The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

Unpacking ENG 181:

For my final Sunday Sketch I decided to pay homage to one of our earlier sunday sketches; “What’s In Your Bag?” Where I dissected my school bag and gave a discription of each item. I thought of this sketch when creating this assignment because this English class was very much like a bag containing various elements and items. The two biggest components of the bag were the books we read along with the website we created. This illustration is a reflection of how our class time mainly focused on these two aspects. And the materials we covered that contributed to helping us achieve the outcomes of the course. I also included the outside texts that we used to analyze the comics. I identified these the “Accessories” of the pack because we didn’t necessarily need them but they became very useful throughout the semester. All of the items in the bag were essential to my comprehension and understanding of the Learning Outcomes.

Birth of A Poet Reflection

For my third and final Literacy Narrative I revised my story of how poetry shaped me as a writer. All the revisions I’ve made to the initial draft can be surmised in the simple changing of the title from “Literacy Narrative 1” to the “The Birth of A Poet.” This rebranding of my work reflects how my perception of the assignment became more personal as I progressed over the course of this semester.

Initially I didn’t understand the purpose behind writing a story about how I became a writer. It wasn’t until after creating my comic that I understood why this assignment was so integral to my journey as a writer at Emory. These literacy narratives weren’t simply about recounting moments that made me write a certain way. They were about making me understand as a writer and critical thinker, why these moments made my writing the way it is. Upon understanding this why, I can confidently say that all of my writing assignments have become more enjoyable.

Before taking this class I did not enjoy extended writing assignments. I spoke of this discontent in my first Literacy Narrative. I also stated that I seperated the idea of writing assignment for class from creating poetry. I was very invested in poetry because “it gave me a voice and I began writing poems about people, places, politics and social justice issues I found compelling.” This was the why behind my writing.

Once I realized that not only poetry, but writing in general, allowed me to have a voice, I became more invested in my writing. Although his realization may seem obvious to some, it took a very long process for me to come to this conclusion. Ultimately it was the comic in “Literacy Narrative II” that I created which gave me this new perspective. I decided to structure the comic in the form of a poem and capture the main ideas of the alphabetic texts. To me, poetry has always been about capturing the bigger picture. In retelling the overaching concept of my alphabetic narrative in the form of a poem and illustrations I realized that poetry, drawing, and writing weren’t so different after all.

In returning to the alphabetic text I made sure that it captured the main idea of why writing was important to me instead of just recounting an boring old story. The process of creating a comic highlighted the main ideas of my first Literacy Narrative and in my revisions I believe I was able to use those main ideas to increase the clarity of my alphabetic text.

As for the Learning Outcomes I explored through the process of my Literacy Narratives, there are two primary outcomes that come to mind. The outcome of “ Rhetorical Composition” was most exemplified in the process of creating these narratives. As I stated before, it wasn’t until after I “composed texts in multiple genres,” that I was able to understand the importance of the assignment. Secondly, “Writing as Process” also helped me achieve this understanding because it wasn’t until my draft was peer edited and revised that I was able to thoroughly reflect on it. I really feel as though my comic and Literacy Narrative are “successful texts” due to the multiple revsions they underwent during the process of their publication.


This assignment for me was about pushing the bounderies of a sunday sketch and exploring different concepts I’ve learned throughout the semester. The first aspect of this comic that I focused on was the idea of a cool medium. I believe that the intention of this comic was to increase the content of the panels as the size of the page increased. In understanding this task I decided to do the opposite and make the content stay the same and even decrease as the panel size increased. This was very intentional in keeping the content of the panel simple because I wanted to draw the readers eyes to immense blank space of the comic.

The second element I decided to incorporate into this comic was the idea of a loop. I was first introduced to this concept in one of Isaac’s first posts and I’d been waiting for an oppourtunity to try it out with my own spin. The loop in this comic is that the size of the stick figure in the last panel is the exact same size as the size of the figure in the first panel. This is really to drive home the idea that “no matter how big I get, I’ll always feel small on the inside.

This comic for me was personal in that I dealt with feelings that I’ve felt for a while. Overtime they have gotten better which has directly been a product of the positive people and environment I’ve surrounded myself with at Emory. The difficulty with this comic was finding which story to tell. Which also had to do with the fact that I’ve already done this assignment for a previous post. Overall I’m very proud of what I was able to do with this comic and the creativity that I incroporated into it.

A Reflection About A Poem About Poetry

I really enjoyed creating this comic because it allowed me to illustrate a story very personal to the way I write today. By depicting the overall concept of my Literacy Narrative 1, I was able to look at it from another perspective that to me was more engaging. In my Literacy Narrative 2, A Poem About Poetry, I look at my journey from not writing anything and disliking my English assignments to sharing my poetry on public platforms. The feedback that I got on our rough draft day was very positive and helpful in creating my final draft. My peers suggested that I really bring the imagery to life as well as find a way to enhance the flow of the comic.

On page 2 I have the phrase “beautiful poetry” going into the characters ear from outside the panel. This panel signified how I would watch poetry but never to write it. I decided to bridge the panels together by creating a loop. On page 3, in the last panel I’m the one creating the “beautiful poetry” that will hopefully be going to people’s ears.

