The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

Semester’s Watchtower

For this assignment I took the learning outcomes for our class and placed them on a picture of a watchtower. First, I put Digital Citizenship and Writing as Process, the main two objectives that feed into and support the other learning outcomes, on the supporting base of the tower. Then since the entire class was characterized by the visual aspects of the class, I placed it on the roof. Finally, since Rhetorical Composition and Critical Thinking and Reading were in every aspect of the course, I put them in the middle as a core aspect.

A Story From The Museum

Last week, as I was thinking of a story to use for this assignment I was working my shift at the museum. Just as I was thinking that there might be an event at work that I could use I saw a kid dismiss an artifact and ask to go home. Upon observing this I wondered if different people would react differently to the same piece. By the end of the day I noticed that people’s reaction varied drastically. In an attempt to tie all the different encounters together I created an affirmation comic. While the first two panels after the cover panel show negative reactions or dismissals towards the artifact. The comic ends with two panels that show that all artifacts (or people) are beautiful and valuable to the right viewer.

Caterpillars and Literature Reflection

For this weeks assignment I had a quite daunting task. I had to turn a written account of my reading and writing journey into a visual comic. At first I struggled with this because my writing narrative did not contain a main event. Instead it was just a sires of less significant small events. Before long I realized that the main idea of my narrative was the pattern, the pattern of liking literature to hating it to learning to love it again. This U-shaped paradigm was why my relationship to literature was so complicated.

So I came to the conclusion that I needed to find a way to visualize this complicated nature. First I played around with the ideas of putting all the positive memories on one side and all my negative memories on one side of the page. Upon further consideration I decided to depict my positive memories from my childhood first, then describe the negative experiences and finally end with illustrations of an improved relationship with literature. In order to highlight that the love of literature had not died completely, I placed the caterpillar among the grim boxes of negative experiences. Also, in the final positive experiences I removed the boxes and put the caterpillar in the actual scene to show that caterpillars, or a love of reading, had once again become a part of my life.

To view my literacy narrative comic, Caterpillars and Literature, click here.

Data Viz

When I started this assignment a week ago I had a question: Does the amount of time between eating and engaging in academic work effect my productivity? More specifically, should I be making more of an effort to eat before my first class?

Throughout the span of a week I kept track of the time and my perceived productivity and alertness. Some days I wouldn’t eat until a few hours into my academic work. In order to show this I entered the times in negatively. At the end I found that the more time there was between my first bite and the start of my academic day the more productive and alert I felt.

Though it will be difficult to wake up in the morning earlier in order to have time for a bite, I can see that it will be beneficial. And even if I oversleep I will try to have a banana or some sort of quick snack in my room.

Seasonal Depression

Initially when I started working on this assignment I had no idea where to begin. After seeing the example posted on the assignment page, I decided to make a comic that was houmorous and fall-related. Shortly after searching for puns I came across the phrase “I’m hollow inside” on Elite Daily. This inspired me to create the comic pictured above. I found a comic with a therapist sitting across from a baby and replaced the baby with a pumpkin. I also added multiple frames in order to create more of a shock and to avoid all-at-onceness.

A Friday Backpack

For this weeks assignment I placed the contents of my backpack on the floor in an attempt to provide insight into my day. All these objects were extremely important for this particular Friday. Here is the list of items and their significance:

  • Wallet – For the times when Venmo doesn’t cut it
  • Apple – A quick snack between classes
  • Earbuds – For peace of mind during my commute between classes
  • It’s Your Health – One of my few physical texts.
  • Water Bottle – Hydrate or Die-drate
  • Coffee Mug – So I don’t experience caffeine withdrawal
  • Laptop – My portal for all my assignments, research, and most readings
  • Pen and Pencil – Filling in parts of my health book
  • Why Architecture Matters – Reading for my assignment due this evening


When I first started working on this assignment I spent a good amount of time scrolling through A Softer World. I started to notice that most of the triptychs they created had a saying acompanied by some relevant photo cut into three parts. I decided to create a similar triptych focused on deception. I found the saying by Maryum Ahsam shown above and wanted to add an additional layer of deception. To do this I used a picture of a mound of cocaine and a line leading to a rolled up piece of paper. This picture was perfect because the mound pictured in the first two thirds could be either salt or sugar. It isn’t until the last third that it becomes apparent that it is infact cocaine.

The Fall Reflection

I started this project by trying to pick a page from each book that I thought would both be interesting to trace and meaningful. As I was skimming through the books I came across two scenes in which the respective characters where alone and having fun because of the lack of parental presence. I was curious to see if there was some connection or possible take away. As I annotate the the tracings the qualities of each page began to stand out. I finally noticed that though the two were telling quite similar stories on the page the way they did this and the feeling they conveyed was different. As I wrote my essay I noticed traces and indicators of their childhoods. As I concluded my essay I noticed that the abuse they experienced played an important role in how they reacted to the situations. Check out my essay here.