- Writing Activities
How to Create a Comic Strip in 6 Steps
Everyone loves a good comic, whether you’re a comic book geek or just the casual reader of a comic in your local newspaper – Comic Strips are great! While some comic strips just take a few minutes or less to read, don’t underestimate the difficulty of creating one! And because May 5 th is comic book day, we decided to give you some step-by-step instructions for creating your first ever comic strip. Follow these instructions and you’ll be creating awesome comic strips in no time! Here is how to create a comic strip in 6 simple steps.
What is a comic strip?
Step 1: write your ideas for your comic, step 2: draw the three-frames, step 3: use basic shapes to draw, step 4: add in the speech and lettering, step 5: add detail to your cartoon, step 6: go over your comic in pen, how to make a comic book, how to draw comic strip characters, comic strip ideas, comic strip examples, are you ready to create a comic strip.
A comic strip is a sequence of images with a small amount of text in each box. This text is normally inside balloons or written as captions. Comic strips (or comic books) are a form of story-telling, which uses drawings or cartoon characters to tell a story. Most comic strips are created for humour, while some can be serious.
Comic strips are most likely to be seen in newspapers or magazines. While entire comic books or graphic novels can be found at your local library or bookstore. Superman is one of the best-selling comic books of all time. You might know of other examples of comic strips or books that you’ve seen or read.
In the professional world, comic strips or comic books are created by cartoonists or professional graphic artists. But today we’ll show you how to create your own comic strip at home with no experience needed!
How to create a comic strip
As this is your first-ever comic strip we will focus on creating a three-frame comic. But when you become a master at creating short comic strips, you can make yours much longer and filled with way more characters.
A comic strip is no different from writing a short story . It still needs a beginning, middle and ending. Because this is a three-frame comic strip, break your story down into 3 parts. Write down your ideas for the characters, settings, expressions and even speech. Make sure each part has some action and that your ending is powerful with an awesome punchline.
On a new piece of plain paper, draw your three frames using a pencil and a ruler. Make sure each frame is equal size. You can even put small light marks on the paper to mark out where the speech bubbles will go. As a bonus tip, you might want to make your frames twice as big as you want them to be, so you don’t run out of space.
Don’t want to draw your own comic strip frames? Check out this highly-rated blank comic book for kids on Amazon (Amazon Affiliate link):
This is a whole book filled with blank comic strip grids. All your kids need to do is draw in their comics and they’ll have a complete comic book in no time!
One of the hardest parts of creating a comic strip is drawing out your characters. We recommend you use basic shapes to draw out your characters. As this is your first comic strip you might even want to use stick figures to keeps things easy. Also, sketch in the speech bubbles and any starbursts for sound effects. Oh and don’t forget, please use a pencil at this stage, so you can erase any mistakes.
Now add in the lettering for your speech into your speech bubbles and don’t forget to double-check your spelling. Remember the size of your lettering could show whether a character is shouting or whispering. For example, lettering in full capitals shows that your character is shouting.
Now go back to your characters and add any extra details, such as facial expressions, movement lines, and shadowing on the floor. And also draw in the background for each frame.
Now, you can finally use a felt-tip pen to go over your pencil drawings and rub out any pencil lines. Your first-ever comic strip is now complete – well done! You can leave it as it is or even add some colour.
A comic book is like a super long comic strip that requires more than one page. The process of creating a comic book is almost similar to creating a comic strip. However, there are a couple of extra steps you need to take to make a comic book.
If you’re looking for a readily made comic book or blank comic book templates, see this amazing blank comic book template for kids (Amazon Affiliate Link):
Here is a super quick step-by-step tutorial on how to make a comic book out of paper:
- Pile together at least 3 A4 pages. This will give you 12 pages for your comic book. Then fold all of them in half:
- Staple the folded papers together. This should give an A5 sized booklet. Then fold the area with staples in slightly like in the image below:
- Fold another A4 paper in half. This paper will be for your comic’s cover. We used an A4 piece of card to give our comic book a sturdy cover:
Then apply glue on the tiny folded over part of your booklet – On the side where you can see the staples. Next, stick the cover and booklet together to form your comic book.
