The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

A Function Robot

For our Final Sunday Sketch, we needed to come up with the important components of our class, and depict them as an architectural blueprint or diagram. For this assignment I chose what I believed were the skills I not only used the most, but also developed and learned. Every part of a Robot is equally important in having it work. This is what I believed to be true as well, in our class. Every concept identified above is equally important. For example, critical thinking is a skill that I have used in english classes my entire life and was used her as well. However, it was slightly different this time. This is becasue, we only read graphic novels. Becasue of that, I had to go deeper into the meaning of not only the words but also the pictures. This is where visual thinking comes into play. I have never really used visual thinking in an academic setting. However, now with hundreds of drawings to analyze, I ended up thinking more visually than I ever have or ever thought I would.

One of the first things anyone notices in a piece of writing is the tone and audience. That was the same for this class, as tone and audience was important and always changing. For reflections and personal narratives the tone was more casual. While the Tracing Pages assignment had a more scholarly tone. Revision is also a huge part of any good piece of writing or drawing. Being able to revise whatever whenever, really gave me the time needed to make sure my work was the best it could be. I also was able to utilize peer review during this process, another tremendous help. Despite not having the best drawing ability, I was able to convey my point and message using mostly stick-figures. However, there were times when being a better artist would have seriously helped. As mentioned before, this class not only furthered my skills but introduced new ones. Visual thinking was one of them, and digital identity was the other. I have never had a web presence, where my work was displayed for anyone to see. However that all changed by the end of this semester.

Literacy Narrative Part 3 Reflection

The entire Literacy Narrative process has been extremely eye opening and really helpful. It’s the first writing assignment I have ever had that involved both drawing and writing. It was also really cool to see how each part of the process affected my revisions for the next part. For example, after creating my comic, I realized that my new alphabetic version needed a lot of changing. This is because I wanted my alphabetic text to go perfectly with my comic. My goal was for someone to be able to ready my alphabetic text, and then the comic, and have the story be exactly the same and consistent with each other.

This entire process has definitely helped me reach a lot of the learning outcomes for this class. The biggest thing I have learned and improved on is my visual thinking. With so many visual components to this class, I have learned how not only visual thinking can help you retain and learn information, but also how it impacts your writing. This is also one of my first classes where I have the chance to do revisions for all my work, and it has made me look at the writing process in a completely different way.

In terms of critical thinking and analysis, although every assignment this semester involved critical thinking, I think the Halfa Kucha really amplified those skills for me. When I was done with presentation, I really felt like a master in both Stitches and Kindred. I spent so much time doing close readings on both texts and ended up learning more about them than any of the other texts this year.

The Fugitive

The day before getting this assignment I had just watched The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford. This movie spoke volumes to me, as it was about a man who was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. Ever since hearing an assembly in high school about the “Innocence Project” I always found the topic very interesting. That’s why I found it fitting to use this as my scene to recreate.

Thanksgiving Drama

The hardest part of this Sunday sketch was finding the inspiration. I knew I wanted to depict a conversation, however I couldn’t think of anything with significance or true meaning. I left early for thanksgiving break as I had to travel to Alaska, where a majority of my cousins live. I knew I still needed to complete this Sunday Sketch, and as a result continued to look for inspiration. Finally, late on Thursday night I was in the kitchen when I overheard my parents talking with my dads cousin and his wife. They were in the living room talking about one of my relatives who refuses to come to thanksgiving because of an incidence over 5 years ago. It was interesting only being able to use 5 panels however considering the length of the conversion I didn’t have much trouble. I did struggle with making each panel more exciting, considering it was a stationary conversation however I think I did a good job.

Literacy Narrative Comic Reflection

Creating the comic for my literacy narrative was actually a lot of fun and pretty easy. It’s the first time ever in my life that I created a comic based on a piece of writing that I wrote myself. Making the actual comic wasn’t too different than writing my literacy narrative. This is because, I used the same strategy for all 12 of my panels. I wrote a variation of my topic sentence from each paragraph and used that as the narrative, and then looked at the rest of the paragraph, and visualized what that would look like. I then just repeated that process.

Once the visual component was added to my literacy narrative I think it really brought my story to life. However, I wrote my literacy narrative knowing that I would turn it into a comic, and so I really tried visualize everything while writing it. That’s why my thinking once the visual component was added didn’t change that much. I do think though, that the addition of drawings helped further my arguments and the message I was trying to convey. Overall my analytical thinking process wasn’t too different.

My ideas really didn’t change that much from the alphabetic version to the comic. I relied heavily on the alphabetic version in order to create my comic and as a result I feel like a lot of my ideas are constant between the two of them. There were though, a few parts in my alphabetic version that I had trouble visualizing and as a result had to create a panel without help from my alphabetic version.

