When I was 9 years old, my third grade teacher let me teach the class how to draw cartoon characters... And I haven't been able to stop talking about the stuff since!
I have spoken about visual language theory to audiences of students, researchers, comic creators, scholars, companies, non-profits, and the general public. My talks cover aspects of the cognition underlying visual language, comics, and graphic communication, can directly discuss my theories and research on linguistics and cognitive neuroscience, or can explore what research can offer more effective communication.
All of my presentations use rapid paced, image rich slide shows and/or spontaneous drawings. My presentations can last anywhere from 15 to 120 minutes, depending on the subject matter and venue. I'll answer questions indefinitely.
If you are interested in having me present at your venue, or just want more information, I encourage you to email me.
I love teaching and speaking, and have taught courses on visual language for many years. I am also prepared to teach classes ranging from day long workshops to week-long intensives.
My classes cover the theory and research behind the cognition of the visual language of comics, and/or about the application of this theory to comic creation. While I am happy to cover specific workshop topics, I often construct workshops to the interests of those in attendance (often on the fly!), making each workshop a unique and interactive experience.
Due to their scope and my teaching responsibilities as a professor at Tilburg University, my availability for extensive workshops is limited. However, I am always enthusiastic about doing them. Please email me if an event like this interests you.
Here are some of the topics that my presentations often cover. I usually tailor the topic and presentation to the audience, and, pending on my comfortability with the subject, I am willing to take requests. Most likely, my lectures blend several of these:
- What is visual language?...and what exactly is language to begin with?
- What is the structure of narrative and how is it comprehended in the brain?
- Why is drawing actually more like language than we think, and what does that mean for the way our society treats drawings?
- How do language and comics relate to other aspects of expression, like music?
- How can comics and cognitive science inform better communication?
- How do you define "comics" and what can they offer our understanding of the brain?
- How can cognitive science teach us about drawing and learning to draw?
- What is the system underlying visual narrative and how do sequential images create meaning?
- ...and a lot more!
My consulting work directly uses my research from linguistics and cognitive psychology to contribute towards more effective communication. I can give talks on these topics, coach employees, or directly consult on strategies informed by cognitive science.
My visual language studies can directly apply to:
- The role of drawings and visual narrative in education
- Storytelling techniques for comics, films, and presentations
- Engaging and successful slideshow presentations
- Effective graphic communication
- Research informed lessons on how to draw
I'm particularly interested to work on projects related to education, progressive causes (such as environmentalism), and science.
However, I am generally open-minded, and if you think I can provide a unique point of view to your ideas, projects, or inventions, I'd be happy to help make that happen.
- BBC News Labs
- Microsoft FUSE Labs
- Reading with Pictures
- Archie Comics
- CAST, Inc