ISSN: 20520204
First published in 2014
2 issues per volume
Volume 5 Issue 2
Cover Date: November 2018
What do comics want? Drawing lived experience for critical consciousness
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Authors:  Martha Newbigging 
DOI: 10.1386/jill.5.2.265_1

autobiography,comics,drawing,illustration,participatory,pedagogy,practice-based research,queer

This article presents a reflection on drawing autobiographical comics as a method of engagement with critical theory and the potential for illustration education. I suggest that drawing and sharing autobiographical comics might be used to engage illustration students to think critically about identity, representation and power. To illustrate this approach, I present my own practice-based research project that used comics-making as a method to make sense of queer ways of being in childhood – ways of being that may have been discounted, ignored or suppressed within a dominant heteronormative culture. The intention was to evoke a playful mode of drawing that might queer my illustration practice while braiding childhood memory with critical theory. As educators, to get our illustration students to think critically, we might start with the students’ own lived experience and enlist the potency of comics to visualize their stories as resilient and instructive counternarratives. I suggest that drawing comics might be reframed as a performative space for playing with our stories to understand the historical and socio-economic forces that shape our lives and identities. Through making and sharing autobiographical comics, we engage in a transgressional strategy that uses story and drawing as transformative tools for Freirean critical consciousness.
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