Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
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Krissa Johnson
English 225
Explorations Project Report and Reflection
Spring 2010

The Report: "Red Car Blue Car"

For her report on her project, Krissa provided this PowerPoint with narration, so click on "Slide Show" and then "From Beginning" and be sure to access the recordings.

Explorations Reflective Piece

For my explorations project, I created a children’s book for my nephews. I basically based the book off of them—they were my inspiration. At the beginning of the quarter, while deciding what I wanted to do for my explorations project, I knew right away that I wanted to create a book. I’ve always been really interested in writing books. In fourth grade, my friend and I worked jointly together to create and illustrate a book about elves and emeralds. You could compare it to “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff. Also, throughout the years, I have created other short stories. Long story short, I knew that I would get the most enjoyment out of creating a book for the boys.

After some thought, I realized that my best bet would be to make it about cars because the three-year-old, Trevor, is enthralled with them. I added a couple twists to the story, like naming the main characters after the boys (Trevor and Carter) and basing the book on their main activities as cars (racing down the street, going to the mechanic shop playground, etc.) The easiest part about creating the book was writing it out. But the hard part came when I had to actually “illustrate” the pages. I originally started just drawing the cars, roads, and scenery directly onto the pages with colored pencils. But while looking at my drawings, I was just not satisfied. It seemed juvenile and unprofessional to me. So I started over and I based the cars that I drew off of some of Trevor’s toy cars, especially ones from the Disney movie Cars. This time I drew the outlines of the characters onto colored construction paper and cut them out from there. This proved to be a much better technique. And in the end, I was extremely happy with my results, and so were the boys! After reading it to Trevor a couple more times, he started to really like it and now, when we sit down to read books, he asks for “Cars!” (What he calls the book). Also, I was recently able to bind the book, which I know will make it significantly easier and more enjoyable to read.

The class responded well to my book. After reading all of their comments, I feel that they really enjoyed the book that I created. Many of them were able to recognize that the characters somewhat resembled the characters in the movie Cars. Others noticed that I included an education theme in the book (look left, right, left). A lot of people simply appreciated the different form of artwork. Something I really liked was that Erika was able to relate my project and the illustrations in it to her project on author and illustrator, Esphyr Slobodkina. Helen mentioned that she would like to do something along the lines of what I did, for fun. I like that my project was able to spark some thinking in other people’s minds, and also some inspiration to start a project like this! I feel like that is one of the main points of the project: that while creating it, we learn something about ourselves, and we help others gain new ideas or understandings too.

And I truly did learn something valuable about myself while creating the book! I consider my family a rather artistic family but before I wrote this book, I viewed my siblings and parents as more artistic than I was. I really hadn’t found my niche yet. But this book sort of expanded my view on what counts as “artistic.” I may not be the best painter (like my father and sister) but I can write, and I am musical, and I can draw! And when I really try hard, I can do these things well! It’s really inspiring to get these “epiphanies.” I am a lot more proud of my abilities now, and consider myself more of an artist. Looking back on this project, I can say that it not only inspired me, but also some of my classmates. I feel that it was very successful and I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to create this book.

Copyright 2010
Krissa Johnson

Funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title III Grant PO31A980143
Sherri Winans, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA