The Sciences + The Humanities + Comics = ???

The longer I study this debate about how we value fields of study, the more I realize how messy it is. It’s both fascinating and terrifying. The idea of taking my argument and this complex debate about it and fitting it into a series of comic panels that are easy to understand is intimidating. However, through this I hope to make the this debate and my argument more accessible to college students, so that they themselves can start thinking about it and what it means for the their futures and the future of society.

At the moment, I aim to be inspirational and have my comic invoke a sense of wonder and maybe even comfort. My main models come from a web comic I’ve been reading since starting college: Zen Pencils. The artist, Gavin Aung Than, takes quotes of famous people from all sorts of fields and creates comics that embody the quotes line by line. It’s quite beautiful.

Gavin Aung Than: creator of Zen Pencils, fantastic graphic artist, quote junkie

While I won’t be as artistically ambitious as Gavin, I do like how he presents themes and the tone of the comics.

Here’s my favorite comic: Isaac Asimov: A lifetime of learning

Right now, I am contemplating two ways in which I can creatively compare the humanities and the sciences in my comic.


The sciences and humanities as the characters

This would be an interesting take in that it would give more life to the. It would reinforce my view that the fields are fluid and dynamic rather than static. My main concern about this is that while the fields themselves are a great focus, my argument targets the views and misconceptions that people have of them. This still could work though, as long as I keep the misconceptions and real representations distinct.

The sciences and humanities as the landscape

Here, the sciences and the humanities would be part of the setting. I would depict the fields as islands separated by water. I think that this would really get at the idea of these boundaries that we put up between the humanities and the sciences. My metaphor for flexibility would bridges, which would allow people to flow in and out of the islands at their leisure. I would also compare the relationships between the people before and after including the bridges in the story. The disadvantage here would be the limits of the setting. This way of structuring the comic would limit the kinds of things that characters could do and could be a little too abstract of an idea to be applied to important points, like the job market.

There will not only be organizational challenges, but also design challenges. I plan to use Adobe Illustrator, which I have only a little a long time ago. And while I will be drawing things by hand first and then finalizing on the computer, I fear that it might have more difficulty using it than I think I will. I have seen people work with it. Overall all, I think it will be worth it to challenge myself with a new medium, as well as gain a new skill. I will continue to research comic conventions and learn how to use Illustrator, and I will take advantage of the resources the university offers.


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I make stuff sometimes. But with the time I have and the relatively little drawing experience I have, my illustrations won’t be as realistic as this. (Expect more stick figure-esque.)

But for now, I will tackle some to-dos. The first order of business will probably be solidifying my re-purposing and using it to create an outline for my remediation. At the same time, I will keep researching comic conventions and start playing with Illustrator. This will be challenging, but also exciting. I think this could really turn out to be something really awesome.

Katrina Soyangco

Katrina is a BCN and writing minor student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She hopes to someday become a physician, although not quite sure what kind yet. She’s not as cool as her older brother but strives to be.

One thought to “The Sciences + The Humanities + Comics = ???”

  1. Hi Katrina,
    I think both your considerations of having the sciences and humanities as your characters and your landscapes are both great ideas for your comic. The first concept reminds me of my initial re-purposing project where I was looking to personify the characters in The Iliad. And I definitely think this will all come together once you’ve completed your re-purposing project, as you mentioned.

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