Some Lehigh students and faculty are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic by drawing and sharing comics. What is it about this form that is especially useful when people are quarantined inside their homes and away from others?
Winnie Gu ’19, who graduated with an art degree and is pursuing a graduate degree in the College of Education, says the form helps her bring “positivity to the community during this stressful time.”
“It’s a way to make each day a little different than the day before,” she says.
Before the pandemic, Gu’s comics focused on cultural identity. She still incorporates this aspect into her comics related to the pandemic, which she is posting on her Instagram account @thirdculturechinese.
“I use comics to tell my story and share what it's like to be an international student at Lehigh,” she says.
Providing some levity amidst the seriousness of the times is part of Alea Oakman’s goal in drawing and sharing comics that relate to how the pandemic has changed student life.
“My goal with these comics is to bring a little bit of light to people,” says Oakman ’20, a student in the IDEAS program studying design. “When I was a kid, I loved how the cartoon version of Lizzie McGuire showed what she was really thinking. I wanted a cute cartoon version of myself to better communicate my experiences, so I created Oakling, my cartoon alter-ego. Making illustrations of Oakling really helps me to process what is going on in my life because I have to step outside myself to see it. By taking a third-person perspective, I am better able to see that the scale of the problems I face is so much smaller than it seems.”