M2: Graphic Medicine Elective

Welcome to the M2 Graphic Medicine Elective

Brief Course Description: Students will read comics and learn to draw their own comic, with a focus on medical themes.

Prerequisites: None. The course is intended for students of all skill levels. Feel free to sign up even if drawing a stick figure seems like a daunting challenge.

Goals and Objectives: At the end of this course, students will be able to:

1) Draw the human figure in cartoon form ;-). See you can do it already!

2) Use a combination of words and pictures to tell a story or explain medical concepts.

3) Explain why comics are an effective way of communicating with medical students, patients, families, physicians and other medical providers.

4) Give 3 examples of historically important comics.

Course Structure: Ten 1.5 hour classes. Exact dates TBD, when these are decided, they will be posted below. The first 2/3s of the course will be devoted to developing skills needed to produce a medically themed comic, while the last 1/3 of the course will be used to produce an original medically themed comic.

Class structure: Approximately 1/2 of each class will be spent discussing the assigned reading and the drawing homework assignments, the other 1/2 of class time will be spent on in-class drawing and story telling exercises.

Homework Readings: Each class will have both a reading and a drawing homework assignment. The weekly readings will exclusively be comics and will range in length from 10 minutes to one hour. There will be reading assignments every week, but they will be very short (10 minutes) towards the end of the course.

Homework Drawings: The homework drawing assignments will build on skills learned in class and will also range from 10 minutes to one hour to complete. The drawing assignments are intended for beginners and are designed to build basic skills. Instead of completing the formal homework drawing assignments, students who already have some drawing experience may work on their cartooning skills by “cartooning” (ie simplifying) master drawings or photographs, or by imitating the style of another cartoonist. At the 2/3s point in the course, there will be no more weekly homework drawing assignments so that students can concentrate on their course project.

Course project: Each student will produce a brief medically themed comic. The range of acceptable topics is broad, ranging from the intensely personal to the purely scientific. For example, students could choose to produce a comic about a personal medical experience, how they feel about medical school in general, how they felt about their cadaver dissection or their first real patient encounter. A student could also choose to produce a comic about a medical concept or one of the goals/objectives from a first year course. Students will work on their projects in class during the last 1/3 of the course and as their homework drawing assignments towards the end of the course.

Required texts, click book titles to link to Amazon, click author names to go to their blogs:

1) Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies

2) Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg

3) Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 by MK Czerwiec

All of these books are available on Amazon for about $10. You don’t need to buy all three books, feel free to share. The other readings will be made available as PDFs.

School Supplies:

You are required to buy a sketchbook to draw in everyday; the one I like best can be found here at Amazon, but use whatever you like. I will provide scratch paper, erasers, a pencil sharpener, plain old #2 pencils, fancy #2 pencils, and fancy ink markers.

Useful websites:

1) www.graphicmedicine.org

2) www2.med.psu.edu/humanities/for-medical-students/research-opportunities/graphic-storytelling-medical-narratives

3) Seesaw

4) Class blog site for 2017

5) Pixar in a Box

Class dates/times/location: TBD

Course Materials

Student Comics from Fall 2016

  1. Zika Wars by A. Non Mouse
  2. Close Encounters of the M1 Kind by Jenna Gorbatkin
  3. What it is Like by Gazi Rashid
  4. Finding Purpose by Anisha Apte
  5. Pudge the Cancer King by Joe Cho
  6. The Paper Chase by Leena Malik

New! Student comics from Fall 2017

  1. The Wizard of Os by Madison Malone
  2. The Adventures of Superus! by Hannah Trautner
  3. Platelet Party by William Qu
  4. Doctor Dogs by Daniel Sok
  5. When it Rains, It Spores by Emily Evans

FAQs

  1. Will we paint in class? No, too messy. But if you want to paint on your own you are welcome to do so. If you want to add color to your creations but do not want to paint, you are free to add color using crayons, colored pencils/colored ink or you can digitally color using photoshop/illustrator/etc.
  2. Will we draw using computers? The emphasis of this class will be on old school pencil and paper drawings with subsequent inking by hand. We will spend the bulk of class time drawing this way. But, if you prefer to draw digitally and you have the requisite hardware/software and skills, you are welcome to do so.

Week 1: 4 August 2017

  1. Meet 4 August 2017 1-2:30 pm in SOM A-170
  2. Introductions, course overview
  3. In class readings: Various Comics
  4. In class drawings: Boulder and Self Portrait

Week 2: 18 August 2017

  1. Before class, read The Taming of Tina, Jon Chad Crying, Missed It!, Judgement Day and Scott McCloud, Part 1. For background on “Judgement Day”, click here.
  2. Before class, try your hand at drawing this cartoon figure, this version of a renaissance portrait, this Roy Lichtenstein drawing and this drawing of a roman bust. There are multiple optional lessons below, but try to establish the habit of drawing everyday. It helps to have a sketchbook.
  3. Meet 18 August from 1:00-2:30 pm in SOM 178 P.
  4. Brief discussion of pre-class readings and drawings.
  5. In class drawings: Blue pill or Red pill.
  6. In class drawings: Complete the story.

