Exam vs. Comic

Holland A Folk Tale Detail

OK, so I taught this course in the first summer session I called “Visual Thinking, Narration, and Explanation.”  It was a mashup English course focusing on visual thinking theory, infographics, sketchnoting, and comics.  (See the previous post here on the books I used and how the course changed the way I now think about presenting the class agenda.)

Anyway, I designed this short 4 1/2 week summer course with an exam about half way through just after we would have finished reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics.  But as we were approaching the week of the exam and seeing how successful students were with sketchnoting their responses to McCloud’s ideas, I thought I’d offer them another choice.

“Rather than take an exam on Understanding Comics,” I asked, “would you rather draw a comic instead?”

I could see their minds working:  Well, let’s see, “take an exam or draw a comic?”  They chose the latter.

“But there’s one catch,” I said.  “You have to draw the comic based on one of my recent poems.”

Even with this condition, they still wanted to draw the comic.  So here below are all of the amazing comics from my students on the poems “Only,” “A Folk Tale,” and “Leaning.”

(One last thing: These are English majors and minors, not art students, with some training in the art of sketchnoting and reading in Understanding Comics–plus of course whatever training they brought to the class.  But I think these comics demonstrate the power of McCloud’s book, the dedication of these students to the course and the project, as well as the potential for such an assignment in a range of literature courses.)

“Only” by Yun Jin Hwang:

Only by Yun Jin Hwang

“Only” by Chelsea Crenshaw:

chelsea only comic

“Only” (24X48 in) by Bobby Gardner

Only by Bobby Gardner

“A Folk Tale” by Kim Sides:

Kim Sides A Folk Tale

“A Folk Tale” by Kwabena Ayoke:

Anokye A Folk Tale

“A Folk Tale” by Holland Vanden Bossche

Holland A Folk Tale

“A Folk Tale” by Morgan Brooke Addison:

“A Folk Tale” (25X30 in) by Cade Tatsch:

Tatsch A Folk Tale

“A Folk Tale” by Ashley Spratley

Spratley A Folk Tale

“A Folk Tale” by Connie Riddle

Riddle A Folk Tale

“Leaning” by Maxine Breedlove

Breedlove Leaning

Now that I think about it more, maybe I should have titled this blog entry “Taking vs. Making.”