Look at the size of that thing!

How do you explain to your colleagues that your courses cover an area larger than the US (the main frame of reference), and a couple thousand years more than they usually do, even if they’re historians? My tenure committee itself included people from political science, chemistry, mathematics, film studies/English and more. My first concern was to convey the size of the region I teach. The True Size of It. Oh hang on… That one was easy: the handy-dandy website with that name helps you drag countries around and overlay them so the map projection doesn’t distort your idea of how big a country really is. Ok, but easy was not yet FUN and as I wrote last time, I wanted to inject some fun. Enter the squirrel:

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Drawing of a squirrel holding up cutouts of East Asian countries over US map to compare sizes
Squirrel puts the finishing touches on the composition

He’s just putting the finishing touches to the composition, overlaying PRC over the United States. Add some text in a standard comic book typeface, and voilà: there is an inviting illustration of the territory I cover in my courses. And Will you look at the size of that?!?! It actually is larger than the US! Who’d have thunk? Squirrel also got to show off his mind-bending map-comparison at the start of every China-course already, so this is definitely a “multi-use” illustration!

Oh, that little blue hippo? If you’re not already familiar with him, I’ll introduce him next week Monday! Until then, I’d love to hear how you convey scale in your courses. Leave a comment!

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  1. Pingback: William the Hippo – Radio Blackbird Illustrations

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