Creating a comic

Creating a comic

For my research project, I decided to examine the dilemmas of research on privilege. I am investigating the researcher as a leaner and furthermore why they don’t always translate what they learn for this research.. I plan to display this research in a comic. It is currently a work in progress. I have found that unlike other pieces of art that I have done, comics require a lot of preparation. There is an abundance of planning that is necessary. For example, the dialogue that takes place is critical. The visuals get across only a small part of the message. Most art allows the viewer to create their own interpretation. With this comic, I want to bring about a general message that everyone can learn from. Therefore, the words that are paired with the image are critical to conveying a certain message. By marginally changing a few words, it can drastically change the message. This is a obstacle that I am constantly grappling with.

Another issue that comes about is that it takes up a sizeable amount of time. I start by creating thumbnails for the general image that I will create for each part of the comic. I then decide how that will be laid out and which images will need larger space on the board. Next, I create the dialogue to go with the images and constantly revise them. Finally, I put these two together by drawing with a pencil and then going over it with permanent marker. This is extremely tedious and with the involvement of a permanent marker leads to mistakes that cannot be fixed. In art, there are “happy mistakes”. These are mistakes that the artist makes but is able to make it work with their piece so that it is no longer a “mistake”; it is part of the piece. For comics, the black and white makes mistakes very visible and hard to work around. This has led to me throwing out many attempts. Each board involves a lot of detail so limiting these mistakes is critical. If you plan on creating a comic, whatever you do, don’t try to eat while you work. It never works out well…

Although these issues have hindered me, I feel like it has allowed me to learn so much more about myself and the project. It taught me to organize and plan better so that I can have a more complete product. As I have alluded to, most art I do and enjoy has been somewhat spontaneous. I like to be organized but at the same time putting your emotions into a piece is so much easier when there is no planning. This project has allowed me to grow as an artist because I no longer can be as spontaneous. I learned how to plan efficiently and what works well in comics. In doing so, I learned so much about the dilemmas of this research and the research as a whole. It has mainly caused me to be more aware of what I am learning in this class and other classes. My research covers how people don’t always have understandings for what they are learning. In this, I have become more aware of my understandings as it would be pretty hypocritical for me to ignore this aspect myself.

Graduation… Corporation? A Moral Dilemma.

For the past year or so, I’ve faced a moral dilemma. As graduation continued to creep closer, and I thought more about what I wanted to do after graduation, my mind kept going two directions:

  1. Be a teacher! You’ve wanted to be a teacher since you were practically in Kindergarten, why change now? It would fulfill your desire to work with social justice aims in mind, and you know you’d like it!
  2. Hmm… why don’t you try marketing? You’ve been exposed to so many new interests at Colby and already know you’d like teaching, why not try something completely new and see how you like it?


Here lies the problem. I found that I really enjoy the work that goes into marketing jobs and have the right skills to success. However, marketing likes in a very corporate consumeristic world, pretty much the opposite of the social justice work I had always seen myself going into. I kept asking myself, if I get a job in marketing, am I a sell out?

In her talk at Colby the other week, Jane Kenway spoke about marketing as a field capitalizing off of making careful calculations about class in order to sell a product. She pointed to the fact that the product and the marketing of products creates a mystification and commodification of products only shows the promises of said product and none of the labor or injustices that went into making it in the first place. While she continued to speak of mystification in terms of elite schooling, her marketing example with the goal of demystifying the mystifications kept me thinking for many days.


Full disclaimer: I will be working full time in a marketing position after graduation. While I’m really excited, a small part of me keeps going back to the question of how I can and if I can keep my impulse and passion for social justice while working within a system that perpetuates the inequalities that I want to work to absolve. I am not alone in this internal battle, and have spoken to many friends who feel it necessary to become part of the system and learn the necessary skills and set the foundation to one day move forward the focus on their social justice aims.

Interestingly, I think studying elite reproduction, both in the context of schools and society, will make me better at doing my job within marketing. Through my research, I have a greater understanding of the academic theories surrounding why these elite consumers, the target audience for many marketing campaigns, feel the need to make certain choices, as well as how to emotionally appeal to certain aspects of their habitus. While we call our work “social justice,” studying elites has also taught me how to fully utilize certain opportunities and advantages that make me more elite. Whether this is good, bad, or somewhere inbetween, I’m not sure, but I’ve discovered that studying elites and social justice lies in a liminal gray area. It has changed how I experience and interpret the world around me and made me more aware and conscious of the injustices surrounding me. While I may be working within the system, I hope to be able to carry these ideas through. It is my hope that eventually I could work in marketing for a non-profit, blurring the lines between the corporate and social justice, but until then, I’ll be doing my best to start my job with an open and conscious mind.