The Secret Language of Comics

Sketch 3: Visual Note Taking

For the assignment, I organized the notes from POLS 110. It contains basic principles of international relationships. Three valid theories in explaining the world interaction – Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism – is concisely addressed according to the three framework that was introduced – Interest, Institution, and Interaction. Different levels of analysis – International, Domestic, and Transnational – and 2 major types of interaction – Bargaining and Cooperation – were given. To make the note more visually appealing and easier to understand what I chose to use was illustration.

Different Levels of Analysis

I drew a map for different levels of analysis. Color was used to differentiate the countries. To simplify, the countries that I wanted to emphasize were colored green. At the ‘domestic level’, I wanted to show one country, so I only colored the US in green. For ‘transnational’ all countries were colored green to show uniformity, and for ‘international’, North American countries were colored differently. Moreover, except the countries that I wanted to give emphasize were all colored gray.

The Framework

For expressing the framework – ‘interest’, ‘institution’ and ‘interaction’ – I tried to use pictograms. I wanted it to be simple, but plausible enough. The dartboard demonstrates a goal, the ultimate outcome an actor wants from its political decisions. For the institution, I focused on the aspect of it being established. Similarly, I thought a building was something that is equally definite and certain. Also, I wanted to show the authority that the institution holds, and thus tried to hommage the Korean Houses of Parliament (the picture down below). Finally, for interaction, I drew 3 people as a pictogram and connected each with different colored lines to display the multilateral characteristic of interaction in Political Science.

대한민국, 국회, 국회의사당, 건물, 여의도, 대한민국 국회


This task was not only a mere opportunity to make POLS class notes, but also an opportunity to organize what I learned again. Also, the process of thinking about what visual elements to add or subtract was a valuable experience. When drawing maps, I was able to think a lot about the usage of colors, and when drawing 3 types of frameworks as pictograms, I was able to learn about omitting and simplifying them. I was able to connect this with the part about leaving panels out in “WHY COMICS?”. Reminding myself of the book, I tried to make each element of the pictogram count.

Visual Note Taking (Sunday Sketch 3)

For this assignment, I decided to create drawing notes on the topic of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” that I have learned in my POLS 110 class. In the past, when I was making notes for science classes, I had some drawings in my notes to help me remember the content more easily and think of it right away when it comes up in the test. When the drawing was too complicated for me, I used images to prevent myself from not remembering critical parts of the image due to my poor drawing skills. 

Due to this previous experience, I found this assignment really interesting. As my previous experience of using drawings was remembering images of the body or lab materials, I found it interesting to use drawings as the primary focus for this assignment. This experiment taught me that using my creativity when taking visual notes makes it much easier to memorize the context and express it in various ways, which can not be done through words. I found it a bit frustrating when I couldn’t fully show my intentions when turning the content into visual notes due to my poor drawing skills. Overall, this assignment was challenging as it required a lot of creativity and some of my drawing skills. In the future, I would definitely use such a note-taking method for specific subjects to help my understanding and encourage such an approach to other students. 

My Visual Notes on my Classes !

I present to you … my own visual notes ! I admit, it was a unique approach in drawing out my notes rather than seeing hundreds of lines of texts covering major information. I feel that I can really benefit from this because I am a visualize learner, and I feel like organizing my notes in that certain way will help understand the context a bit better.

Additionally, I didn’t think I was able to map out such certain aspects on the lectures I have note taken into a visual board form. I really enjoyed this activity as not only did I express my creative mind, but also my understanding of the lecture.

Stocks, Bonds and Financial Markets

I thought this assignment was really interesting because I have never taken notes in a visual format. As of now we have not gone into the depths of the class but we have discussed different aspects of the stock market and other such financial markets. I found this assignment more fun because it was easy to visualize concepts in the form of images with an artistic view point. I am extremely interested in this class and I found it fun to integrate the concept of comics and drawings with the idea of my other class. I also think visual notes can actually help learn content easier then continuous notes just containing writing.

Of Principalities

I had trouble with this assignment. In particular, I think I had trouble converting written ideas into drawn images. Perhaps I unknowingly chose a complex subject to capture visually. I selected my notes from my modern political thought course. The subject matter my notes address is Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince. The concepts Machiavelli discusses, which I consequently had to portray visually, are typically abstract and concern themselves with governance. I don’t know how to draw “governance,” though I tried to illustrate Machiavelli’s material points to his abstract rhetoric. For example, Machiavelli discusses Rome’s political structure throughout his chapter concerning mixed principalities. Accordingly, I drew a Roman pillar with an emperor-like figure flexing on top of it to represent the ideas Machiavelli discusses. Similarly, to represent Machiavelli’s conception of hereditary principalities, I drew a family tree in which progenitors die off, leaving only a single inheritor of power.

