The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

Parts of a PC

Like a computer, this class has several varying parts – each with it’s own functions and purpose. In this sketch, I explain how the parts of a computer can be compared to the different aspects and learning objectives of the work that I have done in this class. From the monitor, to the system unit, to even the router, a computer uses all these parts to function and perform fully and would be incomplete without each part fulfilling it’s role. Similarly, the experiences that I have gained from the work I have done this semester consolidate to display my understanding of the various learning objectives and allow me to continually grow as a writer.


Reflection Post for Literacy Narrative Part Three

Revised Literacy Narrative found here.

In this project, I was able to create and tell a story digitally, visually, and alphabetically. These various modes each came with their own intricacies that I needed to accommodate for. Because of this, the beauty of each mode is able to be shown as one notices the comparisons and contrasts between them. Critical thinking was also an important aspect as I thought about what I wanted to truly say and formed that into cohesive text. This critical thinking process allowed me to turn what at first looked like nothing to me, into a full essay that is able to describe my experiences throughout my life. Additionally, this project has further proven that writing is a process as I was able to revise, get feedback, and make changes to continually better my work. In both the comic and the alphabetic texts, the importance of drafts and constant revision were shown through the results of peer editing and discussions with our teacher.

After creating my comic, it felt like I had a clearer view of what I wanted to say in my alphabetic text. Turning my literacy narrative into a comic forced me to ponder what specifically had an impact on my reading and writing habits and placed more graphic images in my mind of what those experiences were as I illustrated them in my work. In my original draft, it seemed like I was very general and vague in explaining what those experiences were so once revisiting it, I knew that I had to explain them in a manner that was vivid and clear in order to create a successful comic. I was able to focus in on the reasoning behind why my reading and writing habits developed the way they did as I looked at my past with an fixed objective in mind rather than simply looking for a general outlook of it.

As I revised my narrative, the story that I wished to tell was already somewhat clear to me in my mind. I wanted to focus mainly on how my experiences in a different country had the largest impact on my reading and writing. In contrast to the first time when I was writing, I had specific points that I wanted to pinpoint and then further explain and this is changed the way I viewed my story. Now, my story clearly conveys what my biggest influences were and particularly how they influenced me.

Welcome to the Sunken Place

This scene was taken from the movie Get Out and somewhat hard for me to recreate. The main difficulty came from trying to get the expression right and I still never actually did. My pictures always ended up in me either looking like I was yawning or I was very lost which in a way I was when doing this assignment. The only other struggle was the tears because the water dried up way too often so there was a lot of re-applying. Apart from this, I couldn’t find a good and similar background so just ended up using my dorm room and my head always seemed to be tilted a bit. Overall though, this was a pretty fun assignment not only to create but to also see other people’s outcomes as well.

True War Story

The constraints given with this Sunday Sketch actually aided me in finding a story which I really liked. Because this was meant to be a true story that hooked the reader from the start, I immediately started thinking of true stories that were so rare that it seemed like it couldn’t be true. Soon I realized that my life did not contain anything like that so I turned to stories which I could manipulate to seem that way and arrived at this. It starts off with an image of a hand on the ground in a pool of blood with a caption “I died once”. Right off the bat, the reader is forced to think that this cannot be a true story as I was very much alive to actually create the story. This was exactly the kind of hook that I was looking for. From there it was smooth sailing as all of the scenes I wanted to portray came to me quickly. The only difficulty I reached was that because I added much detail to the smaller drawing on the first page, I was forced to remain consistent and add similar amounts of detail even as the page continually increased in size. Overall, the assignment was a fun and interesting one to do.

Reflection Post: Literacy Narrative Comic

My comic is an autobiography that highlights the major changes in my life that influenced and defined my reading and writing habits. In this comic, I wanted to clearly convey how my experiences with reading and writing drastically changed as a result of the change of environments within my life. To do so, I adopted more of a traditional narrative style where the narrator, which is myself, tells the story with the aid of the images in the panels. Due to this, one may notice that there is very little dialogue between the characters depicted in the comic but rather the story is carried along by the text either found below or above the images—the voice of the narrator. 

As mentioned previously, in this comic I attempted to highlight the change in my attitude and outlook on reading and writing due to various experiences within my life. I believe that this emphasis was much more present in my visual comic than in my original alphabetic text. Once the visual aspect was added, it allowed for easier story-telling and the role of envisioning now fell on myself as the illustrator rather than the reader. As the illustrator, I was now suddenly forced to think about what I want the reader to see and then place that on the page as a drawing to the best of my ability. Not only that, but my thinking process was different as well as I started to invest more thought into what I specifically wanted to say and show rather than the general story that I originally gave in my alphabetic text. The transformation of my literacy narrative from plain alphabetic text to a comic filled with images as well as text gave rise to an extra layer of depth and content which ultimately bettered the story in my opinion. 

