Intro to Comics

Intro to Comics

In this workshop, students will receive a hands-on, crash course in comics creation, where they will learn basic techniques and tips, and get a start on writing their own short comics. Topics addressed include the character design, panel layout and story writing.

Workshop Overview: In this Intro to Comics Workshop, students will receive a hands-on, crash course in comics creation, where they will learn basic techniques and tips, and get a start on writing their own short comics.

Day 1:
● I will introduce myself and my work, including my graphic novel, Kettle Harbour (10 min)
● A brief presentation of the world of comics! We will discuss their rich history, with a focus on Canada, the U.S.A and Japan, and the various formats they can take today – from printed comics and graphic novels to webcomics. (30 minutes)
● Students will complete two exercises in character design and panel layout. We will think about how to create consistently recognizable characters exhibiting a full range of emotions. Then, by studying meaningful examples, they will think about how to apply this character to a comic page in visually dynamic ways. (approx 30 minutes per exercise)
● Introduce Day 2’s activity (writing a pencil draft,) and encourage students to think start thinking about ideas (10 minutes)

Day 2:
● Brief overview on workplace health & safety for comic book writing (It’s serious!) (5-10 minutes)
● Short presentation on the steps and materials needed for hand-drawn comic creation: story writing, pencils, inking, scanning, colouring, digital touch ups, and lettering. (30 minutes)
● Students will begin on a pencil draft for a minimum four-page comic book. I will provide writing prompts, if necessary. Students will start by roughly blocking in ideas on paper booklets (8.5 x 11 paper folded in half), to give them a sense of how pages fit into spreads, and when ready, redraw a finer draft on sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper (one page per sheet of paper). (1 hr, 15 min)

Follow up:
If arranged with the Teacher, completed pencil drafts can later be submitted to me for written feedback.

Intended Audience: This workshop is designed for use in High School Art classrooms and is adaptable for use in English and History classrooms. In these settings, students may explore adapting a narrative or document for comic books, such as a primary source or short story.
Classroom Prep: Exercise handouts will be sent to the Teachers in advance for distribution to students.

Materials:
Day 1: Printed out exercise handouts, Pencils (HB-2B - mechanical pencils are better); Pencil Sharpeners (if using regular pencils) & Erasers, regular rulers.
Day 2: As above, at least 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 bond white paper per student, plus at least 4 sheets of 8.5 x 11 or 9x 12 white drawing paper/mixed media paper or bristol paper of a slightly higher quality/thickness. Regular paper works in a pinch.

Also nice to have: Triangle rulers with 90 degree angle are great to have on hand. Any rulers and tools from a standard geometry kit. Stencils (of circles, letters, etc) are also neat.

Artist 
Grade Level(s) 
10 – 12
Teaching Method 
Video conference
Max Number of Students 
25
Timeframe 
Two 2-hour sessions. 4 hours total.