- Sketch out your cover using a pencil. And now the fun part: Outline your pencil drawing with a pen and then colour it in like a colouring book:
- Plan on your comic on a separate paper. You should ideally plan out each frame. Think about what the characters will say, what the scene might look like and any other small details. For inspiration, take a look at this post on how to come up with good ideas .
Once the planning is done, sketch out your frames and cover over them in black pen.
- Draw in your frames using a pencil. Remember to include speech bubbles, special effects and facial expressions on your characters. Once happy outline the drawing with a black pen and colour it in using your favourite colours:
Carry on doing the same with the other pages in your comic book until complete.
Hooray! Your comic book is now complete. Now that you have done your first comic – Don’t stop now! Create your own comic book collection and amaze your friends with your bedazzling story-telling skills! You could even be the next Stan Lee!
Making a comic book is a great school project which can be applied to any lesson, whether it’s art, science or English. Comic books are a great way to encourage creativity in kids and build on their story-telling skills. You can even ask students to create comic books to test their understanding of a complex subject or topic.
One of the hardest parts of creating a comic strip is drawing out the characters. As a beginner to the world of creating comic books, try not to worry too much about your drawing skills. For now, even a simple stick figure will do – In fact, there are many famous comics on the internet drawn entirely using stick figures!
If you want more than just stick figures, you can try out the simple steps below on how to draw your own comic strip characters. For this method, you’ll start off using a light pencil to sketch your character and then you’ll add in the colour:
- Start with a simple circle.
- Draw two circles for the eye and a mouth. And don’t forget a tiny curved dot for the nose!
- Sketch any rough hairstyle. Add in the eyebrows over the hair.
- Draw a triangular-looking rectangle for the body.
- Roughing sketch in the legs and tiny shoes.
- Add in your character’s arms.
- Draw in the smaller details. Don’t forget to add the tiny hands.
- Go over your sketch with a black pen.
- Colour in your character
- Your comic strip character is complete!
Here is a little cheat sheet of all the steps involved in drawing your own comic strip character:
By following these simple instructions, you’ll be drawing cool comic strip characters in no time! If you need more help drawing characters for your comic strips, then we recommend this book on how to draw cartoon character for kids (Amazon Affiliate Link):
Now you know how to create your own comic strip the next step is to start creating more! Here are some fun comic strip ideas to try out:
- School Day: Create a comic about your best/worst day at school.
- Travel Comic: Create a travel comic about a recent trip or holiday you went on.
- Friendship: Write a comic about your best friend or a friend and give it to them as a gift .
- Fairy Tales: Recreate your favourite fairytale as a comic strip.
- Superhero: Design your own superhero and write a comic strip about their adventures. You can check out these superhero writing prompts for inspiration.
- Family: Write a comic strip about a family member and give it to them as a present.
- Music: Write a comic strip based on your favourite song, singer or band.
- The Future: Create a comic strip based on how you will be like in 10 years time.
- Anti-bullying: Write a comic about bullying to help anyone who is being bullied .
- Endangered Species: Raise awareness of an endangered species through creating a comic strip.
These comic strip ideas are great for school and at home. Why not challenge yourself and create a comic strip for all 10 of the comic strip ideas above! For more inspiration take a look at our post on coming up with story ideas .
We all need a little inspiration now and then. To inspire your comic strip creation, here are some simple and fun comic stripe examples:
Why not continue the comic strips in these examples or create your own using these characters?
Creating comic strips is so much fun. And it’s easy too! Just make sure to sketch out your ideas before creating your comic strip and make sure you keep your characters simple (as you may have to draw them many times in different positions.) Now sharpen your pencil and get creating!
What do you think of our step-by-step instructions on how to create a comic strip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. In the meantime, why not take a look at our monster flip book activity or learn how to write your first-ever Haiku ?
Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.
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Comic Book Project
Language Arts, Writing, Writing Process, Traits of Writing, Art, Mediums, Techniques
Students will write a fictional story creating a conflict and resolution, applying sequential writing, using action verbs, descriptive language, and onomatopoeia, in a comic book format with original artwork and/or technology.
- Students choose the dimensions of the size of their pictures. Each page must have at least four to six panels with related captions.
- Explain that each panel size for the comic book picture must be the same for each page.
