The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

The Longest Distance

The Longest Distance vF.

The impact of smartphones and social media on interpersonal relationships has been a very popular topic in recent years. While some argue that technology facilitates communication over long distances, others point out that more and more people, especially those of our generation that have grown up with smartphones, are obsessed with social media and become unable to deal with face-to-face communications. Technology may hinder normal communications and create “the longest distance” between people.

The most difficult part is again the drawing process as I decided to push myself to practice drawing. No suitable pictures online made this process harder since I could not imitate others’ drawings. In addition to my iPad and Apple Pencil, I employed Photoshop and Powerpoint to edit my drawings and put them into panels. Overall, the creating process was fun if not that I had less time to spare for this assignment due to other midterms.


Assignment Link:

Go To Mommy

This Sunday Sketch was different from the rest because I felt like it was the closest thing we have done to writing a comic. The past assignments have all incorporated drawing and visual aspects, however, I feel like doing this mini comic strip assignment is helping to prepare us for turning our literacy narratives into comics. I had a lot of fun with this Sunday Sketch, as the idea came to me pretty quickly. After reading the sketch description I knew I wanted to make it comedic but still have some sort of message. The idea for this, is a spin on when a child walks for the first time, often from one parent to another. However, in this example the child is dodging dangerous situations while trying to complete this task. He first wanders into the road and avoids getting hit by a car, and then barely misses a soccer ball to the head as it soars right above him. While all of this is happening, he is completely oblivious. In this sketch, wanted to address the bliss and care free attitude of a young child. They have nothing to worry about and no real world fears as they are growing up. They just live their life, and although its not practical to have this mentality forever, it is nice not to worry. The older you get the more and more worries and concerns you have. Many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from or where they are going to live. It really makes you want to go back to the times where ignorance was bliss and the world was literally your playground.


The concept of a triptych seemed pretty familiar to me as I used to make similar small sketches back in middle school. At first, I decided on drawing my triptych, but apparently, I found out that my drawing skills had deteriorated significantly so I settled on a photo. The photo consists of me and my friends walking up a hill in the Khunjerab park in northern Pakistan. Taking into consideration that of how much we were out of shape and how much of a grueling hike it was, reaching the top of the hill was seen as a noteworthy achievement. Crafting a triptych was different for me in a way that this time out sketch had to have some form of a story. This assignment, to me, felt more like constructing a “comic strip” than what the other assignments did. The basic composition process was fairly simple, I divided the photo into three separate parts and used Snapchat to add text to it.

The link to the assignment is here.

Bone Appétit!

Long list of spooky sources for this comedic comic collage at the bottom of the post.

This triptych comic took quite a lengthy amount of time for me to create. I was able to formulate the base idea rather early on after only an hour or so of pondering as I went about my day, but finding the right images to modify and cropping each picture as needed took the bulk of my efforts. I was able to use the PicsArt app for the mot of my editing needs, but for some reason the cat image would not work with the cutting tool, so I fell back onto the always-reliable-but-rather-quite-tedious eraser. Having to meticulously drag my finger across my little iPhone screen with attempted precision produced many mishaps and “undo” taps, but I finally succeeded in erasing the previous framing on my feline friend.

This adorable four-legged fiend was the bane of my pointer finger’s existence. Source:

My goal was to create a comic which told a three-part story in one continuous space. The panels exist both simultaneously and episodically: an all-at-once perspective would show the three skeleton-animal interactions to be occurring concurrently in the same bar, yet each panel progresses from one to the next, giving a distinct 1-2-3 rhythm.

Reflecting on this comic, I rather like how the collage-combination turned out, and it brings me hope that I was able to create a comic whilst not being able to draw anything intelligible besides a stick figure!

A final look at this Frankenstein creation, accompanied by a that previously promised list:




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.

Sketch 5: Triptych

Due: 10/6

Tag: sk5

In How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels, Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden carry out an extended discussion of comics through repeated analysis of the single Nancy strip by Ernie Bushmiller from August 8, 1959 (at the top of this post). They explain that “one of the least tangible yet most significant implements in the cartoonist’s toolbox is the varied use of rhythms.[…] One repetition makes a pair. But add another and the repetitions have become a series, the basic building block of all rhythm. A set of three has the smallest number of elements that can establish a pattern (as well as violate it). Three implies more to come” (134).

For this week’s sketch assignment, create your own triptych comic. As you compose your triptych, I most want you to focus on creating a story with a very clear beginning, middle, and end. Your story can be minimalist, impressionistic, comic, dark, weird or whatever you want it to be — but make sure that each panel of the triptych moves that story forward from beginning to middle to end.

i smile more when i belong

You can draw your triptych, or create one using photographs, maybe along similar lines as the webcomic A Softer World, which ran weekly for about twelve years starting in Feb 2003. Emily and Joey published 1248 comics in that time, each consisting of three panels with photographs and words superimposed on them – often it seems to be a single image cropped into three panels, but sometimes it’s three photos taken as a series – and then the title of the comic appears when you hover your mouse over the comic (creating space for a sort of fourth panel or commentary). The comics tend to be quite dark.

I’m looking for compact and playful storytelling through both images and words. It’s an opportunity for you to play with irony, humor, and/or wit.

Add a paragraph reflecting on your triptych comic. What choices did you make in crafting your narrative? Describe the composition process a little bit. What was challenging about this assignment? How is crafting this sort of comic strip different or similar to other writing you’ve done this semester?