The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

My Avatar

My avatar is a picture a decided to draw tonight. I’ve been playing a game called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for the past couple of months and decided to take some inspiration from it. One of the main characters uses a sword for a brief portion of the game, but unlike others, she uses the weapon only as a form of defense than to harm others. For me it sounds like a “do no harm, but take no s#%t” mentality and that’s how I like to live my life.

I kept most of the image in black and white because when I typically make art, a monochrome theme is easier for me to work with. I added in blue and red as they are my favorite colors and add almost a yin-yang effect to the image. The blue is centered in the image on the hand to make it look like I’m focusing my chi (Avatar reference) and the the red is centered on the design from Slipknot which is a band I just saw live. I’m also wearing a hoodie because I always have one on when the weather gets colder.

The tag on the sword reads “Big stick” in homage to the Teddy Roosevelt quote. I feel that there is a time and place to take action and a time to sit back and let the course fo action play out.

My Avatar

I chose this picture as my avatar simply because the man depicted looks intrigued and happy. I love getting perplexed over little things that make me happy, and this picture makes me wonder what’s bringing about his toothy smile. This image relates to the topic of the class because this image holds an immense amount of information that is unsaid, like the comics.
The caption for this image online is “poor man.” However, I think there’s more to this man than being sick. I related to this image because I believe there is little about me that people know and a lot about me that people assume. I also sometimes feel as though I’m an old man living life again in a younger body. I have an appreciation for the older things in life that last a while and grow in value. The font used in this image is “Herculaneum” it’s a strong yet ancient font, like the old man.
Another aspect of the picture that’s important is its black and white filter. Black and white are the two most classic colors and add texture to everything they accent. Black and white are also my two favorite colors.

Trinity’s Avatar

About my Avatar:

That’s me in the corner.

A picture captured from the reflection of a darkened computer screen shows one of the few images of myself I keep on my phone. I like to think of the photo as a candid selfie: a still life taken without any intention besides capturing the moment – that moment involving me studying for junior year finals in a dragon pajama onesie at my dining room table, probably eating Twizzlers, bored out of my mind. By the end of my junior year, similar scenes had become so commonplace in my life that by the time finals rolled around, not commemorating that part of my life somehow felt like an injustice. I chose this particular picture of myself to add to my collage because it is an honest depiction of me.

The main picture in my collage is of a summertime dusk in my neighborhood with Venus and a yellow, waning moon that, from a favorable vantage point, looked to be hovering directly over my house. I love to watch the sky from my neighborhood. In the suburb of a suburb where my hometown nestled, the sky always seemed to answer our unspoiled stillness. Living 45 minutes away from the city among the locally owned coffee shops and the single acre family farms, phenomenon such as golden celestial bodies piercing through the deepened blue of an early evening sky are possible. Later that night, just enough starlight would seep through lightyears of space, blackness, and the light of streetlamps to keep me up for hours, dizzying myself with wonder and an uninterrupted upward gaze, bemused at my luck to witness something so clearly that was wholly hidden to so many other peoples and places in the world.

Of course, none of this magic is remotely perceptible through the lens of an iPhone camera, and I knew that when I reached for my phone. Taking this picture was less about my camera’s ability to represent the scene the way I saw it and more about securing a keepsake from time. If that photo had been taken in better quality, I’m sure I would be raptured by the beauty of the sky all over again with each viewing, but the photo would call for less mental work reliving the experience. Through time, the memory conveyed would become less and less concerned with recalling the night itself and more about the photo. That being said, this photo (and others like it) functions best on a personal level; its significance is not something readily accessible to an unfamiliar eye.

This is exactly why I chose it as my avatar.

My blog is intended to be a space not only where readers can hear my voice but can see through my eyes. In my writing here, I want to express what I perceive as true and real – to learn to communicate clearly enough to make the esoteric recognizable and intimate. As A writer, I want to be able to lend whoever chooses to hear me my whole self, so they can feel through my experience and see from my point of view.