- Require that onomatopoetic words such as bang, boom, crash, clang, buzz, whoosh, swish, creak, eek, etc., be used occasionally.
- Read the student check-off list aloud to clarify all requirements. Writing the comic strips for each page must precede the artwork and graphics. Excessive violence, weapons, and blood are unacceptable. This project is rated for a general audience.
- Brief student conferences on each student's rough draft should be held to facilitate complete sentence structure, descriptive adjectives, and action verb usage. Peer editing during this project combines reading enjoyment and student affirmation with skill development.
- The final due date provides the students with a day to read each other's creations. This day fills the classroom with recreational reading and a positive climate for further emphasis on writing for entertainment.
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Creating Comic Strips How can you weave together words and pictures in a comic strip to create a nonfiction story?
In this 3-5 lesson, students will examine comic strips as a form of fiction and nonfiction communication. Students will create original comic strips to convey mathematical concepts.
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- Analyze the evolution of comic strips using the familiar Peanuts comic strips and other comic strips.
- Explore comic strips from the perspective of a story (setting, characters, plot).
- Evaluate comic strips by looking at words, pictures, and how they work together.
- Create an original comic strip to convey mathematical information.
- Share original comic strips with younger students as a reference tool.
National Core Arts Standards National Core Arts Standards
VA:Cr1.2.3a Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.
VA:Cr1.2.4a Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers.
VA:Cr1.2.5a Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art.
Common Core State Standards Common Core State Standards
ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
ELA-LITERACY.W.5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.A.2 Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).1 Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.
MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.A.1 Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Record measurement equivalents in a two-column table.
MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.
Recommended Student Materials
Editable Documents : Before sharing these resources with students, you must first save them to your Google account by opening them, and selecting “Make a copy” from the File menu. Check out Sharing Tips or Instructional Benefits when implementing Google Docs and Google Slides with students.
- Comic Strip Template
- Snoopy in Space
- Peanuts Motion Comics: Independence Day
- Early Peanuts Comics Strips
- Make Beliefs Comix
- Digital Storyboard Maker
- Pencils, fine-tip markers or pens
Teachers should review the lesson and standards. Math standards are suggested but not limited to the ones listed. Visit CCSS Math Standards for more information. Review the book, Comic Strips: Create Your Own Comic Strips from Start to Finish by Art Roche. Select a video from the Peanuts Collection or Snoopy Collection (example: Peanuts Independence Day ). Exploring the following resources is also helpful prior to teaching the lesson: Early Peanuts Comics Strips (1950-1968), age-appropriate comic strips , an example Math Comic Strip , the history of comic strips, and parts of a story.
Students should be familiar with grade-level math and parts of a story (setting, characters, plot).
Adapt math materials as needed and allow extra time for task completion.
- Show a Peanuts comic strip video, such as Snoopy in Space or Peanuts Motion Comics: Independence Da y .
- Prompt a class discussion with the following questions: Is this fiction or nonfiction? (It is creative nonfiction, using fictional characters to share factual information.) Who is familiar with the Peanuts characters? What other Peanuts shows have you seen? What story elements do you recognize? What is the goal of the production? What art technique is used to produce this video?
- Explore the evolution of Early Peanuts Comics (1950-1968). Ask students: What similarities and differences do you notice about the comic strips? How many frames are used in each strip? What role does color play in creating these comic strips? Who created these comic strips? (Introduce the creator, Charles Schultz, to the class.)
- Discuss the history of comic strips. Share that comic strips have been used as a communications tool for over 100 years and the first successful daily comic strip was Mutt and Jeff , which started in 1907. Comic strips are used to tell a story. They have three main parts of a story: s etting, characters, and plot . Comic strips use words and pictures equally. Comic strips use a series of frames to show story movement.
- Explore age-appropriate comic strips . Have students work either independently, in groups, or as a class to explore other comic strips. Examine each comic strip for parts of a story, the use of words and pictures, and the number of frames used.
- Discuss the use of comic strips to convey factual information. Ask students: What factual information was shared in the comic strips or video we watched? What other factual information can be shared using a comic strip? Why would a comic strip creator want to share nonfiction information in this format?
