Class 1: Introduction to Graphic Medicine
Tuesday 10/27, 1-3pm
- Watch this video:
2. Gather art supplies: pencils, eraser, paper, a ruler, black markers (fine, medium, and large), coloring tools (crayons, pencils, paint, whatever you want to use.)
3. Poke around on GraphicMedicine.org
- share self portrait, tell us about it
- introduce yourself
- why you took this seminar?
- ideas about specialty?
- what do you read for fun?
Class 2: COVID-19 Comics
Tuesday 11/03, 1-3pm
- review the COVID on the Graphic Medicine website here.
- COVID-19, Comics, and the visual culture of contagion. Lancet, October 10, 2020
In class this week we did two exercises. First, divide a page into six boxes. In each box, make a drawing to represent something that has helped you cope during COVID. Think about new rituals, or old rituals with newly realized importance, sensory experiences or daily practices.
Then from those six things, choose one of them to explore in a drawing. Create a page with four panels. Make a four-panel comic that tells us more about the thing that has helped you cope. Remember to think about making a four panel story, use conventions of comics like speech bubbles, thought bubbles, narrative voice.
Finally, we discussed COVID comics. You can watch my (later) recorded talk about that here:
COVID Comics, Graphic Medicine website, March 2020 to present
Class 3: Educational Comics
Tuesday 11/10, 1-3pm
In class today we performed an inquiry into what makes an effective and an ineffective educational comic.
To start, we looked at three sites for examples, the COVID comics we discussed last week, Cathy Leamy’s medical comics here, and Alex Thomas’s medical comics here. We generated the following list of elements that contribute to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a health-related educational comic:
- Evokes emotion
- Bold color scheme or text that stands out, visual appealing
- Engaging reader
- Not too busy
- Didactic content clear
- Easy to digest if you don’t have a background in that, esp with abst
- Simplify complex concepts
- Takes advantage of the delivery medium
- Very readable
- Too complicated
- Too much text
- What the comic is supposed to teach is not clear
- Assumes too much knowledge
- Moves to quickly
- Too didactic, tries to teach too much
- propaganda that doesn’t explain the issue
- Inaccurate information
- Too much focus on entertainment, not content
- Accomplish too much in small space
- Can’t read the text
We then followed the following three steps (10 minutes each) to create either an effective or ineffective comic about either (a) signs of a stroke (for adults) or (b) signs of infection (for kids).
Step 1: Gather and decide on the information to included in the comic, that is, the educational content you want to convey
Step 2: Decide on the approach of the comic to be most effective or ineffective – decide on one or two specific things that you are using as your strategy to ensure effectiveness or ineffectiveness. You should be able to name these. See our lists above.
Also decide on the details of the comic:
- Page layout? Number of panels?
- Narrative or simply fact-based?
- Characters? Talking heads or action?
Step 3: Each draw the comic as you agreed on it. (So your individual comics will vary, that’s okay. They should just follow the same general principles.)
Are Comic Books Appropriate Health Education Formats to Offer Adult Patients? Gary Ashwal, MA and Alex Thomas, MD, AMA Journal of Ethics, February 2018.
Class 4: Graphic Pathographies
Tuesday 11/17, 1-3pm
Preparation for class:
- Read this excerpt from Brian Fies’s graphic memoir Mom’s Cancer. If you are able to access and read the entire book, that is encouraged but not required.
- Write a single page reaction to the comic. Include your thoughts on impact, usefulness, and technique. Email your reaction to me no later than 5pm Monday, Nov. 16th.
Additional prep, recommended but not required: Ethics Talk: Telling Stories of Illness with Comic Art, (a brief audio interview with Brian Fies and Phoebe Potts) AMA Journal of Ethics, February 2018
Class 5: Drawing as a way of Knowing (and Coping!)
Tuesday 12/01, 1-3pm
Preparation for class:
- Keep a comics journal about medical school from 11/18 until 11/30. It can be a single panel per day or more elaborate, up to you. It can be an ongoing narrative or not. Up to you. The goals: to draw every day and try to use the assignment to meet a goal you might have, whether it is simply to be drawing every day, or to process a particular aspect of school or becoming a doctor that’s on your mind, or study something that you need to learn. As I said, use the assignment in a way that serves you best. If you need more guidance, email me.
- Submit at least five of images (or as much as you want to share of your journal) to me by 10am on 12/01. You can submit scans, photographs, whatever, as long as they are legible. I will not share what you submit with the class.
- Come to class prepared to discuss your comics journal – the process of making it, if you saw improvement in the content or style over time, etc. How much of the actual journal you share is up to you, but all will be required to at minimum discuss the process.
Exercise in class: Dr. Scribble Monster looks forward and back…
Don’t forget to send in your key takeaways and final projects if you haven’t yet.
On graphic medicine
On making comics:
- Creating a basic, wordless story with Ivan Brunetti
- Basic Diary Comic with Marek Bennett
- Faces & Body Language with Marek Bennett
- Basic drawing with Jarett Krosoczka (creator of Hey, Kiddo and others)
- The Five Choices in making a comic
- Some free comics-making workshops
- a full comic-making online course
- More comic making resources!
- from COVID times and beyond: Comics Workshops by The Believer
- Graphic Medicine’s Drawing Together
- Pure Focus Playlist (no lyrics, Apple Music)
- Spotify playlist (to come)