The Secret Language of Comics

Sunday Sketch 11 – Assemblies

For my last Sunday Sketch assignment, I chose to draw a tower to show the learning objectives that I have learned in this class. The bottom of the tower is composed of digital citizenship, since using technology appropriately is the most basic and important part to be engaged in the online class via zoom. Rhetorical composition is on the top, because all other objectives are the strategies that are needed for the rhetorical composition. I could compose texts in multiple genres by fulfilling writing as process, critical thinking, and visual thinking.

Sunday Sketch 9 – Recreate a Movie Scene

For this sketch assignment, I have decided to recreate one scene from “Marley & Me,” because it is one of my favorite movies. Also, it is a movie that I always cry when I watch, since I also have a dog.

Exclusive Peek! Marley & Me |
One scene from Marley & Me

Below is my recreated version of the scene. I took my dog’s picture when she was sad because I did not give her more snack. Even though my dog is not a golden retriever like Marley in the movie, I think their facial expressions look similar to each other.

Workshop with Maia Kobabe

Maia Kobabe is the author of “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” In this workshop, she talks about the process of creating her work. When Maia first found inspiration and motivation for drawing comics, it was from drawing fan arts and listening to K-POP music. Her first book was “The Theif’s Tale.” She worked on it for 5 years right after she graduated her college. However, it was not popular and Maia said that it was because she did not talk about her identity. After her first series of books, she started drawing little gender-related memories in Waldorf Lesson Books. She created 60 4×4 comics in just 2 weeks. At that time, she was curious if people like her work about gender identity, but she was concerned a lot because she was not yet ready for coming out. However, after she impulsively uploaded the comics on her social media and came out to the wider audience, lots of people were interested in her work and showed her powerful and emotional reactions.
Some books helped her to get a voice and tone of “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” For example, Maia learned about herself and how to talk about sex and sexual health by reading “Oh Joy, Sex Toy.” Also, the embarrassing and private stories that she jotted down in her high school diaries became the main outline of her book. One of the longest processes that she had was designing a cover of the book. She did not want to make half male and half female, since she wanted to express her identity as non-binary. Also, she wanted to show little Maia reflecting adult Maia.
While listening to Maia’s story of creating “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” it was awesome that many people could identify their gender and learn about themselves by reading her book. Also, it was so wonderful to see the development and process.

Workshop with Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu was born in China and raised in Connecticut. When she was going to NYU, she tried to be a doctor, since she loved science and was a Psychology major. However, later she was working on “Mooncakes,” she started to draw a comic in earnest. While working on it, she did not sleep a lot, quitted his previous job, and focused on it full-time. I was surprised that she had no art experience before and could draw a comic so well. Wendy said that we do not need to be amazing artists to draw a comic. 

First Exercise

After her brief introduction and basic information, she started the first exercise. I needed to draw a 4-panel comic with a free topic. I was familiar with it, since I already drew a quadriptych for the Sunday sketch before. She wanted us to think about how much time is between each panel and said that the gutter holds the whole comic. Her explanation about moment and time in comics was interesting. She worked on the exercise with us together and drew an egg hatching in 5 minutes. Also, Wendy showed us a few images of her comic and how she indicates the time difference with backgrounds and scenery. It was awesome that just the color overall can show how the story is going on and how long each situation takes place. 

Second Exercise
Second Exercise

The second exercise we did was fun. We drew four squiggles and chose one of them to draw a monster with it. At first, it sounded hard, but while I was working on it, I could creatively make a monster with a squiggle only in five minutes. I learned that simple sketching and doodling may be a good start of a comic. This workshop was interesting!

Sunday Sketch 8 – Data viz from everyday life

For this Sunday assignment, I wanted to see the difference between days before my midterm and days after my midterm. The five categories that I chose are productivity, excitement, healthiness, tiredness, and quality of sleep. I tried not to be aware of my feelings and condition while I was gathering data, since I wanted to see the accurate result of my daily life.
After I made a graph, I could see the clear difference between days before and after the midterm. I was surprised that my tiredness level did not go down to 1 or 2 even after my midterm. Then, I realized that sleeping for a long time for one day after not sleeping enough for a few days does not make my daily condition right away. One more thing that surprised me was my productivity level on the day that I did not study at all. I learned that productivity level does not correlate to the amount of studying. However, I could see that the quality of sleep correlates to the amount of sleep, since there is a clear difference between days that I had enough sleep and 1-hour sleep. I think this is because I get too anxious even when I am sleeping because of my midterm. I found this assignment to be a valuable tool for self-analysis, since I could see my daily condition with my studying schedule in one graph. If I do continue this assignment in future, I want to focus on how I spend my days quantitatively.

Literacy Narrative 3 Reflection

Creating all three literacy narratives helped me to meet the Learning Outcomes of this class. Through this project, I could compose texts both visually and alphabetically. Also, I could learn some strategies of revision, editing, and reflection. Having revised the essay three times and received feedbacks of each text, my thinking process and writing skill have improved. After each of my literacy narrative was published, I had to critically think about the ways that can improve my work. I could feel that my reflection posts were improving, in the sense of writing more about my feeling, not just describing the process. Having created the comic helped me writing my alphabetic literacy narrative a lot. The big change that I have made compared to the literacy narrative 1 is deleting one of my central topics. My first literacy narrative had two central topics in it, but I only focused on one topic for literacy narrative 3. While I was creating the comic, I learned that I should not have unnecessary parts. It sounds pretty obvious, but I did not know that my first literacy narrative has that many worthless parts until I started working on my comic. After I deleted all the unnecessary paragraphs, I could write more about my feelings and the details of the progression of my experience. Also, I could incorporate visual thinking into my writing process and changed the way that I work on writing.