- Create original comic strips using the Comic Strip Template or digital comic strips with sites like Make Beliefs Comix , Pixton , or Digital Storyboard Maker . Have each student create a 4-frame comic strip to convey a math concept. Model a math concept, then assign a math concept (learned or reinforced in the student’s previous grade) to each student. Using the three parts of a story, have each student create a comic strip to share the math concept. Have the student first work in pencil (drawing lightly). Review each comic strip draft for accuracy. Once approved, ask the student to “ink” the strip using a permanent fine tip marker. Erase any remaining pencil marks. Each student should title (top line) and sign (bottom line) the strip.
- Create a “Math by Comic Strip” book. Compile all comic strips into a single book. (You may want to create two books: one to share and one to keep as a classroom.)
- Share the “Math by Comic Strip” book with students in the previous grade. Have each student present their comic strip to another student or the class.
- Assess students’ knowledge with one of the following writing or discussion prompts: What were students able to learn about math from reading your comic strip? How did your words and pictures work together to create a math story? What story elements were present in your comic strip? Who would the audience for your book be?
- Compare and contrast a classic novel and a classic graphic, such as Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Treasure Island , or a nonfiction graphic novels, such as Greek and Roman Mythology .
October 29, 2021
Article thought-provoking art.
There’s no need to divide critical thinking from creativity. The two easily meld into classroom activities with art as the starting point.
- Arts Integration
Lesson Cartooning Political and Social Issues
In this 6-8 lesson, students will examine political cartoons and discuss freedom of speech. They will gather and organize information about a current or past issue that makes a political or social statement and analyze the different sides. Students will plan, design, and illustrate a political cartoon that presents a position on a political or social issue.
- Social Studies & Civics
Lesson Drawing Political Cartoons
In this 9-12 lesson, students will analyze cartoon drawings to create an original political cartoon based on current events. Students will apply both factual knowledge and interpretive skills to determine the values, conflicts, and important issues reflected in political cartoons.
- English & Literature
- Grades 9-12
- Comics & Animation
Lesson Media Awareness I: The Basics of Advertising
In this 6-8 lesson, students will examine the influence of advertising from past and present-day products. Students apply design principles to illustrate a product with background and foreground. This is the first lesson designed to accompany the media awareness unit.
Article Developing an Artistic Eye for the Math Classroom
Middle school math teachers will unlock students’ “artistic mathematical eye” with arts objectives, lesson openings, essential questions, and student choice.
Lesson Composing and Clapping Rhythms
In this 3-5 lesson, students will clap rhythm sequences and compose an eight-measure composition. Students will explore rhythm concepts, including the names and symbols associated with music notation. They will also compare rhythmic sequences to math concepts.
Lesson Counting Crows: Puppet Problem Solving
In this 3-5 lesson, students will infer the moral of a story and compare two mediums of Aesop’s fable, “The Crow and the Pitcher.” Each student will design their own puppet to act out the fable using pebbles and water in containers. Students will make predictions about Crow’s strategy then make comparisons with their findings.
- Myths, Legends, & Folktales
Lesson Creating AB Patterns
In this K-2 lesson, students will construct patterns using visual arts designs and math manipulatives. They will identify patterns existing in the natural and man-made world, art, math, and science.
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How to Make a Comic Strip
Last Updated: January 11, 2024 References
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 121 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 806,446 times. Learn more...
Creating comic strips is a rewarding task, but can sometimes be difficult to create. Finding the right storyline and making something entertaining in a few boxes is harder than it sounds. If you want to make a comic strip, like the famous Garfield comic strips, this article is for you.
Writing a Script
- Focus on the plot of the story, think about the concept, and then think about how that plot is going to work.
- If you're wanting to do more of a gag-a-day strip, you'll want to outline the types of jokes you want to make. This will help you decide what kinds of and how many characters you need to pull off those jokes.
- Of course, sticking to a particular size will matter most if you plan on publishing your comics in print (such as a newspaper). If you plan on having them online instead, don't worry about this as much.
- If you're printing and even if you're not, it's best to at least keep the same width and height for a single row. So, you can have one strip with one row, and another strip with two rows, but all three rows should be the same width and height as each other.
Fleshing Out Your Characters
- They can be greedy, too talkative, rude, selfish, or not exactly smarter than your average bear.