Week 3: 28 August 2017

  1. Before class, read Scott McCloud, Part II and Fall Guy for Murder.
  2. Before class, draw Lateral Head, Head of an Angel and Masterpiece. Also follow the instructions for Marvel Comics Figure Drawing, and if you have time, try your hand at numbers 12 and 13 in the optional drawings below.
  3. Meet 28 August SOM 178 P from 3:00-4:30 pm.
  4. Brief discussion of pre-class readings and drawings.
  5. In class drawings: Blue pill or Red pill.
  6. In class drawings: Complete the story.
  7. In class drawings: Speedy Princess.

Week 4: 8 September 2017

  1. Before class, read Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies.
  2. Before class, draw a frontal view of the lead character in the comic that you will write for your class project. Bring your drawing to class.
  3. Before class, draw a copy of of your favorite painting or drawing. Bring your copy to class.
  4. Before class, write a one paragraph summary of the story that you want to tell for your class project. Bring your summary to class, make sure that it is legible so that we can all read them.
  5. Meet 8 September 12:30-2:00 pm SOM A-170.
  6. Discuss Mom’s Cancer and 2-4 above.
  7. In class drawings: comics jam, part one.
  8. In class drawings: refine your lead character drawing based on advice from your classmates or based on your own thoughts.

Week 5: 15 September 2017

  1. Before class, read Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg.
  2. Before class, practice/refine drawings of the characters from your comic. Try inking (i.e. drawing over the pencil lines with ink) some of your drawings using the fancy pens that I asked you to buy and see what a dramatic change ink makes as compared to pencil. Be prepared to discuss the difference between ink and pencil and how you might shade something in ink. Post some (or all) of your drawings to seesaw.
  3. Meet 15 September 1:00-2:30 pm, location SOM room P 178.
  4. In class, brief discussion of “Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person”.
  5. In class, update your classmates about your story and characters.
  6. In class drawings: comics jam part two.
  7. In class discussion: thumbnails, penciling and inking.
  8. In class, time permitting, begin thumbnailing your comic.

Week 6: 22 September 2017

  1. Before class, read Huber the Tuber.
  2. Meet 22 September 1:00-2:30 pm, location SOM room P 178.
  3. In class, brief discussion of “Huber the Tuber”.
  4. In class drawings: comics jam part three.
  5. Before and during class, work on your comic. Show your friends what you are doing and ask for constructive criticism. Post some of your stuff to seesaw to share with friends and family.

Week 7: 6 October 2017

  1. Before class, start reading  Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371  by MK Czerwiec.
  2. Before class, read Sweet Dreams.
  3. In class, brief discussion of Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371, to be continued for the remainder of the course on an ad hoc basis.
  4. Before and during class, work on your comic. Show your friends what you are doing and ask for constructive criticism. Post some of your stuff to seesaw to share with friends and family.
  5. Note: class will last 2 hours today and will be held in Room A 153 6 October from 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Week 8: 7 November 2017

  1. Before class, continue reading  Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371  by MK Czerwiec.
  2. Before class, read Stiff Punishment.
  3. Before and during class, work on your comic. Show your friends what you are doing and ask for constructive criticism. Post some of your stuff to seesaw to share with friends and family.
  4. Note: class will last 1.5 hours and will be held in SOM, Room 190 P from 1:30-3:00 pm.

Week 9: TBA 2017

  1. Before class, continue reading  Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371  by MK Czerwiec.
  2. Before class, read A Sound of Thunder.
  3. Before and during class, work on your comic. Show your friends what you are doing and ask for constructive criticism. Post some of your stuff to seesaw to share with friends and family.

At Conclusion of Course

  1. Complete your comic and turn in to Dr. Tigges, who will convert them to pdfs.
  2. Schedule a post-class dinner, where we will read and admire each other’s comics, eat good food, have some beer and celebrate.
  3. With permission of the authors, upload the finished comics to the xraycomix website and seesaw.

Optional Drawing Exercises:

  1. First Drawing Lesson: Spheres
  2. The Eye
  3. The Face
  4. Foreshortened Face
  5. The Hand
  6. Naturalistic Face
  7. The Nose
  8. Reclining Figure
  9. Runner
  10. Skin and Hair
  11. Standing Figure
  12. Marvel Comics Way of Drawing the Frontal Face
  13. Marvel Comics Way of Drawing the Profile