Writing has never been my strongest suit. Historically, I have scored higher on science and reading comprehension assignments than I had ever hoped to on a paper. To be frank, I was not the most excited for this “comic book class”. The only thing that really sparked my interest was how book heavy this class was going to be. I have always been an avid reader and was happy to expose myself to a genre I had never really ventured into before. Another foreign concept of this class was the creation of this blog. I had never had the exposure to website creators and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Fortunately, I learned quickly and now my website is organized, fluid, and seemingly put together.
While in this visual writing class, I learned to compose and evaluate much more than just alphanumeric text. In this class, we were required to compose pieces digitally, such as the “Data Visualization” Sunday Sketch, and by hand drawing, such as the “Visual Note-Taking” Sunday Sketch as well as other forms of writing. In class, Professor Morgen often asked us to recreate a photo or draw something that represented ourselves. I can recall one class in which we were asked to draw the animal that most represents us. During this class, I drew a giraffe. It may possibly have been the most awful giraffe drawing you have ever seen, but I still finished it and handed it in. Throughout the course of the semester, small assignments built to better our writing and drawing skills were implemented into the class. These smaller projects exposed us to more genres of writing and visual depictions of writing. Alongside of the wide array of topics, we were also asked to draw or write in small amounts of time. A drawing in the beginning of class may only be allowed ten minutes for completion, while an assigned project was given about a week to finish. The difference in time constraints taught me what I need to focus on while I write. Major points need to be mentioned while little details can often be left out and the audience can still get the whole “picture”. I also learned that plain text does not always portray a complete thought. In comics, most of the information being given is portrayed by drawings or photographs within the text. Drawings are the predominant messenger while text bubbles are almost always supplemental.
The “Literacy Narrative” assignment was designed to be a guide while learning how to create a comic. Professor Morgen first required us to write an essay describing our journey learning how to read and write. After writing and editing this essay, he then asked u to turn our alphanumeric text into a comic. At this point in the class, we had already read a novel and been exposed to a few different kinds of comics. The exposure to many different authors really gave me a platform on which to build my comic. Different aspects of novels really caught my eye. Shading in one piece really caught my eye, while text bubbles in the other really made sense in my comic. Being able to piece together my own comic using techniques from other authors really helped me make a cohesive, decent, first comic. The creation of the comic really allowed me to use critical thinking while summarizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating ideas from comix authors and my peers while creating my own, original piece of work. The “Tracing Maus” project was also one in which I integrated work from other authors. The novel, written by Art Spiegelman, was one about a father’s story in the Holocaust. Art used his father’s words and experiences to create a novel depicting the hardships that he went through in this time. While creating “Tracing Maus”, we were required to cite and implement pages out of the novel as examples to back up our argument. The argument being what techniques and parts of the novel make it so impactful. Using only “Maus” as a resource, we were able to develop our own opinions and create an argument while backing up our thesis with the novel.
No project I created in this class was ever done in one sitting. To create a seamless, organized project, took many drafts and lots of organizing and discussing. “Mapping Spinning”, for example, required a lot of work outside of just writing an essay. Creating the graphs, deciding my topic, and deciding what elements to include were all part of the process. While deciding which idea of the book I was going to be following, I was tossing around four or five different topics. I decided to then track all of them, and then make a decision based on that data that I had acquired. This took a decent amount of time as well as a lot of editing and reflecting on what I had chosen. Finally, I decided on my topic, and went for it. I decided that this specific topic was one of the most influential themes in the book, and I thought it would have the most impact on my readers. After my decision, I created many different graphs to choose which one I thought was the best for my project. I ended up copying and pasting certain elements from all of my graphs to synthesize and create a graph that encompassed all of which I wanted to convey. I used themes from the book to base my graph off of and then began to write my explanatory essay. Writing the essay required a few drafts, as I wanted to make it as clear as possible for my readers. I wanted the essay to be relatively short but did not want to leave out any integral information that needed to be addressed while discussing the graph I had made. Doing this took writing, editing, revising, and repetition. I ended up having about three drafts until I decided that the essay had all of the information I wanted in it. The reflection post really helped me decide that my project was finished. I focused on the topics that had shone through in both parts of this project and used said topics to write a reflective essay about what I had recently created. This allowed me to look back on my writing and see what I had done well and what I could work on to be better in the next project.
Overall, I believe this class taught me how to be a more efficient and cohesive writer. I was exposed to many different types of literature that will allow me to create more influential pieces in the future. When writing in other classes, I used skills that I learned in this English class. Skills involving visual aids, the editing process, and extra creativity were utilized when I wrote for Biology lab. I really enjoyed being in this class and would highly suggest it to friends or incoming freshmen searching for a writing class to take. I never thought I would enjoy graphic novels or comic books, but I have learned to appreciate then and understand the work it takes to create a flawless comic.