My Avatar: The Silence of Color

The image that I have chosen to represent for my avatar is of a man covering his mouth and displaying the label of “minority” on his forearm. The name of the course is ” The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing” and I chose this picture which utilizes the contrasting colors of black and white to symbolize the power struggle between people of color and white Americans. The silhouette of the young man covering his mouth is a direct parallel to the silencing of minorities who wish to find an America where equity is possible for people of all walks of life regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual identity, and nationality. This picture embodies my interest to provide a voice for people who are unable to voice their opinions due to the fear of being ostracized for their beliefs.

Sunday Sketch #1

I chose to make my avatar an image of me standing alone on Earth for two reasons. First, I’m an only child and I’ve had to learn to do a lot of things myself. I never had an older brother to teach me how to throw a football, or a little sister to play dress-up with. The image of me standing alone represents how I’ve learned to conquer my own world. In the picture, it may seem as if I’m lonely, as the only thing around me are stars and the vast universe. In reality, me standing alone is my way of showing that I’m perfectly content with learning and exploring my surroundings with nothing but my own thoughts.

The second reason I chose to use this picture as my avatar is my greatest fear is space. To me, space represents the unknown, and in this picture I’m surrounded by nothing but the unknown. This, however, doesn’t bother me because I believe that the only way that I can grow as a person is by surrounding myself with my fears. By doing this, I will eventually learn to overcome them. Sure, I may be scared in the beginning, but eventually I’ll become accustomed to my surroundings and I’ll be able to move on past what was once holding me back. This will allow me to continue to grow and prove to me that getting out of my comfort zone can have positive outcomes.

Images used:…0.0..……0….1..gws-wiz-img.sMH3Y3SCXgE#imgrc=ouzI-rmreH-qwM: Images used:

Ja’Mya Yancey’s Avatar

My avatar for this class is simply my graduation cap that ultimately holds a significant amount of meaning regardless of the quality of material used to make it. If you read it correctly it says, “From a Phoenix to an Eagle, I rise. Dad I made it.” Firstly, the high school I attended back home in Detroit, Michigan was Renaissance High School. The mascot for that high school was, of course, a phoenix. All throughout high school, at any lectures or games at the end we would say, “I rise” which is why I included that on my cap as well, not just because I’m talking about birds. For college I am attending Emory University and their official mascot is the eagle.

What ties these two together for me is the fact that a phoenix is known to rise from the ashes and an eagle soars in the sky. Meaning that while I was in high school, everything I went through there was me rising from the ashes of the broken education system there and now that I’ve made it out I get to soar in the sky with the eagles. I rose from the ashes to soar in the sky. That part alone is significant to me because it will always remind me of where I came from and where I am heading. Also it shows that just because you start at the bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there. The last part goes a little personal and that is because my father passed away when I was 4 years old. So he wasn’t able to physically be here to see me make it out and make him proud.

This avatar represents where I come from, where I’m going, and who I am doing all of this for.

Andrew’s Avatar

My Avatar consists of a beach landscape, along with two sports teams logos. I chose the beach because for the most part, I consider myself to be a pretty easing going and mellow person. Similar to the beach, a very relaxing and calming place, I believe that I have the same presence when around people. I think that I am a free spirited person that goes with the flow. I chose my background image to represent the type of person I am, while the two other images represent my interests. I am a huge sports fan, and my two favorite sports are by far Football and Hockey. Although I was born and still live in New York City, my dad is originally from New Orleans. As a result I am New Orleans Saints fan and New York Rangers fan.

At first I thought creating this image and completing this assignment would be challenging. However, although there were some struggles, for the most part I think I managed it pretty well. For my editing, I used “PicMonkey” which I highly recommend, becasue I think they make it really easy to use and crop images.

Sk1: My Avatar

When creating my avatar, I was inspired by my affinity for being sick, which I infused into my version of the popular comic archetype the superhero, thus merging my identity with the courses content. 

Since I was a kid I’ve always been the kid who missed a lot of school colds and in recent years I’ve faced major setbacks because of whooping cough, pneumonia, and low blood pressure. Because of how these physical challenges have forced me to persevere and grow, I have come to see illness as part of my identity. By making my superhero’s power her illness, I like to think I’m viewing the negatives in my life in a positive light by focusing on how they have shaped me into a stronger person. I tried to capture this vision of empowerment by positioning the tissue box in the girl’s outstretched arm as if it is a trophy. When I inserted my name at the bottom of the girl’s feet, I found I echoed the same feeling of strength as it reminds me of the podium an olympic medalist stands on.

