lot more gorgeous than today’s models, but anyway, if you want more of that you can see from the many pictures of her that I have pinned).


As per usual, I used Drawings in Google Drive software. However, this time I’m going to structure my tutorial a little differently, in case the format of the other tutorials did prove helpful to anybody by itself.

How to make a simple text poster on Google Drive

Step 1: Insert Drawing into A Google Doc

Click Insert from the menu at the top, and scroll down to the fourth option, Drawing.

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Simply open up a Google document, slideshow, or even spreadsheet, and this option will exist just the same.

Step 2: Inserting an Image into Drawing

When you click on Drawing under Insert, this window opens up:

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Click on the the Image icon on the Drawing window menu, which I am mousing over in the following screenshot so that the label shows (my cursor will not show on screenshots for some reason).

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When you click on that, the Insert Image window will appear. It allows you to add images by URL address. Copy of Reading Poster (5)

To get the URL address for an image, just right click to get a menu like the one below:Copy of Reading Poster (6).jpg

On that menu, you click Copy image address in order to, that’s right, copy the image’s address! (I don’t know how I survived without this handy tool. If your computer’s menu doesn’t work like this though, you can just click on the picture and copy the URL address from above, just like I did for the YouTube video in my last post.)

And of course, you paste it in. A preview should appear as follows. If the preview appears and looks good, click Select. Otherwise, there may be an issue with your URL address. Copy of Reading Poster (7).jpg

Hitting Select should return you to the Drawing window with your image. And there you have it! It should look like this:

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Step 3: Superimposing Text

After I got my picture, I still had to add text. To do that, you click on the Text box icon on the Drawing menu, which I am mousing over in this screenshot so its labelled:Copy of Reading Poster (9).jpg

Draw a text box by dragging the cursor to expand it. You can also move this text box around.

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Finally, you can add in what you want to say. In my case, I wanted to make it clear that reading makes you beautiful. To add to my message, I considered the connotations of different colors before deciding on what color the text and highlighting (for text visibility) would be. Pink is a soft, feminine color associated with beauty, and its fairly visible on the pale yellow. I usually don’t like to do colored text, especially on a colored background, but luckily in this case it adds to the 1950s aesthetic of black and white photography and Marilyn, but is also fairly readable because most colorblindness is between red and green rather than composite colors like pink and yellow. Finally, the bright, vibrant color of the text and highlighting also set the text apart from the black and white image, making them more likely to catch your attention.

When you’re happy with the appearance of the text and image, just hit Save & Close to have your image in a Google document.

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Hopefully this new format of tutorial helps anyone who still felt uncomfortable with Google Drive. Its such a lifesaver, as you can probably tell from the face I’m constantly using it for this class.

And remember: reading is beautiful!

Two Terrible People of a Kind

For 2 stars in the Design Assignment category, I did the Favorite Movie Quote Assignment from the Digital Storytelling Assignment Bank. The image is from the movie Gone with the Wind, which has been on my mind recently, probably in part due to my response to the “Name that Movie” Daily Create. In this image, Scarlett O’Hara dances with Rhett Butler, but not in the romantic circumstances you might imagine. Rather, Scarlett is supposed to be in mourning for her first husband, a man she married at age 16 to spite the man who rejected her while remaining close to him and his family. While her dark clothing and black veil fool the rest of the world, Rhett Butler sees right through the guise of guilt to the bored, childish Scarlett, who would rather look pretty to dance and flirt with the men at the ball. So he prompts her to do something scandalous (if you want to know the full backstory, read the book! I can’t explain how cleverly he did it without giving away a ridiculous amount of plot.)  That is, he takes her out to dance, IN PUBLIC. And he doesn’t give a damn (bad pun intended).

The quote does not actually come from the movie, but rather from the novel on which the movie is based. As much as I love the movie, its hard to find any movie quotes that narrate exactly what Scarlett is thinking. Its no fault of the movie; if you have read the book (which most people in 1939 had), its exceedingly obvious what Scarlett is thinking at any given moment. And the rubric technically does say that “opposite interpretation” should earn a 30% of 30%…so yeah, it just made more sense to do it this way.

What I love about this quote is how easily it applies to both Scarlett and Rhett. The basis of their relationship is that they are fundamentally very similar people in that both of them tend to be very down-to-earth and selfish, unlike many of the honorable people around them, and thus they both do very well as the genteel civilization of the Old South crumbles around them.

Once I had my quote and image, I followed a simple process to make the image for the assignment. I opened a drawing in a Google document (this process has been discussed in numerous other blog posts and is quite simple/intuitive, so I decided to omit it from this post), and inserted an image via URL into the drawing as follows:

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N.B. The image was licensed for reuse with modification, another reason why I chose it over others.

Once the image had been inserted, it looked as follows:

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I moused over “Text box” as I took a screenshot in order to show where the option is. I clicked on that and drew a text box in the same manner that one would do on Microsoft software such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, etc. Just about anyone with basic computer experience can probably follow everything after this point. But if you want to see how I drew the text box before typing in the words, here you go:

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And finally, once I typed in the quote, I centered it on the page horizontally, as can be seen below:

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And that’s all I had to do. Actually, doing the screenshots took longer than the assignment itself. But hopefully it will help someone else do the same assignment with the incredibly easy-to-use tools on Google Documents. (Also, hopefully it will get someone to read Gone with the Wind, the novel by Margaret Mitchell, or at least watch the movie. Both are underrated classics.)


A Fun Take on a Traumatizing Movie

As suggested in Dr. Polack’s guide for this week, I chose the Truthful movie poster assignment from the Digital Storytelling Assignment Bank, in the Design section. This assignment is worth 4 stars.

I just picked a movie at random from a list of favorites I suggested to a friend. The movie I chose was Deliverance, a somewhat-disturbing R-rated classic. This rating is well-earned, trust me: I was traumatized for a while after I watched this movie, and not by something like cuss words, but by incest, violence, rape, etc…so be prepared.

Deliverance4It was an excellent movie though, and I also really love the design of this poster for it. It has an elegant simplicity about it, dominated by the title in the whitespace around the image. The question at the top and the surrealist image work together to convey the vaguely-unsettling atmosphere of the situation the four men find themselves in on what seems like a pleasant wilderness outing. The main thing I recall after that is the infamous “squeal like a pig” line in the rape scene. I knew that I wanted to reference it in my poster.

To make the poster, I used the free software of Google Drive. In a Google document (pretty much the equivalent of a Word document, but online and free!), I inserted a drawing, as you can see below.

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In the “Drawing” window, you can insert an image by clicking on the image icon, as below.

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To insert the image, I simply copied the URL of the image as below.

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With the image in the drawing, I edited out the caption above the main image (by covering it with a white rectangle), which reads “What did happen Cahulawassee River?” and replaced it with my own snide take on the movie.

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After adding the textbox, of course there were countless little adjustments with the font, size, bolding, underlining, etc. until the final product looked just like the original. It was a fun project overall; I’d definitely recommend doing this assignment to a classmate, especially with my post handy if you want to do it with Google Drive.

Update: I shared this here on my Twitter as well, along with a fun bit of backstory.