The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

What I Learned from “Learning Language”

The entire literacy narrative project helped me view my writing as an ever-evolving process. The process of writing, drawing, and writing again necessitated re-imagining my narrative with every new rendering. Thus, I was given the opportunity to develop my original idea more than I originally thought was possible. Returning to the alphabet narrative from having created a comic was much easier than writing from scratch. Drawing the comic after the original alphabet essay added more depth and meaning to my essay that I could pull from for the redraft. My narrative began as what I thought was a story about my anxieties around English. Upon revisiting, I realized just how superficial my first draft was – how it failed to address its subtext strongly enough to be clearly understood and deeply felt. My hesitance and need to convey a story clearly struck a balance in my comic; I could represent what was hard to say without using words, and I could spell out the ideas that would guide interpreting my illustrations. In the draft of my alphabetic narrative I took all the ideas from both drawings and text to tell my story again, this time with a bolder voice. For my literacy narrative, the three parts were practice in exacting and amplifying my writing voice, riding it of fear of saying exactly what I want to say.

Last Friday Night

Telling a true story in so few panels with so few words felt less like writing a “story” and more like writing a moment. The moment I chose was my Friday night when I accidentally slept through everything and me and a friend ended up watching movies on my floor all night instead of going out. My week was pretty uneventful, and the anticlimactic nature of this particular moment/day in my week encompasses that feeling. The most important choices I made in making this comic were choices of which moments to frame. I tried to make it so that panels work and progress the story along even if they have no text.

Learning Language REFLECTION

Writing my literacy narrative as a comic made me value the comic form more. I discovered adding illustrations to text imbues a text with much new meaning. The problem became attempting to control what I say with my illustrations. I found myself bargaining with my narrative at length about what medium – pictures, framing, text, etc. – could best convey information from my alphabetic narrative. With so many variables at play, my comic narrative has more depth and information than my alphabetic essay. One macro-level issue I encountered while creating my comic doubting that I was artistically capable enough to accurately communicate my meaning. I still am unsure about this, but I tried to draw/frame my comic to play toward my style of drawing and not craft a story that looks like it was meant to be draw by someone else. One aspect I fear not being communicated through my illustrations is the color. Color is an important element of my story; certain contrast needed to be highlighted. However, as I went to scan my pages, I noticed the highest available resolution grayed-out many of my browns (brown being one of the most important color symbols in the story). I tried two other resolutions and finally had to recolor by hand certain trouble areas. The product still displays a few characters’ skin as grayer than intended, but I think I don’t know what medium would be best suited to achieve that color vibrancy I initially wanted. I considered computer illustrations once I saw how skewed the coloring was when translated from color pencils/white paper to the computer screen, but by that time it was far too late to start from scratch. Besides, I’ve neve illustrated on a computer before – like ever (not even casually) – so I probably wouldn’t know where to start, not to mention the risk of the drawing turning out subpar due to my lack of experience in that medium.

Overall this process was quite enjoyable. The silver lining of it being so time consuming was I got to justify spending hours upon hours just doodling and coloring which was relaxing. Since, I don’t draw often and this project was heavy illustrations, I feel like I honed my specific style of doodling. My characters have a look to them that’s completely unique to me, and I love it. I love the way my characters look, I love what I discovered about how to make them look even better during this process, and I love how distinctly me it all is. My style isn’t technical or particularly realistic, but it somehow just works. Honestly, this project brought me confidence in my artistic skills – something I never considered myself remotely talented in at all.

Trinity in English 2019-11-11 03:20:49

Question: Does my external self or internal self dictate my level of confidence?

To answer my question, I chose to track my level of satisfaction with both aspects of myself. I directly recorded this information in a journal, rating each category on a scale from 1-10 (10 being highest satisfaction). For quantifying satisfaction with my physical self, I considered the following: how much I liked my outfit for that day, how I felt about my skin, how much time and effort I put into caring for my physical well-being. For tracking satisfaction with my productivity I paid attention to the following: time spent doing activities I enjoy (writing, dancing), level of focus/energy put said activities, and improvement. I chose to draw bar graphs as my visualization because it was easiest for me to understand. I’m not great with graphs and I’m especially tired of excel right now (blame bio lab). Hand drawing a qualitative graph with colored pencils kept this week’s Sunday Sketch feeling more artistic than analytical.

