The Secret Language of Comics

Process of Making Tea

This was the breakdown of my learnings in this class. These are the different learning outcomes that are crucial to a successful writing career. I have broken this down in the same way a person makes tea. Milk, Tea Bags, Water, Sugar and a spoon are all very important to make a good cup of tea. Similarly all outcomes are responsible in writing a successful essay.

Yousef’s Assemblies

Given that I am relatively literate when it comes to technology, acquiring digital citizenship and rhetorical composition was not that challenging to me. However, writing as process, visual thinking, and critical thinking were not as easily-achievable as I thought them to be. Luckily, through challenging myself in the dozens of assignments, I would say I have achieved them to an extent.

Literacy Narrative 3 Reflection

The project truly made me not just better in writing, but also in drawing, analyzing, and looking at materials differently. While definitely challenging sometimes, pushing myself more paid off at the end, especially when I see the outcome of my efforts.

Creating my comic and going back to write about the literacy narrative made me write my text differently. The text narrative became much easier to write about since the comic-creation guided me to specific aspects about my narrative that I want to be highlighted.

I would say my analytical thinking process was definitely different than however it was before. Drawing and creating the comic changed the way in which I think about the story to ways I did not expect. While I thought creating a comic would limit my story, it actually inspired me to focus on certain aspects, as I mentioned before


Literacy Narrative 3, Alqahtani’s

As a child, reading and memorizing Quran (the Islamic Holy Book) was the only book that I used to read and memorize on an almost-daily basis. Despite the encouragement and rewards given to me by teachers and my parents, I never considered reading and writing an enjoyable experience. However, comics growing up and Twitter as an adolescent changed the way I think about what to do for fun, significantly affecting where my free time is spent. Without them, I would have never been who I am today, and to which I dedicate this narrative.

  Someday as a third-grader, I went to the school’s field during a break, only to see that a mini-library was brought from Egypt (a country whose dialect is typically used for all Disney Arabic-dubbed movies and comics). I decided to get an Uncle Scrooge comic book for no apparent reason. Little did I know that this would turn into an addiction that would go on for over a decade. At the time, apart from TV movies and animations, my PlayStation 3 was my way to escape from reality. I used to spend hours that I remember having a headache once from playing too much of Modern Warfare 2 (a shooter game that most Saudi gamers have played). Unfortunately for me, consoles were not allowed on weekdays, so I had to play with my neighbors or do schoolwork in my free time. Nevertheless, Uncle Scrooge started a new chapter with me, making me look forward to coming back home so that I could read. The way in which comics affected me is hard to describe. It improved my willingness to read and enjoy every sense of reading that staying late at night is not to play videogames but to read. Reading, once feared and boring, became an enjoyable habit.

 In addition, my older brother was a significant influence growing up. My brother has had a successful career in blogging about soccer, widely known within Al-Hilal and Inter Milan Saudi fanbase when it comes to writing. Due to his popularity and influence, I became much more involved in soccer. At the time, I opened a Twitter account, dedicating it to writing about soccer solely to impress him. And to seem just like him, I acted and wrote like an adult. I did not expect much besides having a few followers when I started. Fortunately for me, my account grew more and more to be followed by hundreds, reaching a thousand followers within a year. Having this amount of followers was unusual in 2013 when bots were not as prominent as today. My brother, unfortunately, did not want me to be involved as he is, given the “uselessness” of being a sports junkie. I was not discouraged; I was encouraged when I saw that older fans were following me, and I kept tweeting regardless. Due to Twitter, tweeting became a habit, eventually falling in love with writing. Since Arabic Twitter is luckily not as informal as American/English Twitter, tweeting helped me formulate arguments and write well as a sixth-grader. Writing, following this, became a flow that cannot be quickly interrupted, all thanks to Twitter.

 In conclusion, reading and writing have always been dreadful to me, especially when I was addicted to video games. However, comics and Twitter are what made me who I am when it comes to my literacy. They changed how I interact, they changed how I read, and they changed how I write. Without comics, mainly Uncle Scrooge’s, and Twitter, I would have never been who I am today.

