educating through entertainment
 
Going to the doctor can be a scary thing for a lot of people. As adults, we understand the importance of getting regular checkups and vaccinations. But it can often be a confusing thing for a child who only understands the pain associated with getting shots.
To help educate children about the necessity for vaccinations, medical student Mahsa Amir put her scientific knowledge to use in a language kids can understand. She is the author of “Dendy” a graphic novel for children aged 8-12 which explains the basic medical rationale in an entertaining way.
The illustration challenge this book presented was formidable. Most of the story takes place inside the human body. Each character was a virus, or a cell which plays a role in combatting viruses. It was essential to represent each character in a way which is medically accurate. For example, the two main characters, Dendy and Rick, are Dendritic cells that monitor the body for signs of invasion by viruses or bacteria and then capture them. Dendritic cells have multiple tentacles. It was necessary to draw Dendy and Rick as characters with faces, personalities and human characteristics, while also representing the basic characteristics of the actual cells.
By drawing with pastels on paper and adding loose black outlines in the computer, I adopted the style of traditional children's book illustration. The book is laid out in traditional comic book style frames, and the selection of fonts highlights that tradition. The familiar style of this book is intended to make children feel comfortable while it educates in the way kids learn most easily—through entertainment.
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