Discuss how personal experiences are depicted both in visual terms and in narrative terms in the graphic novel Skim by Mariko Tamako?

In Skim, personal experiences are depicted in visual terms by illustrator Jillian Tamaki through asymmetrical arrangements and application of negative space, use of a monochromatic palette, and the influence of Japanese woodcut style. In the textual narrative, author Mariko Tamaki’s emphasizes Kimberly or Skim’s perspective through diary entries.

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The graphic novel Skim is illustrated by Jillian Tamaki and written by Mariko Tamaki. The book centers on the experiences of Kimberly Keiko Cameron, known as Kim or Skim, a high school student who is an outsider in her school and struggles between pursuing her own interests and goals and the temptation to change in order to fit in better. She loses one best friend but finds another, falls in love with a teacher, and struggles to comprehend a classmate’s suicide.

The visual aspects of the book convey Kim’s sense of her marginal status, as the action is often not centered but appears in asymmetrical arrangements within the frame. She is thus visually portrayed as looking from the outside into a social world of which she is not fully included. A spare palette of black, white, and gray is employed. The panel’s background is often white or has a gray wash. The text is frequently printed over an image rather than isolated in a bubble. The spare, linear style that is often employed draws on Japanese woodblock style.

Kim functions as the primary narrator in the text through extensive use of her diary entries. This method allows the author to provide a window into the protagonist’s thoughts, memories, and plans; it is more intimate and immediate than relying on third-person narration. She comes across as a believable teenager, who is at times insightful and other times not perceptive or articulate.

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