The Secret Language of Comics

Wendy Xu Workshop

Overall, I really liked the workshop. Wendy was sociable and nice. Before the workshop, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was surprised to how down-to-earth and relatable she was. I really enjoyed her vibe. We started off with an exercise where we created a four panel sketch, similar to what we have already done in class. The focus for this exercise was to talk about “gutters” in comics ( aka time in between the panels ). Wendy chose to depict a bird hatching from an egg where the amount of time in between each panel was different. The example did a good job in explaining the concept. Afterwards, she showed us a few of her comic panels and her thoughts will making them. We moved on to Q&A then another exercise. This exercise was focused on using your imagination to its fullest extent. We drew four frames and within those frames we had to make a scribble. From the scribble, we had five minutes to make a monster out of the line. I personally am a fan of my creation. I haven’t read her comic “Mooncake”, yet but it is definitely on my to read list.

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!

Extra Credit: Workshop with Wendy Xu (co-creator of “Mooncakes”)

Tesla Cariani, doctoral candidate in English at Emory, and her students in ENG389: Nonbinary Narratives in LGBTQ+ Comics and Graphic Novels have invited us to join a workshop with Wendy Xu on April 6th, 2021, at 2:40pm EDT. You’ll need to register at that link, but the event is free.

Wendy Xu is an award-nominated Brooklyn-based illustrator and comics artist with three upcoming graphic novels from Harper Collins.

She is the co-creator of Mooncakes, a young adult fantasy graphic novel published in 2019 from Lion Forge Comics/Oni Press. Part of it can be read on Her work has been featured on Catapult, Barnes & Noble Sci-fi/Fantasy Blog, and, among other places. You can find more art on her instagram: @artofwendyxu or on twitter: @angrygirLcomics.

I’ll offer extra credit to anyone who attends and writes a post on their site about their thoughts on the event.