Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Comics Help Survivors Pull Together Fragmented Stories

In April and May of 2019,  I had the wonderful experience of delivering a two-part workshop on visual literacy and comics for the Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group of Holland Hospital in Holland, Michigan. 

Though everyone in the group is living with the results of a brain injury, we found that we were able to share and laugh about many common experiences and insights as we learned about visual literacy and simple storytelling in panels.

The first part of our work together looked at simple shapes and how placing them inside of panels in different arrangements communicated different ideas. We also looked at simple ways of depicting humans and faces.

In our second session, we looked at a basic six-panel story structure. Participants had time to share a story from their lives that they wanted others to know about. Drawing ability didn't matter... we used simple shapes if we wanted.

In a short twenty minutes, everyone generated a story idea, questions about how they could go forward with this practice, and ideas for how to draw complex things. Several folks shared their completed story, which ranged from depicting the events around their brain injuries to difficulties they experienced with friends new and old.

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