Literacy Narrative 3

Literacy Narrative Comic Reflection

To be honest, this comic assignment was a challenge for me. When I first knew that there is an assignment that I have to draw a comic, I was so panicked, since I am not a good drawer and I was not confident to convert my written task about my experience that shaped my writing skill into a visual comic. At first, I was struggled with this, since I felt like I was losing a lot of the details and it was hard to choose the right frame that fits a page and goes well with my drawing. I had some useless spaces left on the page, because I could not pick a perfect frame. Also, showing the atmosphere of the situation and feelings of that characters through my deficient drawing skill. It was annoying to have a clear image and specific vision of what I wanted my drawing to look like, but it was not possible to actually realize it due to my lack of skills. However, the more I drew each page, I could feel that I was improving my skills of choosing the right frame and showing a clear storyline on each panel. 

After I struggled and finished my comic with the peer feedback, I realized that the details are just shown in a different way through the process of arranging and editing. Since the main events and important parts of my writing were in my comic, there was no problem understanding the story and message, even though there were fewer descriptions. Through drawing a comic, I could even have a better understanding of my own literacy narrative. Also, I could find some unnecessary parts that I have to get rid of and significant parts that I have to focus more on when I write my literacy narrative 3. I have been taught to easily find the main important parts from my essay and compose written texts in a comic. This assignment was a rewarding experience, even though there were challenges that I had to overcome. 

My final Literacy Narrative Comic

Sunday Sketch 7 – Quadriptych

This comic is inspired by my high school life. I always set a time and tried to start studying at that time. However, it often failed because I could not check the time while texting my friend or watching YouTube videos. In college, I just shift my day and night, since I prefer studying at night and dawn. However, it was hard in high school, so sleep was my enemy. Crafting quadriptych was fun. Brainstorming ideas was not easy, so I kept drawing and erasing for a few times. Just like a triptych, it was hard to put a story in limited numbers of panels. However, I felt like a quadriptych is easier than a triptych, since there are more panels that I can utilize. Also, it was pretty hard to express feelings of the character through facial expression, since my drawing is simple, so there was no multiple options that I can draw. I clearly showed time change in the bottom left of each panel, since time is one of the most important features in this comic that shows the beginning, middle, and end.

Reflection of Tracing Stitches and Spinning

Choosing one page from the entire book was not easy. I traced three different pages for Spinning, since I felt like I was forcing to fit the essay into the image when I wrote based on what I traced. As I attempted to come up with the thesis, I was struggling to find some similarities and differences between Stitches and Spinning. However, after I chose proper pages for my analysis, the process of tracing Stitches and Spinning allowed me to see some features that I did not see when I just read them, such as shading, the arrangement of panels, perspectives, and backgrounds. Therefore, tracing helped me brainstorming ideas about my analysis essay. By annotating the traced images, I could find some rhetorical strategies and visual patterns of two comics. 

Inductive writing was somewhat difficult for me, since I was used to deductive writing. I felt like my induction does not provide any more analysis or new information about my thesis. Writing the final section was harder than the first two sections, because I felt like I was repeating what I’ve said earlier in the essay. It was hard to come up with a larger claim that explains how the observations and patterns that I analyzed in previous sections really mean in the books. These challenges made me read what I wrote over and over again, to be not repetitive and be more analytical. Through this assignment, I could better understand and empathize with the stories of Stitches and Spinning. Tracing, annotating, and analyzing each page of these two books helped me identify the “secret language of comics.” Also, I could notice more about the perspectives of the characters that authors want to display in the book.

Analyzing Their Tears

Assignment Prompt

Sunday Sketch 6 – What’s in your bag?

  • Tory Burch Women’s Piper Small Zip Backpack: I bought this backpack just because it was pretty, but now I am regretting it, because it does not have enough storage space.
  • iPad Air & Apple Pencil: I use my iPad instead of notebooks. The notes for every class I take are in my iPad.
  • MacBook Air & Kate Spade Laptop Sleeve: I bought this MacBook in my junior year of high school and it is the most important thing when I study since high school. The laptop sleeve protects my laptop from minor knocks and bumps.
  • Hair Ties: I tie my hair when I study or eat, so I always need to have it with me.
  • Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer: To sanitize my hand when I am outside.
  • Tearin Free Eye Drops: When my eyes are dry.
  • Pencil case: I put pencils, pens, highlighters, white-out, and eraser in my pencil case, so I can use them when I need to write something. 
  • AirPods 2 & AirPods Pro: AirPods is needed when I want to listen to music or watch videos. I bring two of them, since I often forget to charge those.
  • Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Perfume: I just love perfume.
  • Casio Scientific Calculator: For my Chemistry class.
  • Sticky Notes: I often forgot what to do, so I write it down on sticky notes and put them on my laptop or the wall.

I feel like this image is very representative of me, because I do not carry anything unnecessary and always want to keep my backpack as light as I can. I tried to organize things in a square shape to make them look neater. I feel like this was the easiest Sunday Sketch that I had, since I only needed to explain what are in my backpack. Representing myself in a catalog of the stuff in my bag is a type of writing, since it reflects who I am as a person.