Picturing Texts

My English tutor uses Picturing Texts by Lester Faigley, Diana George, Anna Palchik, and Cynthia Selfe to develop my writing. I must confess, this is the first textbook that I read from cover to cover, and many revisits are necessary. Design has always been my passion, and I am working on my writing; therefore, this book matches my interests.

Picturing Texts breaks down into seven detailed chapters, from exploring (“Picturing Texts”) to analyzing (“Looking Closer”) to evaluating (“Making Lives Visible,” “Representing Others,” and “Constructing Realities”) to recognizing (“Picturing Argument”) and to constructing (“Designing Texts”) the visual texts. The authors have done an exceptional job of explaining each topic with visual examples along the way to make their points clear. The strength of Picturing Texts is the insightful essays written by professional writers and designers. My favorite pieces include: the disturbing family home video of “What’s Wrong With This Picture” by Michelle Citron, the psychological driving behind advertisements “Shock’s Next Wave” by Bruce Grierson, the interesting theory of “Squaring the Circle” by Jessica Helfard, the creative process using comic and words of “Through the Door: Digital Production” by Scott McCloud, and the misrepresentation of “In Brochures, What You See Isn’t Necessarily What You Get” by Jennifer Jacobson.

Of course, you can’t get away with writing and designing assignments from a textbook; however, these exercises are well developed to help you expand your writing and juice up your creativities instead of stressing you out like a Biology textbook does. Furthermore, the book features work from the provocative concept designer Tibor Kalman, the brilliant typographer Paula Scher (check out her brief documentary video from Adobe Studio), and many other well-known artists to get you inspired.

The Web is a perfect medium for bringing words and images together. While Picturing Texts makes many references to the Internet, it does not delve into hypertexts and online writing. Other than the lack coverage for Web writing, Picturing Texts is an essential textbook that appeals to both writers and designers. Thanks to my English tutor for sharing the book. Now I hope to pass it on to you.