Alqahtani’s Literacy Narrative 2 Reflection

This was by far the most challenging assignment I have ever had. Not mathematics, not physics, not even any other STEM-related assignment has been more challenging to me than this particular assignment

Although I tried as early as possible to make it better-looking, I have always failed to do so. However, I compensated this by challenging myself even more to draw materials I have never drawn before: a computer, a phone, and a fairly-detailed mosque.

While painful to a horrible drawer such as myself, the challenge helped me in forcing myself to think beyond my limited imagination when it comes to drawing


Yousef’s Assemblies

Given that I am relatively literate when it comes to technology, acquiring digital citizenship and rhetorical composition was not that challenging to me. However, writing as process, visual thinking, and critical thinking were not as easily-achievable as I thought them to be. Luckily, through challenging myself in the dozens of assignments, I would say I have achieved them to an extent.

A Long Flight Mixtape

Given that music is not really something I regularly listen to, I found it difficult to make a playlist that connects to me. However, connecting to a specific scenario, a long flight, eased the process for me. I decided to make a playlist that reminds me of home, especially being thousands of miles away from home. In this playlist, I featured solely Saudi and Arab Gulf (mostly Riyadh-based) artists to remind me of where I came from. The featured image is set a few miles away from where I live, Riyadh’s Boulevard, locally known as the Times Square rip-off.

Final Reflection (In Progress)

Over the course of the semester, I accomplished several major projects revolving around the theme of comics –  the Halfa Kucha, creative Sunday Sketches, literacy narratives, and tracing pages. On the journey of completing the plethora of assignments, I practiced my digital citizenship by attempting to create and publicize work via new technologies, became a more mature writer, critical thinker, and confident presenter by rethinking & redrafting arguments on analysis of graphic novels as well as my own story, and above all, appreciated the power of visual thinking.

In my opinion, Halfa Kucha is the most challenging assignment integrating multiple learning outcomes. My Halfa Kucha presentation presented an analysis of Stitches alongside Gender Queer under Judith Hermann’s theoretical framework of stages of trauma recovery. My proudest achievement in this assignment is to incorporate the class spirit of “draw to win” by trying new technologies – unlike going straight to Microsoft Powerpoint, I intentionally stepped out of my comfort zone and familiarized myself with, which turned out to be more user-friendly than PPT; I drew out the symbolized abstraction of certain essential characteristics of selected pages to make a visual argument in this multi-medium rhetorical situation. Hence, I met the learning outcome of digital citizenship and visual thinking – “Demonstrate visual thinking strategies to analyze and interpret visual information and to experiment, assemble, and arrange visual and written documents of their own.” The most challenging part, on the other hand, is certainly the time limit of 20 seconds per slide. Unlike finishing a written assignment, I practiced over and over to make sure I could present material fluently in front of the class; the entire process involved text, images, live speech, and synchronous digital presentation, which achieved my learning outcome “rhetorical composition” – “to compose texts in multiple genres using multiple modes”. 

However, the “draw-to-win” success wasn’t built in one day, rather it was a consequence of continuous practice in weekly Sunday Sketches assignments – my favorite chill part of all assignments. From hand-drawn sketches to music playlists, SK series presented my personal ideas through music, words, photograph, and drawing – again a great challenge for a person who hadn’t been drawing for several years. Take “Mr. Forest II” as an example, I blend in personal symbols in the framework of Forest Gump’s poster, conveying my wish for positivity and productivity. Also, one of the early works “Zero and Snake” visually demonstrated Hilbert’s Nullstellensatz, a theorem from another math course that has a highly geometric essence. By applying visual thinking skills to the abstract maths course, I deepened my understanding of the theorem itself and was able to convey the intuitive ideas even to outsiders, despite its complicated background in algebraic geometry. Thus the SK series, by applying multi-media for creative expression and digitalized distribution, again achieves learning outcomes “visual thinking”, “rhetorical composition” and “digital citizenship”.