How One Teacher’s Cartoons Bring Education to Life
Photo Credit: Anna Kraynova/Shutterstock
Whoever said cartoons turn your brain to mush clearly hasn’t met Lillie Marshall. The Girl Scout alum combines her talents as an educator and illustrator to provide intriguing, creative ways to help students around the world learn.
After working as an English teacher in the Boston area, she created her Teaching Traveling website in 2010 to engage educators and students beyond the classroom. When the pandemic hit and there was a pause on travel and in-person teaching, she took the opportunity to launch Drawings Of…, a website focused on her artwork.
“I use cartoons frequently to explain concepts to students,” Marshall explains. “Over time, the idea began to emerge: Could these illustrations be expanded to a wider audience?”
Drawings Of... brings lessons on vocabulary, grammar, and English Language Arts (ELA) to life through drawings. This website, plus her Instagram profile and YouTube channel features illustrated simple concepts, like how to say ‘Hello’ to more complex lessons, like how homophones and figurative language works.
Her online presence makes lessons accessible to virtual learners during the pandemic, and provides them with the opportunity to learn in an entertaining way.
In each lesson, Marshall combines colorful, vivid cartoons with written explanations to meet students at any reading or writing level. For example, in a lesson about Tone vs. Mood, Marshall uses contrasting images (light and dark, happy and scary) to represent the two concepts sans words. At the end of the lesson, she also includes a section on Chakra colors, to connect the ideas of tone, mood, art, and life.
Her online presence makes lessons accessible to virtual learners during the pandemic, and provides them with the opportunity to learn in an entertaining way. “I love getting messages from readers around the world that my articles have impacted them,” she tells CircleAround.
But how does an ELA teacher juggle her websites and teaching/cartooning career? “The biggest key to success is persistence,” Marshall states. “In order to be persistent, you have to actually like what you're doing. If it's a slog to persist, the fit is likely not right, and you should switch to another plan.”
Marshall’s work proves that creativity and education have no boundaries. As she continues to develop new lessons and new art, she is hoping to expand her talents further with new projects, like a book containing her illustrations and lessons. Until then, she’s looking forward to helping students, teachers, and everyone find a new love of learning through her cartoons, videos, and more.
This post is part of a series honoring beloved teachers who make a difference with their kindness, love, and wisdom each day. Thank you to all of our educators from all of us at CircleAround.com. To read other stories in this series, please click here.