As well as illustrations of Machiavelli’s material references, I tried to incorporate details that encapsulated broader themes from my notes. For example, the crown resting on a prince’s head at the center of my drawing represents Machiavelli’s fixation on monarchical government. Similarly, I tried to depict Machiavelli’s conception of the principality, which is constantly watched over by its sovereign. I chose to do so by drawing a walled community and a pair of eyes fixated on it from atop a mountain. I also drew a bloodied dagger to represent Machiavelli’s more notable opinions regarding intrigue and the value of unconditional control in government. I do not think my drawings do justice to Machiavelli’s complex theories of government, though I don’t want to write off the practice of taking visual notes altogether. I think I might find them more effective if I took them while the professor lectured rather than while reflecting on my written notes. Perhaps I will try this for a different less conceptually abstract class.

Sketch 3: Visual Note Taking

Genetics: A Cat Love Story

Sunday Sketch 3

Sketching my notes helped me to understand the content much better because I had to think about the topic in a different way in order to draw it. I was forced to simplify the topic more because I am only able to draw simple images, and this helped me especially when trying to verbally explain genetics. I also like how through sketching my notes I now associate key terms with images allowing me to memorize vocab much easier. My learning style is the cross between a visual learner and someone who learns best through reading and writing, so drawing my notes out helps to a certain extent. I think it would help me better to take written notes and include diagrams and images along the way, or maybe make a small sketch of my notes at the end of each section to act as a recap.

JPN Virtual Notes

I think that this drawing notes does help condense large amounts of information. I say this because I did need to think about what to draw in order to correctly explain what my notes mean. It is a bit of a long process; however, I did enjoy turning my notes into a drawing. It makes it less of a chore to study my notes. The course context was also easier to understand. I would definetly like to try taking virtual notes again.

Seminar of Melancholy

The Vietnam War Part 1

During the process of creating these visual notes for my freshman seminar class, I discovered the extent of how much I understand the course content and what else I need to further spend time on in order to better comprehend it. The topic we have been focusing on in the last few weeks pertains to the Vietnam War. Because of the large number of details and events, infographics such as these also serve to organize my thoughts.

The Vietnam War Part 2

In the first illustration, a three-panel wall can be seen in the far upper left corner. This depicts the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The scrawl on the panels is the fifty-three thousand names of fallen victims of the war. The flowers and teddy bear at the feet of the memorial help paint a picture of the several trinkets and mementos left behind at the memorial friends and family leave behind. Just below is what I imagine a Veteran chat in a modern GroupMe would appear. This specific conversation depicts the misgiving these men gave to Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Similar visuals can be seen throughout the page. The country of Vietnam was enraged at the American enemy. The criticism of the site disorganization seen in both the inquisitive emoji and the Washington monument is a classic example of an “erected” monument. The absence of recognition towards Vietnamese veterans in the memorial is seen by the lack of Vietnamese names in the many tombstones. The American army demographics are rendered by the thought bubbles originating from the soldier where the audience can see that the army mostly consisted of colored men from the working class. Lastly, in the far right lower corner, a series of houses can be observed referring to the migration of Vietnamese immigrants into ethnic clusters with the intention of protection in numbers.

The Vietnam War Part 3

In the second illustration, I used meme emphasize the unusual Vietnamese decisions such as the glorification of weapons (M-16), the usage of sorrow to control the citizen’s emotions, and the ambivalence left after the war ended. The shopping bags observed in the far left top corner symbolize the memory industry that boomed after American troops left the territory.

In the third illustration, a more common diagram is seen depicting an American citizen choice of career that would be affected by the social stigmas left after the war. The conscious decision to not mention the Vietnamese in our memorial negates the possible victimization they could take on as a result of it. There are broader images and not as much text as these drawings mostly served as literal reminders of the long lasting effects of the Vietnam War.

sketch 3: Visual Note Taking

Visual Note Taking-Sunday Sketch #3

For this assignment, I found the action of drawing out my notes to be very interesting. I have never really thought about visualizing what I learn in my classes in that manner and I liked the change in note-taking technique. I think that I understood the content the same way that I did the first time I took the notes. The only thing that changed is that I was able to remember it and conceptualize it much easier. Also, I found that by drawing out my notes I could expand on what I had written about in a different way than words can. I found the process of drawing the notes to be a little bit frustrating because I felt like I had to make sure I did everything neatly enough to understand it in the same way as typed notes. Also, I found it difficult to transfer words into drawings and not leave anything out. I think I discovered that I learn well when I can read out my notes and have them organized into bullet points and pages rather than in a sketched-out format. Overall, I think that this assignment was very different and unique compared to the other homework I have had thus far in college. I think it would be interesting to see how this method would be more or less effective based on the class/subject. 

A Family in the 18th Century

I believe drawing the notes I have written about the material covered in the class helped significantly in making memorizing it an easier process. Although I am still behind in terms of my drawing skills, it was definitely an enjoyable and fascinating experience to draw about what what was covered in the class.

Throughout the drawing process, I have learned that the more I draw the better and faster I am in making my next drawing a less difficult experience. Hopefully it gets better as time goes on.

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