2022-2023 L'IMAGE Project PI Journal
To cite this page: Taniguchi, Ai. 2023. Principal Investigator Journal #5: ADHD and Research. In University of Toronto Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment Project (L'IMAGE). Available online at https://www.lingcomics.com/pi-journal-5-adhd. Accessed on [date].
Journal #5: ADHD and Research
L’IMAGE PI Journal #5: ADHD and Research
Alt-Text with long description
[Page 1, Title Page]
Top of page reads: UofT L’IMAGE Project: Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment
Title over bright red banner: Principal Investigator (PI) Journal
Subtitle under red banner: Journal #5: ADHD and Research
A highly simplified, comical drawing of Ai is seen under the subtitle. Her knees are slightly bent, and both of her arms are bent up in front of her, with both of her hands bent down, palms facing towards her. She is posing almost like a T-Rex.
Bottom right of page: University of Toronto Mississauga logo and University of Toronto logos are visible.
[Long description of text and images in the comic strip:]
The comic strips in the L’IMAGE comic series uses the font Ames, which is the standard font for comics. Ames is an all-caps font. However, Alt-Texts for this project are not written in all-caps so that they will be more accessible for screen readers.
The comic artist for the series is Dr. Ai Taniguchi. Her drawing style can be described as: Japanese manga inspired, cute, large eyes, intentionally sketchy and unpolished line art, simplified, expressive. The comic strips are all digital, but she uses a pen that mimics the line weight of a traditional fountain pen. Her line art is on average 0.5mm in width (relatively thin), but the line weight varies and looks hand-drawn.
The title page of each comic strip is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. The background is white with a navy blue frame. The references page and the “About the L’IMAGE project” page also have this University of Toronto color scheme.
The comic strips themselves are black and white, and employ digital screen tones for shading and backgrounds.
Top panel 1: A highly simplified, comical depiction of Ai is glaring at the readers.
Ai’s narration: Hello. I’m Ai. I’m neurodivergent. In particular, I have ADHD.
Top panel 2: A very young Ai (probably in elementary school), a slightly older Ai (probably in high school), and the present Ai is seen. The young Ai’s have a neutral facial expression, and the present Ai is looking at both of them with her mouth slightly agape.
Ai’s narration: I was diagnosed just this year (2023). It’s been a wild ride finding out I have ADHD at the age of 33. Suddenly, my entire life makes sense lol.
Bottom panel 1:
Ai’s narration: “A-D” in “ADHD” stands for “attention deficit”, but from what I know, this is a bit of a misnomer. I would describe it more as an uneven distribution of attention.
Below the narration box, we see what “H” and “D” stand for in ADHD. H = “hyperactive”. D = “disorder”. There is an arrow pointing to “Disorder” and it says “also questionable”.
Bottom panel 2: A molecular diagram of dopamine is seen.
Ai’s narration: ADHD brains tend to have a lower level of dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of reward an pleasure, and the regulation of attention.
Top panel: Ai, with a blank expression, is holding a peeler in her right hand and a coffee mug and a bag of cat food in her left hand. Hand-written text next to her reads: “I wanted to make coffee… why do I have a peeler and cat food”.
Ai’s narration: When unmedicated, my attention can shift rapidly between things.
Bottom panel: Ai, with a comical look of determination, is holding some sort of Halloween décor. It is a jack-o’-lantern wearing a black cat hat. It has arms with cat paws, and zigzag legs. Hand-written text next to Ai reads, “I need this”
Ai’s narration: My brain seeks novelty: It wants that dopamine boost from that shiny, new, interesting thing.
Top panel: To the left, a pile of dirty dishes. To the right, a pile of laundry spilling out of a laundry basket.
Ai’s narration: My brain is very interest-based, not importance-based, so when I’m umedicated, I find it extremely difficult to get my brain to start and complete “boring” important things.
Bottom panel: A sketch of Ai’s self portrait is seen. It is her usual style of drawing: unpolished, many overlapping and intersecting lines, as if it is the first draft of a drawing.
Ai’s narration: Have you ever noticed that my art style is quite “sketchy” in my comics? I think it’s partly due to my ADHD lol. My brain gets bored working on one drawing! I don’t naturally have the impulse to stay focused on refining details.
Top panel 1: A pile of papers is seen. On top of it, maybe a receipt.
Ai’s narration: At work, I struggle with things like administrative paperwork and writing papers for submission to research journals.
Top panel 2: The panel has a dark shadow over it with some texture. In this dark panel, Ai is seen, covering her face with both of her hands.
Ai’s narration: It’s not laziness. I know I have to do the thing (emphasis on know). I want to get the thing done (emphasis on want). But I compulsively freeze under a disproportionate sense of dread that comes from deep inside my core.
Bottom panel: A “chibi” Ai is seen working on her laptop. She looks stressed. A window next to her shows that it’s late at night.
Ai’s narration: Unmedicated, I often delay starting tasks until it cannot realistically be delayed further, and then pour an intense amount of focus in a short amount of time to get the thing done. People often think I’m organized and productive, but they don’t know that I’m repeating cycles of this intensely uneven use of attention. It’s extremely fatiguing.
Top panel 1: A shaded panel with just a narration box.
Ai’s narration: Yes, I’m forgetful and have struggles sometimes. But you know what else I am?
Top panel 2: A breezily smiling Ai is pointing up with her left index finger. Behind her to her left, an abstract depiction of a tangled string is seen. To her right, the string forms a straight line and feeds into a drawing of a lightbulb.
Ai’s narration: I’m a good problem solver.
Bottom panel 1: Ai is seen holding an umbrella out to another person in the rain. The other person is drenched.
Ai’s narration: I’m empathetic.
Bottom panel 2: Unusual for Ai’s comics, this panel is in color. It is a digital painting of an eye, probably Ai’s eye. It is a beautiful abstract rainbow painting of her eye.
Ai’s narration: And I am extremely, extremely, creative.
Top panel 1: Grass is swaying in wind.
Ai’s narration: I love working on the L’IMAGE Project, because my brain is put in an environment that I absolutely thrives in.
Top panel 2: A page from a comic is seen, although the content is indiscernible.
Ai’s narration: When making comics, there are so many interesting things for my brain to rapidly shift focus between: the art, the composition, the texture, the story, the linguistics.
Bottom panel 1: A digital pen (probably a Wacom pen) is seen, pointing downwards, casting a lonely shadow underneath it.
Ai’s narration: I’m allowed to feel the big emotions I feel and pour them into the comics.
Bottom panel 2: A white panel with just a narration box.
Ai’s narration: My brain is built for this kind of project.
Entire panel: Ai is seen with her eyes closed, resting her chin on her hands.
Ai’s narration: I think we talk a lot about how innovative teaching and research can help make education more accessible for students, which of course is important. But my experience with L’IMAGE makes me wonder: Isn’t it equally important to think about how innovation can make research and education more accessible for the professor as well?
Top panel: A sparkly background evoking inspiration.
Ai’s narration: If teaching an disseminating research via comics allows me to work with my brain, not against it, then I think this is a perfectly valid way for my neurodivergent self to be an academic.
Bottom panel: Ai is winking and smiling with her mouth open to the reader. She is waving with her right hand.
Ai’s speech bubble: Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more project behind-the-scenes in upcoming PI journals.
Text at the bottom: See you next time!
Page title: About the L’IMAGE project
Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies
Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics
Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre
With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre
Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com
Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo.