Comics: Another Tool in Graphic Recording

When I attended the Graphic Medicine (Un)Convention online in 2021, the way comics were being adopted by physicians, nurses, therapists, patients, and public health officials blew my mind. The reasons they were doing this were many, but there were some commonalities. Comics are inherently comprehensible on at least two levels -- visual and verbal. They are easily seen as a sequence. The viewer controls the speed at which information is assimilated. Most important, they do not require advanced literacy to communicate well.

I realized something interesting while looking at the incredible presentations that were made during that convention: this is something I was already doing on some level in Graphic Recording. Words + Image, and a sequence. What makes comics so much more than this, though, is the use of sequential panels to indicate time passage. And a constraint in graphic recording is having to make images on the fly at speed, so practice is very important. But another important point is that in comics, comic-book characters are expected and can be used to great advantage when discussing important issues. In this example, I’ve turned a COVID-19 cell into a character.

Four-panel comic about the spread of COVID-19 and communication.