A Week in Life of an Emory Scholar

For this Sunday Sketch, I decided to look very closely at how four different factors affected my overall study habits at Emory. I also wanted to know what type of assignments should I complete to varying points during my day to ensure my time is being used effectively. Some tasks require lots of energy and focus while others are more simple and just need some minimal motivation. Therefore, these factors were my levels of Energy, Motivation, Focus, and Productivity. I ranged each element from 1-5, one being very low and five being very high. I then looked at how these levels fluctuated throughout my day and throughout my week and came to some interesting conclusions. 

This research was vital to me because I wanted to see what days and what times during the days would be the most suitable time to work on a particular assignment. For example, based on the data, I can conclude that my peak focus time is during breakfast. Therefore, going forward, I can aim to complete all my readings during the early breakfast time because I know I’ll be able to focus on them. In contrast, it’ll probably be best to achieve my most energy-intensive assignments during dinner time because that’s when my energy levels are typically the highest. I also was able to conclude from my data that the factors that impact my study habits are directly correlated to the number of classes I have on a given day. On Thursday, I have three-morning courses back to back, and they are all very long and rigorous courses. According to my data, I experience some of my lowest energy, focus, and motivation on Thursdays.

If I were to continue this research, I’d collect more data over more days to make my data sets more accurate. On of the judgments I had to make when documenting this data was figuring out what was important enough to record. A lot of factors impact study habits and figuring out which ones to look at were difficult. It was also hard to asses sometimes how I was feeling, and sometimes I felt my level was between two numbers, so I had to pick whichever one I was leaning towards. In another study, I would make the range larger (i.e., 1-10) so that I could obtain a more accurate level.

This project was a valuable tool in allowing me to look at when are the best convenient times to complete different types of tasks. I’m currently in the process of building out my schedule for next semester, and I will be sure to return to this data when scheduling my classes and to manage my workload.

A Visual Representation Of What Not To Do

The plot of this comic was fairly easy to craft because the story it depicted was fresh on my mind. It just so happened that earlier this week I got into a boarding accident that shattered my phone screen. And with every passing day I’m reminded of my accident as I struggle to view any and all content through my phone.

Recreating the story in a four panel comic was slightly more difficult because I wasn’t sure what aspect of the story was worth a panel. With only four panels to capture the entire incident, each page had to be substantive. Therefore, I decided that setting the scene was very important so I took two panels to make sure the reader was aware of what conditions I was skating under in the story. It also required a bit of thought when figuring out how to illustrate the crash. A lot happened in a very short period of time so I felt the best way to capture the overall moment was to give an overarching perspective of how the crash ended. The final panel was used to portray the damage caused to my phone. One might think that the crash would be the grand finale and that might’ve been the case if I’d seriously gotten injured. However the price I’ll have to pay to get a new phone is what hurts the most.

I’m In My Bag


Jansport Hatchet BackPack: This backpack was selected for its unique style and functionality. Like the rest of my daily carry, each piece is essential and intentional.

MacBook Air: While this laptop is the source of all my work and productivity in college, it is also the source of all my frustration when WordPress decides to crash.

Dot & Weekly Planner: Disregarding the fact that I have to use two different planners to make sure my life doesn’t fall apart at Emory, the system I’ve developed for keeping track of everything has been fairly successful.

3 Subject NoteBook: I use this notebook to take notes for the three classes that decide to ban technology.

Beats/AirPods: Some days require a low-key drizzle, those are AirPod days. Other days require a moderate drip, those days are for Beats. Most days my friends talk so loud I have to use both at the same time.

Hydro Flask: Housing the contents of Emory’s weirdly tasting fountain water

PowerBank: I charge this thing more than It charges everything else…

Pencil Pouch: I always put my writing utensils back in here and yet somehow every time I open the pouch, there seems to be less every time.

This sketch has been my favorite assignment thus far, I often see a lot of YouTubers creating videos about their bags and when deciding what I wanted to carry in college I watched a lot of these videos. I also think this self-portrait is fairly representative of myself. Each item has a certain color way that I find pleasing to the eye. Black is one of my favorite colors because its very cool and low-key and I believe that’s how I am as well. However, black can be boring and basic so I like to give it some depth with camouflage. The mot challenging aspect of this assignment was actually taking the picture. For some reason I ended up taking the picture on the pool table in the south tower of the Student Center and I definitely got a lot of side glances when people saw me unloading my entire backpack in the middle of everyone.

I think that the catalog of my stuff is a form of writing because it accomplishes the same purpose of writing. Writing literature is all about allowing people to understand the author’s inner thoughts, just like an inside look of my bag.


Triptych Sketch

This assignment inspired me to create something relatable as well as motivational. The idea of bars or being trapped came from the lines on the page and my inability to access the blank white paper. I didn’t want the lines to distract the audience from the message of the Triptych, so I found a way to incorporate them into the sketch. I also wanted to focus my drawing on the emotion in the face of the character. I felt as though I’d get more out of the project if I were able to highlight one attribute of the character instead of drawing an entire action scene with the whole body. Crafting this comic was different from the other writing I’ve done this semester because I didn’t have to think about the entire plot before beginning the process. I knew my constraints and the overall concept I wanted to convey, and I used those to shape the story as I drew each panel.

Lately, I’ve felt the pressure of Emory Univerisity and the impact it’s having on my peers is evident. I thought that this piece would be relatable because it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the immense amount of work that comes with an education from Emory. This three-panel comic encourages the audience to try to look at the pressure and responsibility from a different perspective and outlook.