- Remember, your characters don't have to fall in love. Don't make a character for the sole purpose of being a love interest; make them realistic, and if a love story seems appropriate between two characters, let it develop in a realistic manner.
- Cliches aren't how people are, they are how people think they are supposed to be. You can help change this by making your characters behave like people do in the real world.
Drawing the Comic
- For good examples of speech bubbling, see online comic Dumbing of Age or print comic Pearls Before Swine.
Publishing Your Comic
- Use a website. There are many websites that are known for hosting comics. Like starting a blog, you can start an easy-to-update page where people can find your comic. This is great for beginners. A popular options are SmackJeeves and ComicFury.  X Research source
- Make a website. You can also make your own website. This will give you a little more control but can also be more work. Only do this if you feel you are capable of making a nice, looking site on your own or with a little help.
- Use your blog. It is becoming increasingly popular to publish comics using blogging sites like Tumblr. This is an incredibly easy publishing mechanism which allows you to put up ads to make money but also not cost you money to host the site.
- Create a cool title image to give your comic an identity. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Read a story and make a comic of it. The more you try, the better you become. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- It might also be nice to use water colors to fill them in as this can look really effective and doesn't need much detail: just a splash here and there! Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Don't steal others' content, this won't help you to be creative, and you can get in trouble Thanks Helpful 17 Not Helpful 1
- Don't make your cartoon offensive to anyone. Thanks Helpful 165 Not Helpful 43
- Make sure that if you are uploading, you follow the rules that the website has set (Ex. No excessive gore) Thanks Helpful 8 Not Helpful 4
Things You'll Need
- A permanent marker or pen
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-comic-book-panel-804897
- ↑ https://www.imagineforest.com/blog/how-to-create-a-comic-strip/
- ↑ https://www.blambot.com/articles_grammar.shtml
- ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/5-tips-writing-appealing-characters
- ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/mr-nice-guys-writing-flawed-characters
- ↑ https://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/06/how_to_make_a_c.html
- ↑ https://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?/forums/topic/74165-lesson-adding-dialogue-to-comics/
- ↑ https://www.creativebloq.com/comics/guide-create-publish-comic-book-71515975
- ↑ https://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/all_about_comics/all_about/76/
- ↑ https://comicfury.com/
About This Article
To make a comic strip, start by deciding how many panels you want, keeping in mind that many popular comics have 3-4 panels per 1-row strip of action. After you know how many panels you need, begin designing each individual panel, starting with sketching out the frame. Once you have frames, sketch in the characters and then draw in the background. Then, add in speech bubbles to contain your dialogue and try to maintain a good balance of pictures and text. Wait until you are happy with where everything is before you color in your panels. To learn how to publish your comic strip, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Mr. Wynne's Grade 8 English
Monday 9 september 2013, comic strip assignment, no comments:, post a comment.
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Water Cycle Narrative: Create a Comic Strip
In this activity, activity overview, template and class instructions, more storyboard that activities.
- This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides
One really fun and creative way for students to master the water cycle is to create a narrative! In this activity, students will tell the story of a water droplet going through the water cycle. It is important that students include the role of the Sun and gravity in their narrative storyboards. Students may start their narrative at any point in the water cycle.
You can modify this activity by giving students a copy of the water cycle diagram, or provide them with an edited copy of the example storyboard above that has images or text on it already.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Demonstrate your understanding of the water cycle by creating a narrative storyboard. Tell the story of a water droplet and explain what happens as the droplet moves through the water cycle, including how the water cycle is driven by energy from the Sun and the force of gravity. You can choose which part of the water cycle you want to start with.
- Click "Start Assignment".
- Create your narrative in the description boxes. Allow one cell for each step.
- Create an illustration for each using appropriate scenes, characters, items, etc.
- Search "face" for different facial expressions.
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 3-4
Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)
Type of Assignment Individual
- [SCI-4-ESS2-2] Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
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Draw a full page comic strip in your sketchbook.
Comic needs to tell a story using images and minimal text, be creative!
The drawing should be split up into sections where each section tells another step in the story. It is up to you how many boxes you need to tell your story but the comic should take up a whole page.
