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Storytelling with Comics

Here are comic strips created by second graders.

Here are comic strips created by second graders. They did very well creating  interesting characters.

Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman shares her thoughts on teaching comics.

Want Cathy to engage your students in storytelling and visual thinking through comics? Contact Suzanne at Youth in Arts–415-457-4878 ext. 120 or suzanne@youthinarts.org

Drawing cartoons and comics is a great way to tell a story. I begin by teaching the basics – how to move action from left to right, how to use speech bubbles, and when to draw a closeup image or one that is far away. I encourage kids to think like film directors. What image works best to engage the viewer? Which events need to be shown with pictures and which ones can be imagined by the reader? What makes a drawing funny, mysterious or dramatic? Why are flawed characters more interesting than “perfect” ones?

Students start with two characters. Together we discuss plot development and storyboard layout. Longer workshops allow time for students to develop mini-comics with cover art.

Two pages of a wonderful mini-comic created by a coffee-loving student!

Two pages of a wonderful comic book created by a coffee-loving student!

Here's a mini-comic I wrote and illustrated.

Here’s a mini-comic I wrote and illustrated.