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May 29, 2011 / juhua11

Visualize your World

We receive information from our surrounding mostly through sight. We relied on our eyes to help understand our world. Color, texture and patterns are highly attractive to us. Graphic novel integrate images and text to tell a story. The colourful boxes and narration make the most complex science topics come alive.

The term pathographies are defined as illness narratives in graphic form is often written by both patients telling their first hand experiences. Patient graphic pathographies provide an outlet for patients to share their feelings when they might of otherwise feel uncomfortable. Some days words fail to truly convey the desired message. leaving the patient, unsure and consequently anxious of what is happening to them.

The images in Mom’s Cancer tell his story, share emotions and experience through the course of treatment. The images would not be appropriate to present to patients prior to treatment. No one ever feels comfortable walking on tight ropes. It might generate negative feelings or even fear in the patients. However it is a useful tool to convey the experience to medical students or health professionals.

Researchers have found how combining pictures and text enhances understanding. The activities of reading and viewing activate different information processing systems within the brain, and the combination fosters connections between new information and existing knowledge. Comic artist and former journalist Brian Fies says that comics have the capacity for powerful visual metaphors and universality. The spare and stylized use of text and art allows readers to project themselves into the story. They are eeffective and sometimes powerful with simple message and presented in a way that is easy to read and remember.


Medical comics are proving particularly useful in patient education, both to promote public awareness and to help patients and their families understand what to expect from a disease. Apparently, combining pictures and text enhances understanding because reading and viewing activate different information processing systems within the brain. “This combination also fosters connections between new information and existing knowledge,” say the authors, “thereby increasing recall of health information, especially among those with low literacy.” Comics can be a powerful tool to dissimilate medical advice to the general public.


When writing specifically for kids, consider subjects that are child-friendly. Be careful with the conversational language and avoid certain words, use simple language. In particular be careful with colloquial sayings. They can be confusing.


As comics rely heavily on the artistic appeal to help tell a story, and if the words and art on a single page or in a single frame don’t match, the reader will feel disoriented. The arts can be humorous or serious depending on the target audience.



Things to Consider When Writing a Comic Book |



Leave a Comment
  1. afiza / May 31 2011 2:45 pm

    Hi Juhua,

    Thank you for the post. I think you had structured your post very well. As your title, “Visualize Your World”, I think you should include some related images to make it more lively and attractive.

    During school days, I remembered that biology subject was the first class in the morning. Thus, my biology teacher always used comic at the beginning to make us laugh and boost our energy. It was fun though. I agree that graphic help us to remember things easily especially funny and humorous images. However, sometimes images also leave negative impact if it was delivered to a wrong targeted audience especially for patients diagnosed with life threaten disease. It is important aspect to consider the reader’s emotion in order to deliver the message successfully.

    Finally, I enjoy reading your post.


  2. poonamrajmane88 / Jun 5 2011 8:20 am

    Hello Juhua,
    I enjoyed reading your post and I must say you have conveyed the importance of explaining science with loads of graphics. Pictures play an important role in conveying messages which rule the memories for a longer time.Personally I am a visual person, I understand and remember things better when learned in a picture and sentence format.
    To convey science to the kids the picture and sentence format will be more helpful in the wrong run. What is important in science it getting the basic concepts right. We cannot remember every single thing but things like ‘process of blood clotting’ explained with images can be explained with pictures and scientific terms.this would help them to retain information much longer than they would have remembered it by reading it.
    I agree with Afiza that even though pictures contribute to help us learn better it is very important to understand the emotions of target audience. One cannot show the effects of smoking by putting up a gruesome picture of an affected individual. Having said that it also depends for which audience this article caters to. As smoking is a global issue and a lot of young audience is susceptible to it, they are bound to see this pictures and have their own perspectives and it depends in what way they take such article.
    Overall the blog post is very well structured and explains each idea effectively.

    Poonam Rajmane

  3. alyssaw1 / Jun 5 2011 2:09 pm

    Hi Juhua,

    This is a fascinating topic, and your post presents some interesting information – I have learned a lot from reading it. Like Afiza, I also remember being shown countless comics in school biology to try and engage us with the topic! A comic was also used to explain to us how viruses multiply, something which I can now recall a lot more easily than most of our course content. It’s true, comics are useful learning tools! I agree that Mum’s Cancer definitely conveys the cancer experience well to those who have not experienced it, however, I think it could be useful to show it to patients prior treatment. Although, as you say, this could generate negative feelings, it would be useful for the patient to be aware of the hardships to follow, and they might seem less fearsome when shown in an interesting and engaging manner. Showing the patient the comic would also prevent them from being disappointed with their treatment, the would be ready for the trials and tribulations, and perhaps they would even feel more positive about their progress if they did not have such a rough time as does the author’s mother. Structure wise, you presented many interesting ideas, however I felt that they did not really flow on from one another. Sentences at the end of paragraphs should introduce or lead to the idea presented in the next paragraph. A concluding paragraph could have also added a more stable and less abrupt ending.

    Overall a fun read!



  4. ushachandra / Jun 13 2011 9:57 am

    Thank you for your insightful post Juhua. Pictures do speak louder than words. It makes it easier for one to relate to information more than words, especially with colors that make pictures even more interesting. Some people remember information through pictures. When recalling a memory, a picture that resembles it, appears first. Maybe that is one reason why primary and secondary school science books are always colorful with pictures on every page and that is to make learning exciting and interesting.

    But also pictures may be offensive to some people. This is when I agree with Poonam about the gruesome pictures on a cigarette packet. Many of them still buy their daily dosage despite these pictures being placed on their packets. These pictures merely show that they do not create much impact.

    Having said that, your post was an interesting read Juhua. Newly learned skills will be applied and reinforced much more efficiently when an individual engages in meaningful science art activities with visual information rather than worksheets filled with words.

  5. jesspacka / Mar 23 2012 2:51 pm

    Hi Juhua!

    Really interesting topic and I completely agree that images can be helpful in many ways. You includes many different scenarios in which pictures would prove more helpful than words. I really enjoyed the content of the blog. However, I did feel that sometimes the sentences could have been reworded to make a little more sense. Such as “The term pathographies are defined as illness narratives in graphic form is often written by both patients telling their first hand experiences”
    I do not understand the use of the word both. It could be rewritten as ‘ Pathographies are narratives written to describe and portray the illness experienced”.

    Overall I think it was good! Well done!

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