Not all of the boxes in your comic strip need to be of equal size.
Begin by brainstorming and doing a rough layout sketch to plan your visual story and how you are going to tell it.
Comic should be well drawn using material of your choice but should be detailed.
Consider using one of these layout designs. Sketch it out in your sketchbook. Draw your comic inside the boxes
The Comic Book Show and Tell
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- Instructional Plan
- Related Resources
Certain kinds of texts ask for both descriptive and instructional writing: comic book scripting requires the writer to give the artist detailed, descriptive instructions while also crafting exciting dialogue and otherwise rich language. In this lesson, students encounter an authentic writing experience designed to get them thinking about their choices as writers and how they can best get their mental images out of their head and on the page. After exploring how comic books are made and learning terms and techniques associated with the genre, students write their own comic book scripts. They then pass their script to another student, who draws the script as close to form as possible based on the information the writer provided. Although students interact with story elements such as plot, character, and setting as well as with the writing process in brainstorming and drafting, the major focus of this activity is on revision.
Comic Book Primer : This handouts gives an overview of the roles involved in creating a comic book, as well as the parts of a comic book.
Comic Book Scripting Techniques : This handout offers detailed directions and examples of how a comic book is scripted.
Comic Vocabulary Interactive : This online tool offers illustrated definitions of various vocabulary terms associated with the comic book genre.
From Theory to Practice
Moffet says of sensory writing that "Whatever the material, it must already appeal to them [students]" (32). Comics are very popular with students, especially the various Manga series. Moffet recognizes scripting as a "flexible learning means that can very effectively teach many aspects of writing and discourse-more than teachers yet appreciate" (46). Teacher still need help recognizing the educational value of comics as well, so this activity can help educate every member of the classroom. Most comics today are produced via the DC Comics-style or "full script" style, where a writer completes a full script and then passes the work along to the visual artists. As well, Moffet asserts that "Practical tryouts remain for all scripts the best entrance into discussion and revision" (54), so we have a formula for an authentic writing activity that really packs a punch. Pow!
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
- Comic Vocabulary Definitions and Examples: Text Containers
- Comic Vocabulary Definitions and Examples: Layout & Design
- Comic Vocabulary Definitions and Examples: Angles
- Comic Strip Planning Sheet
- Comic Book Primer
- Comic Book Scripting Techniques
- Sample Comic Script and Visual Interpretation from Cedric the Dragon Slayer
- To compile a collection of comic books for this activity, check with your school and public libraries. In addition, you may want to ask local comic shops if they have any backstock from Free Comic Book Day . They are often eager to give these issues away. Be sure to preview the selections to make sure they are classroom-appropriate. This lesson uses Ultimate Spider-Man #1 , but copies may be hard to find in bulk. The best strategies to make sure titles are suitable for the classroom are to ask a sales clerk to help you identify appropriate titles and to actually read through the comics. Picking up a few extra comics can come in handy later in the lesson when it is time to model page and panel layout. Most stores have quarter bins, boxes of comics selling for 25 cents each), which can provide inexpensive models and examples for students to explore. Graphic Novels: Resources for Teachers and Librarians is also a useful place to find information about comics suitable for your students.
- Ask students to read a comic book for homework to help activate their prior knowledge for the next day's workshop. Ultimate Spider Man #1 is a good choice.
- Decide the amount of detail to discuss in your exploration of comic book style. You may choose to include Text , Layout & Design , and Angles ; or you may limit your discussion with the class to one or two of the areas. The handouts duplicate the information available in the Comic Vocabulary interactive. Use the option which is best for your class.
- To simplify the discussion of examples from the comics that students read as a class, you may want to make overheads of some pages from the books. This process will allow all students to look at the same elements and better ensure that the class follows the discussion.
- Test the Comic Vocabulary interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.
- draft a comic book script based on a general prompt (e.g., A super hero saves the day!).
- explore basic information about comics and comic book writing.
- create the page layout and images of a peer's comic book script, based on the detail and description in the script.
- edit the first drafts of their scripts upon seeing how well the artists were able to match their visuals with the visions the writers had in their head as they initially composed the script.
- share their revised scripts with classmates and discuss how the drafts differed.