Creating this literacy narrative comic allowed for the use of various modes of composing text, namely written, visual, and digital. Because of this, I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone to be able to utilize these differing techniques in writing. Additionally, various techniques and ideas seen in comics which we have read this semester have been used in my comic. For example, the varying perspectives seen in my comic was inspired by panels seen in Stitches and Spinning. This comic also had several different versions which took multiple drafts and rereading to finish showing its process of creation, and critique received from others was also taken into consideration. Lastly, as shown throughout my comic, visual thinking strategies were used as I created each panel. I constantly questioned whether the images and text in each panel properly served its purpose and flowed into the next panel. 

The creation of my Literacy Narrative Comic came around in a rather difficult manner. This is mainly because of the time I spent on the visual aspect of the comic. After drawing each panel out to the point where I wanted it, I went back to detail and shade each image to give it more of an effect when the reader views it. Still, my ideal vision for my comic could not be realized due to time constraints as well as a lack of skill on my part. If I was given more time and a professional illustrator, I would have liked to make the visuals less cartoon-like in order to correspond with the slow and semi-serious tone I was trying to accomplish with the narration. Additionally, I would have included a couple more pages to get even more detailed into how exactly my reading and writing habits changed due to moving.

How Satisfied Am I With Myself?

For a week, I tracked various categories that I believe ultimately play a factor in my amount of satisfaction with myself at the end of the day. These categories covered various areas throughout my day such as my work, food intake, leisure, and sleep. While there are many aspects of the day, sometimes very specific aspects, that can affect my satisfaction with myself at the end of the day, these categories were chosen to give a more general outlook at how my satisfaction is affected by my overall day. By doing so, I can analyze the data and draw out possible connections between my satisfaction and the various categories.

I decided to use a line graph to represent the categories as it’s simple way to view multiple data set and easily point out interesting patterns, similarities, or differences, between the data. According to the visualization, I feel more satisfied with myself generally when I have spent more time doing work or studying and less time on leisure, or time outside. As expected, my satisfaction levels correspond directly with the amount of work that I am able to get done and somewhat indirectly with leisurely activities. Another interesting observation is that my satisfaction levels also seemed to correspond to the amount of sleep that I got. The more time I spent sleeping, the more I feel satisfied at the end of the day.

I’m confident that if I was to continue this project as it is into the future, the results will more or less stay the same. In order to look more in depth, I would try to find a way to observe more specific aspects of my life and how they affect my satisfaction. This project is indeed a valuable tool for self analysis as it allows one to be able to draw conclusions not solely based off of one’s opinions of themselves but rather by their actual behavior and habits.

Wow look, it’s a duck and a rabbit.

This assignment took me some time to complete, mainly because I had no idea of what to do for the plot. I decided that I wanted it to be funny very early on and began to search online for some comical quadriptychs to give me some inspiration. After pondering for some time alongside doing some other work, still I had no idea of what I wanted my plot to be. I decided to just start drawing anything that came to mind, add some text, and see where that takes me. Luckily for me, this process took me exactly where I wanted and I landed at the final product you see above. It’s fairly simple and the punchline doesn’t come until the end which is something you see often in other comics like this. Initially I had the duck as the sole character, however I soon realized that a story will most likely need another character to push it along. Then I arrived at the rabbit who ended up being the one saying the punchline. This assignment was very similar to the triptych in my opinion, it really just felt like now I had some more room to add slightly more depth and plot to the overall comic. Because of this though, I did enjoy making this one a bit more than the triptych.

Bag Book

  • Laptop – pretty much take this everywhere.
  • Textbooks/Notebooks – I carry these because I have to.
  • Eraser – this stays at the bottom of my bag permanently.
  • Calculator – yeah…just a calculator.
  • Pick/Comb – gotta stay strapped.
  • Roll-on – for those moments…
  • Pencils & Pens – essential.
  • Vaseline – lips must stay un-chapped.
  • Apple Earbuds/Charger – very essential to my everyday lifestyle.
  • Computer mouse – I think I annoy people in the library with my clicks.

I believe that this image represents me up to a certain extent. Of course, it’s almost impossible to be able to completely represent a person through their belongings however, they do give a glimpse into what an individual is like. I would say that this image represents me at a very surface level as there aren’t really any very definitive items that would hint at a certain passion or interest that I have. I consider most if not all of the items in this image quite common items that a lot of people carry around also. Creating this image was simple as well and I didn’t have any significant challenges as I did so. The most difficult part of the assignment (which wasn’t really that difficult) would be adding the little descriptions next to each of the items.

To me, anything written that allows the writer to be able to express themselves can be considered a form of writing, and a catalog of items that represents one’s self, even if the representation is not actually true, definitely fits this criteria.


My triptych comic is pretty uncomplicated and straightforward. I wanted to include an aspect of humor in this assignment hence the art style, short sentences, and the plot. Creating the idea and planning it out didn’t take too long, but rather it was drawing each image then editing them to a point where I was satisfied that took up most of my time. Particularly, I wanted to make sure that what was happening in the comic was as clear as possible. To do so, I used reference material such as another image of someone picking up an item and throwing it to make sure the actions appeared as intended. Crafting this sort of comic strip was quite different than previous writing I’ve done this semester as I attempted to make this simple and laid-back whereas in other writing assignments, I’ve included more complex content.