The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing


I always adopt a systematic approach to tasks. Like a computer program, I decompose my writing process into small, distinct, and manageable parts. The program, written in java syntax form, continually add new text and images, effectively editing and revising a traditional essay until the final draft is acceptable and meets expectations. The new line added to the program, “draw diagram” line would effectively include visual thinking into the writing process.

The link to the assignment can be found here.


The entire literacy narrative project has had the most significant impact on me as a writer. It has not changed my perception of writing but rather changed the way I would approach writing by incorporating visual thinking into my writing process. My comic focused more on moments that were of relevance and had a bigger impact on me as a reader and a writer. My first literacy narrative draft failed to focus on my parents’ influence on my progression as a reader primarily. The comic rectified that error. Additionally, the first draft did not even explicitly address the negative impact of college essays on my writing. 

Constructing my comic provided me with the illusion of “writing” about a character from a third-person view, something which traditional writing failed to do. As a result, the third and final literacy narrative project was an effective combination of the images and text.


I underwent the same writing process for this assignment as I did for the previous assignments. The set of constraints allowed me to narrow down my options and focus on what I want to showcase. Arriving at my destination, I realize that my comic could potentially be more than what it currently is, but at the same time if I were to be given the freedom to construct my comic in my way than I wouldn’t be exactly sure in what I was trying to accomplish.

I chose my story to be a conversation I had with my friend, Cole, about the choice I made in wearing a Deadpool hoodie. We talked about how society impedes us with constrictions and that our choices shouldn’t be determined by society. It was slightly problematic excluding a few moments from the conversation I wanted to show on my 5-panel comic.

the link to the assignment can be found here.


The literacy narrative comic assignment was significantly different than the previous assignments. This week’s assignment required meticulous planning and attention to detail. In the first literacy narrative assignment, I did not express properly what I wanted to communicate to the reader. In the first draft of the first literacy narrative assignment, I put more emphasis on my fascination with Game of Thrones than the general process of how I grew as a reader and a writer. I decided to take a different approach to this assignment and focus on the external forces that shaped the way I read and write. The most challenging aspect of constructing my literacy narrative comic was recognizing my rhetorical situation. The set of constraints imposed (a limited number of pages) forced me to omit numerous reading and writing experiences that had a significant impact. The peer-review process played a key role in how my comic was structured. My initial draft focused on my father’s influence on my reading. The plan was to limit the number of panels per page to four, but the feedback I got was to uniformly structure the story so that each moment got its fair share of the spotlight. I employed a visual thinking strategy employed by Drnaso in Sabrina, where close-ups on a screen or letter are utilized which brings out the illusion that the reader is (literally) seeing it from the character’s point of view. David Small, the author of Stitches, influenced the way I drew my father’s facial features and expressions.

I had a rough outline of the story I wanted to tell, but after progressing through a few panels I had a clearer and more specific idea that I wanted to portray on paper. Expressing moments visually allowed me to easily portray scenes I would not have been able to do in a traditional narrative essay. Writing for colleges was a traumatic experience and expressing that experience in the form of a comic allowed me to showcase the way I felt about the experience, how I experienced difficulties with writing, and the nightmares I had about the essays. The literacy narrative comic assignment has forced me to rethink the way I wrote my alphabetical literacy narrative and focus on the moments emphasized in the comic. 

I feel that if in an ideal situation the set of constraints were to be eliminated, the story would have had the chance of being developed organically and there would’ve been more insight into my relationship with my parents in terms of reading and the negative effect college essays had on my perception of writing. The end product would have been a comprehensive overview of my transformative experience as a reader and a writer.

The link to the assignment is here.

Image credits:


The past week, for me, has been pretty depressing. Unlike the other assignments, this Sunday sketch assignment took up a significant amount of time. My goal was to simplistically quantify a subjective quantity, such as depression, based on specific categories. The five categories: loneliness, study/work, talking with family, sleep, hangouts. The results were satisfying, to say the least. The categories selected had a relatively radical influence on depression. Loneliness contributes to depression, while sleep has a neutral effect (because I would usually sleep if I was depressed). Studying, talking with family, and hanging out decreased the effect of depression for me.

I decided to use time as the unit of measurement for the categories, the greater the amount of time the greater the effect that category will have on my depressive mood. After analyzing the data collected from the past week, I could conclude that I have been in a more depressive mood at the end of the week than on weekdays. I chose to visualize the five categories in the form of a timetable as it was easier for me to quantify depression on the final scale. The final scale was a simple bar graph showcasing depression in numerical form.

The project has done a surprisingly good job. If I were to continue with this project in the future, I would’ve continued with it similarly as I did the past week, though, I would add more variables to the equation to bring about more accurate results.

Link to the assignment is here.

Image credits:


She thinks me too meek

She had only to be what she is

She’s charming

She “acted”

A woman

And so other

It’s she who’s the real thing

Developed and deepened his personal existence

The link to the assignment can be found here.


Creating a quadriptych comic was a slightly simpler process for me than the triptych assignment. The quadriptych assignment gave me the freedom to add or rather complicate the simplified middle story of the comic. Unlike the triptych comic, constructing the quadriptych comic with one additional panel allowed me to “flesh” out the story more. I wanted to tell a story that emphasizes the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” by drawing a stereotypical cartoon character who mistakes a giant monster for a cave. As shown in the quadriptych, the character runs towards what appears to be a cave. The third panel shows the character from inside the “cave” with the jagged edges giving the idea that this is not an ordinary cave.  A giant monster can then be seen in the final panel.

The link to the assignment can be found here.


The dude(me): a backpack. 

The study dude: a laptop(MacBook).

The genius dude: a calculator.

The “I’ve got your back” dude: a wallet.

The annoying dude: a health book.

The tutor dude: an economics book.

The dude with all the tools: a pencil case.

The hungry dude: a nimko bag.

Without my backpack slowly but surely I would’ve lost my way. My backpack is to me as chocolate is to vanilla. I wouldn’t survive in today’s world without my backpack, let alone the first few weeks of college. My backpack is just like me in a way it is equipped, as am I, to deal with everyday problems. The backpack is a composition of several personality traits (items) just like me: a composition of dudes. I didn’t find the assignment to be challenging; it was easy to see my bag as a representation of myself. Constructing the image was a simple process as well. I laid out all the items in a systematic manner. Representing yourself as an object would be a type of writing, but I think it would fall more into the category of personification of objects than a representation of oneself.

The link to the assignment is here.


The concept of a triptych seemed pretty familiar to me as I used to make similar small sketches back in middle school. At first, I decided on drawing my triptych, but apparently, I found out that my drawing skills had deteriorated significantly so I settled on a photo. The photo consists of me and my friends walking up a hill in the Khunjerab park in northern Pakistan. Taking into consideration that of how much we were out of shape and how much of a grueling hike it was, reaching the top of the hill was seen as a noteworthy achievement. Crafting a triptych was different for me in a way that this time out sketch had to have some form of a story. This assignment, to me, felt more like constructing a “comic strip” than what the other assignments did. The basic composition process was fairly simple, I divided the photo into three separate parts and used Snapchat to add text to it.

The link to the assignment is here.