- Review ways that writers make their works interesting, descriptive, and detailed, via a running list of strategies/words on the board or overhead. Students may offer such strategies as adjectives, adverbs, time phrases, giving locations, discussing setting, mentioning the weather, characters' clothing, and characters' emotions.
- Discuss the comic book that students read for homework. Ask students to make connections to the brainstormed list of ways that authors make works interesting.
- Using the Comic Book Primer , help students identify the various people involved in comic book production and the parts of a comic book.
- After that discussion, explain that students will get the chance to become comic book writers.
- Use the Comic Vocabulary interactive to provide examples and additional information on the parts of comic books, or allow students to explore the interactive independently. If computers are not available, use the Comic Vocabulary Definitions sheets on Text , Layout & Design , and Angles .
- Identify additional examples of various types of page layout and comic book techniques, using the comic read for homework and other comics.
- Note that some pages are splash pages (one large panel taking up the whole screen) while other pages might have a series of smaller, rectangular closed panels (all the action is in the 4 borders), and others might have open panels (panels with less than 4 borders or maybe none at all), overlapping panels, or even panels in which the action seems to spill out of the borders.
- Pass out the Comic Book Scripting Techniques and Sample Script .
- Explore the parts of a script with the class by pointing to the examples on the Script that demonstrate the Scripting Techniques.
- Identify the requirements for students' scripts, using the handouts to point to necessary elements.
- Comics strips are usually self-contained "gags" or jokes and most-often run in series of three rectangular panels.
- Comic books run 20 pages or more in length, may be self-contained or part of an ongoing storyline, and vary in their panel layout from page to page based on the action of the story. For instance, a scene at the dinner table may be composed of nice, rectangular panels whereas a battle scene may use dynamic, off-centered panels to denote action and movement.
- Explain scripting techniques to students, including page layout and panel design. Refer to the Scripting Handout for useful teaching and background information.
- A superhero wakes up to bad news coming from the alarm clock and must save the day!
- A teenager discovers s/he has a super power at an embarrassing time.
- Someone gets bitten by a glowing animal/struck by an odd beam/exposed to radiation/discovers a strange object. Later the person develops strange powers.
- A team of super heroes is meeting to discuss how to stop the latest menace.
- Set a "deadline" (20 minutes) so students get the feeling of working under pressure, just as real comic writers do.
- After the deadline has passed, collect the scripts to be used in the following session.
- Explain that the scripts from the previous session will be redistributed, and writers will now become artists: drawing the script as close to form as possible based on the information the writer provided.
- Suggest that this will be a silent time in the classroom, because many times artists and writers might be miles apart from one another and communication can be tough. This aspect will help to give a more realistic feeling to this activity.
- After a drawing time of about 20 minutes, ask students to pass their drawings and the scripts back to the original writer.
- Invite writers to evaluate how clear, descriptive and detailed their scripts were based on how well the artists' visions matched the writers' initial vision.
- For homework, ask students to revise their scripts for clarity, detail, and description, to help a future artist better represent their visions. If desired, ask students to expand their scripts to five comic book pages in their revised drafts. The Comic Strip Planning Sheet can be used as a tool to help students revise.
- Use the Comic Creator to discuss the parts of comic books that are outlined on the Comic Book Primer and/or the Comic Vocabulary interactive.
- Ask the class to use their new knowledge to create a rubric or set of guidelines for creating a comic book script (in this manner, the now experienced writers and artists get to do the jobs of editors and editors-in-chief!). Allow students the chance to revise their scripts in light of the class-created rubric before assessing the work.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- For formal assessment, allow adequate time for students to revise their drafts. Ideally, ask students to extend their drafts to at least five comic book pages in revision so that they have ample opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of clear, descriptive language. Grade finished drafts on their extension from the first draft and completion. Focus in particular on the draft's use of clear, accurate, descriptive, and detailed writing that shows (illustrates) and tells (directs).
- For more open-ended and reflective assessment, ask students to journal on the differences between their two scripts or on the process they used to make their revised script more detailed. If desired, do a think-pair-share, and ask students to discuss what they learned about revision and the writing process.
- Calendar Activities
- Professional Library
Students create a short, humorous story with at least one action character, and then use online tools to make a flipbook.
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