I know that we still have one part of the literacy narrative to do, but after completing the first two parts I definitely think that I have met a lot of the “learning outcomes”. For example, this assignment helped me a lot in my writing process as I constantly reread and revised the alphabetical part of my literacy narrative. I also enhanced my visual thinking and creativity. By converting words into pictures it really made me visualize the words so I could draw something that depicted that. Although, throughout the year I have worked on my digital identity and use of technology, for me this assignment did not involve any technological aspect. Because I hand drew everything there was no need for a comic software or consideration of intellectual property.

How Productive am I?

This was definilty the most challenging Sunday Sketch I have done so far. Not only coming up with something to track but then also recording it. I spend about an hour trying to do it electronically, before finally deciding to do it on paper.

Productivity is a very general term, so first I decided to define what it meant to me. I defined productivity as making a good use of my time and completing a specific task. That could be many things, like doing my homework or cleaning my room. After that I had 5 categories to track. Those were being productive in class, homework, club work, exercising, and an other thing that was productive.

Fake Hunger

This assignment came in two parts. The first part was coming up with my poem. In order to do this I read through all of the pages I selected, and first chose the page I found most interesting. After deciding on that page I re-read it over and over again in order to craft my poem. I started by just circling a bunch of phrases and words I found interesting, until eventually I came up with my poem.

The second part was deciding what to draw in order to depict my poem. My poem is all about hunger but more importantly peoples situation and life, and how there is always someone out there that has it worse than you. I decided to draw two plates of food. One of them with a ton of food on it and the other very bare and with no protein, just a few peas and carrots.

Secrets Secrets

After hand drawing my triptych, I knew that for this Sunday sketch of a quadriptych, I wanted to make it out of photos. I thought it would be interesting to see how the challenge of story telling changes from hand drawn images to photos. I searched my phone trying to find four consecutive images that told a story. I found two solid candidates, and eventually settled on the one you see below. This set of four pictures shows my two cousins while we were all on vacation. My cousins and I are basically like siblings, we see each other all the time and are super close. In this moment, their mom wanted to take a picture of them, and at first they didn’t want to, however came around in the end.

After finishing this assignment I took a look at my triptych and tried to compare it to my quadtriptych. In my personal opinion, I found it a lot easier to make and understand the story when it was hand drawn. The stories for both though were very interesting, as my triptych was fiction, while the photos I chose were from a real event that I had a memory of. As a result, I was able to tell the story of what was happening during the four photos.

I Probably Have it in My Bag

The extent of actual school work in my bag is a math notebook and book for class. Everything else is very random but practical at the same time. For my electronics, I have chargers, dongles and my AirPods. I also have a lot of vaseline because my lips get very chapped. I am also prone to frequent headaches which explains the travel packets of Advil. Finally, for some bizarre reason, I have a little travel kit with nail clippers, scissors, and some pliers.

This Sunday sketch is only our second sketch about self reflection, the other one being the avatar, however I found really helpful. With the avatar post I had to think about how to represent myself and then make something. However with this post, the stuff that represents me was already there, and all I had to do was dump it out onto the floor. That’s why, I think this photo above, of the contents of my backpack really does justice as a self reflective post. Mainly because I think it shows the type of person I am. I like to think that I am very organized and I try to always have “essential” items on me at all times. For example for this backpack, the first pocket is for medical stuff like Advil, tissues, and vaseline. Then the second pocket is all technology and chargers. And the last two pockets are for books and school work. This Sunday sketch was also a lot of fun, becasue it was cool to see my classmates bags and what they have with them all the time. Although we have been in school now for over a month, I still don’t know everyone that well, and this gave me a better insight into who they are.

Go To Mommy

This Sunday Sketch was different from the rest because I felt like it was the closest thing we have done to writing a comic. The past assignments have all incorporated drawing and visual aspects, however, I feel like doing this mini comic strip assignment is helping to prepare us for turning our literacy narratives into comics. I had a lot of fun with this Sunday Sketch, as the idea came to me pretty quickly. After reading the sketch description I knew I wanted to make it comedic but still have some sort of message. The idea for this, is a spin on when a child walks for the first time, often from one parent to another. However, in this example the child is dodging dangerous situations while trying to complete this task. He first wanders into the road and avoids getting hit by a car, and then barely misses a soccer ball to the head as it soars right above him. While all of this is happening, he is completely oblivious. In this sketch, wanted to address the bliss and care free attitude of a young child. They have nothing to worry about and no real world fears as they are growing up. They just live their life, and although its not practical to have this mentality forever, it is nice not to worry. The older you get the more and more worries and concerns you have. Many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from or where they are going to live. It really makes you want to go back to the times where ignorance was bliss and the world was literally your playground.