What do comics want? Using graphic narratives to play with memory

Martha Newbigging, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 17 ISSN 1702-3548

This paper functions alongside the work carried out in my practice-based research project, looking for queerness, which investigated how drawing autobiographical comics might enable me to make sense of queer ways of being in my childhood and youth. Within this research-creation project, I asked a phenomenological question while working through a narrative ethodology using the visual method of drawing. My inquiry looked at how drawing and performing the self has the potential to produce new understandings for the maker of these self-representations. This project has implications for a participant-maker engaged in situations using visual methods within the contexts of research, education, and mental health. The work that resulted from this five-month project began as drawings, notes, and reflections in three sketchbooks. From this exploratory work eight large comics pages emerged for reproduction as a mini-comic. The culminating body of work included these comics, as well as a multimedia projection, and six large comics panels reproduced as textiles. The intention was to evoke a playful method of engagement to queer my illustration practice while braiding childhood memory with critical theory. The resulting artwork and this paper enact each other through a continuing dialogue about possibilities for recognition and representation of queer ways of being.