I included the grey clouds in the background to illustrate my ongoing struggle with depression, which isn’t always present in my life, but certainly looms in the back of my head, or here, in the image’s background. 

I found this project very challenging because I have limited experience with photoshop, so it took a long time for me to navigate around the program and learn to execute the desired actions properly. A specific difficulty I encountered was that after spending a few hours making my avatar image, I saved it to discover the resolution was too low, and I didn’t know why it had become so low or how to fix it. When designing my avatar, I was weary of focusing too much on negative qualities that defined me, so I hope my design has a good balance that represents all sides of me.

Image Sources:

My Avatar

Secret Garden by Joyce Xu

My avatar is a painting I made this weekend. It is a depiction of a dream I had on Friday night. In my dream, it was 3 o’clock in the morning and the city was asleep. I quietly climbed up to the roof of my house with my beloved guitar and played my favorite song – Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton. I got so immersed in the music and joy and lost track of time until the last light from my neighbor’s window was shut. As I was about to leave, I heard a deafening noise coming out in the distance. I turned around in fear and surprisingly found tens of thousands of gigantic flowers sprouting up beyond the city’s skyline, rising straightly into the air. There were sunflowers, lilies, roses, daisies, and several other flowers that I’ve never seen before. They all had vibrant colors and weird shapes like those in Alice in Wonderland. I looked up at these incredible plants in wordless awe, thinking I must have found the gateway to my very own secret garden. Suddenly, the first sunlight touched my face and I squinted in the sudden bright light. When I opened my eyes again, all the flowers disappeared, leaving the clear sky and the silent city alone.

I chose this painting as my avatar because it reflects who I am in various ways. First of all, painting is my biggest interest, and clear structures and vibrant colors are two distinctive features of my work.

Time Square by Joyce Xu

Also, you must have realized that I like playing guitar too (except that I don’t play guitar on a roof but safely indoor :)).

The city in the painting is my hometown Guangzhou, one major city in China. It is always loud and busy. Streets filled with people and cars. However, it is still a beautiful city, known as “the city of flowers” because of its mild weather. But this is not the only reason why I painted flowers in the back. As a girl born and raised in a big city, I’ve always longed for returning to nature and finding my inner peace there. Recently I read a book called The Moon and Sixpence. Here, the moon stands for the ambitious dreams we all have and sixpence is the modest income we need for survival. It got me thinking how many people would just keep searching for that sixpence on the ground but never look up to the moon until they finally miss it. Looking back to my painting, the flowers here can be interpreted as another form of the “moon”, or dreams so to speak. Therefore, this painting also expresses my wish that we can keep pursuing our dreams rather than letting a “sixpence” block our sight.

Designing this avatar is actually quite hard for me. To begin with, there are so many things about me and I have to select a few of them to represent myself. Then I struggled about how to put these elements together into a tiny badge, but luckily I found a way to. Besides, painting itself is time-consuming, but after all this process is very enjoyable to me.

My Avatar

This past summer I was visiting the Moco museum in Amsterdam that featured Banksy. While talking to a fellow museum goer I found out about a piece that they did not have at the museum. After seeing photos of it I was intrigued. I had just been made aware of a piece of art that combined the work of the most talented director of our time and one of my favorite artists alive. 

Banksy’s Pulp Fiction first appeared on the streets of London in 2003 (see image to the right). It recreates a shot from Quentin Tarantino’s movie of the same name, Pulp Fiction. Unlike Tarantino, Banksy chose to depict the hitmen with bananas instead of weapons, giving the image a humorous twist. 

After staying up for 4 years the artwork was tragically removed by the Ministry of Transportation. Following this event, a local graffiti artist painted the words “come back” on the wall in hopes that Banksy would return. 

In my avatar I chose to depict the bananas held by the hitmen and the cry for help sent out by the local graffiti artist.