Sunday, 1 July 2012

Learning Science through Comics

About 6 years ago, Ms Cheong, the former General Manager of Marshall Cavendish asked me to write a series of comic science guidebooks. Initially, I was very skeptical about that idea. Many negative questions popped up in my head, like "who will be reading it? Why?", "Is comic reading encouraged in schools?", "Why reading science comic if people can spend same amount of money buying a proper textbook?", etc.

 I brainstormed a few ideas about the concept for the comic science book. I must admit that it wasn't all easy at first. Firstly, I wasn't a big fan of comic, I didn't know how it works nor i know how to read a comic book. Secondly, Science is a 'dead-serious' subject, so it should be treated that way, rather than turning it into some kind of a joke-material. Thirdly, I am not a good artist and therefore I find it very challenging to project my visuals to the artist. So for these reasons, I lose my focus and decided to move on with some 'conventional' guidebooks.

In 2010, I went to a bookshop in Sydney. I browsed a science comic book written by Masaharu-san called "The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology". At the first glance, I wasn't overly convinced about delivering science facts in comic. So, I bought the book and studied it at home. Surprisingly, I loved it. I had so much fun reading it and I couldn't stop reading it ! 

So, based on the basic principle of "The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology", I went back to the same bookstore and picked up some books on how to draw comics and cartoons. I learned the basic techniques of drawing comics and I enjoyed doing it too ( I never knew I could draw! )

In early 2011, I was offered to write a new science book by Marshall Cavendish. After discussing with the subject editor, Melvin, we both agreed that putting a science comic as a side feature in the book would bring values to the readers. We named the side feature as "Info-Comic". Finally, with some practices, I drew my own science comics. I was so proud that we were the first publisher in Malaysia to introduce 'Info-comic' in science guidebooks. 

The book was successfully published and launched in end of 2011 under the title "Hybrid Max Science". We chose 'Hybrid' as the series name because the book is in bilingual, a hybrid of English and Malay. We picked "Max" because we believe the contents will maximise learning. 

So, here we go, that's the story of my science comic experience. We had very good feedback from teachers and students. Hopefully, we will get to see more science comic in my books in the future.

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