I expected to see direct proportionality between one category and my level of confidence for the day when analyzing my data. That’s not what I found. Instead, my level of confidence regularly split the difference between appearance and performance. So, the data answered my question indirectly; I receive confidence from difference inputs – where one aspect of my life wains in satisfaction, another can support my self-esteem. Overall, the outcome of this exercise served as a testament to balance – not placing too much stock in one aspect of life. Two data points did not demonstrate a balance between external and internal satisfaction: Saturday and Sunday’s confidence levels. One aspect was especially low on each of these days. These low-rated aspects seem to weigh down my overall confidence.

my face.

my face.
got everything–all colors, all
it looks the least bit unusual.

in bleach born.
all black and strange.
between lips, in eyes.

dark and wild as any child
another way of calling me

Trinity in English 2019-10-21 08:15:10

Is it too mean? I don’t know, but I felt like ever other idea I had was over the top or offensive in some way. After a couple hours agonizing over finding a joke that I actually thought was funny yet tame, I decided to just follow my instinct and let whatever happens happen. That being said, This week’s Sunday Sketch was a toughie. The idea was the toughest part for me, the execution was simple. Of course I don’t really feel this way about grandmas. The prompt was to write a joke but I feel like that warranted being said regardless. 

Purse So Heavy Sans The Oprah Dollars

  • Ibuprofen – which I took 20 capsules in the past weekend.
  • CeraVe face wash – a useful remnant of my consecutive couch surfing/sleepovers from the past week.
  • 5 foot iPhone Charger – an object made virtually obsolete by the lack of LTE available in the wilderness
  • Tube of hydrocortisone – in case any mosquitoes mistake my presence for a dinner invite.
  • Black Crew Socks – a useless remnants of jazz III class supplies.
  • Wallet – silk, shiny, completely adorable al for only 20 dollars!
  • Sunglasses and Case – I think these were 10 dollars at UAL. Total steal.
  • Organic Lip Balm – one of the few non-homemade lip balms I own.
  • MILK MAKEUP KUSH High Volume Mascara – because I got it like that
  • Too Faced Foundation and Concealer – because being in nature doesn’t mean going all natural.. feel me?
  • Journal, Pencil, and Pen – tools for reflection and documenting my time.
  • AirPods – just in case things get dull on the road on in the cabin.
  • Shea Moisture Balancing Moisturizer – because I was not about to let that woodsy air dry my skin out
  • Hair Gel, Eyebrow, and Edge Brush – to keep it LAID.
  • 2 Scrunchies – adding a lil POP of color to any outfit.
  • Rose-scented body spray – to keep it fresh in the forest. I thought it would help me integrate myself into nature into nature more by smelling like it. I don’t think I was totally wrong about that.
  • Shea Moisture Braid Oil – to keep my hair so fresh and so clean.
  • Water Bottle – gets me compliments/keeps me hydrated.
  • Umbrella – because I don’t take chances with rain.

My typical purse for this week was packed for quite atypical adventures. From couch surfing through about three different dorms to a weekend wilderness retreat, I’ve done many things I’ve never done before this week, and my bag stocked full of daily necessities and a couple toiletries reflects that. The contents of my purse showcase more utilities related to caring for my outsides than my insides. I don’t usually carry around this much makeup with me (just mascara if I have a long day ahead of me) but with all the time I spent not sleeping in my own dorm my purse doubled as my toiletries this week. That being said, I still do think this picture represents a lot about me. The only thing that would complete it would be more stickers and Hot Tamales as I consider those items to be absolutely essential to my person (If I go ONE WEEK without my Hot Tamales fix my internal organs start to shut down). I loved the assignment this week. The hardest part was trying to make the picture as aesthetically pleasing as the ones you see on Pinterest. I didn’t accomplish that goal but I feel I came reasonably close. As for an autobiographical work, listing items with description does count as “writing”.

Reflecting on Tracing Pages

The thesis of my essay is that David Small and Tillie Walden give gendered narratives of trauma in their respective books. The process of tracing (Stitches and Spinning) helped with the brainstorming process more than I anticipated. I noticed light, organization and motifs more clearly than I had just reading the book. The process of writing an inductive essay was somewhat difficult because I kept feeling that my final point argument had already been discussed in my essay earlier or that my point of induction did not actually reveal any new information. To combat this, I tried to keep my paragraphs very segregated in topic and remind myself to check my essay for the desired ‘1+1=2’ style of argument instead of the deductive style to which I’m accustomed. I feel as though I have more of an analytical understanding of the details of each book after completing this assignment. However, I do not feel as though completing the assignment revealed some hidden truth about the books that wasn’t before readily accessible.