Inspiration: Nick Sousanis

Sousanis Inspiration

The best place to get inspired is to see who is the best in the business.   I am inspired by the possibilities of writing a textbook for my students in illustrated format. Daunting, I know.  But what better type of textbook to write one for than a geography course? My husband has two art degrees and as a kid loved comic books. While I never had a thing for comic books, I do appreciate the illustrations and I am a big art fan. What I do have is a great understanding of Adobe Illustrator so hopefully coupled together, we can come up with some wicked ideas.

So far, I am most inspired by a doctoral candidate name Nick Sousanis.  He teaches at Columbia University and is writing his entire thesis in comic book form.  Just thinking about it wants to make my head explode, but I am very excited for him, and like I said, such an inspiration. His work is  philosophical, but I believe the purpose behind his work is to show readers the importance of connecting images to words.

In his words:

My dissertation is in part about itself, an argument for how we make sense of the world visually and respecting/honoring that in teaching and learning.

Nick teaches a comics course on the topic and I really wish that I lived closer to the East Coast so that I could take one of them. So I did the next best thing and I emailed him a couple of months ago. Nick gave me some good advice about not trying to be too literal with the images that I attempt to create and instead force the viewer to have to interpret what was being drawn and making them work for the connection.  I can agree with this, since as teachers we try to make our students active readers and annotate the heck out of their readings to make those connections.

He suggested a few fundamental sources for creating an illustrated text that I will be sure to check out as I go.

  • Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics”
  • Matt Madden/Jessica Abel’s “Drawing Words/Writing Pictures”
  • Larry Gonick’s “The Comics Guide
  • Bill Ayers’ “To Teach”

I already have the “Drawing Words/Writing Pictures” book, and it is really good.

All of the artwork is his own, as I read that some of his art was drawn for him, but the concepts look amazing.

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