Guoxue comics: visualising philosophical concepts and cultural values through sequential narratives
Guoxue, often translated as ‘national learning’ or ‘sinology’, is one of the compulsory subjects that Chinese children and teenagers are required to study. The main area it explores is traditional Chinese academia, covering philosophy, literature, arts, history, geography, mathematics and many other aspects. This article is a critical analysis of comic books for guoxue learning. Firstly, it investigates the current guoxue comic market and the most commonly adapted fields of guoxue literature and knowledge in comic books, namely traditional philosophy, traditional culture values and history. Selected significant works are discussed using methods of visual research and content analysis. To create a comic – a format often seen as a sequential narrative – the artists need to consider, for example, contents for each panel, links between panels and visual symbols for representing non-visual matters. These comic art essentials make the process of adapting philosophical and cultural values rather challenging, as it is a procedure of visualising thoughts and concepts instead of stories. Guoxue comics not only succeed in this adaptation, but also in visual narratives that are easy-to-understand and child-friendly. This distinctive feature is the heart of guoxue comics and is highlighted through the examination of example works in this paper. Methods used by artists to visualise concepts through means of comic art will be useful to comic artists in the future and will help them explore innovative approaches to creating sequential visual art.
- Design and Creative Arts