SchoolArts Magazine

December 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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RESPOND Begin by asking students, "What kinds of stories are usually told in comic books and graphic novels?" Most responses will probably focus on superheroes, science fiction, or adventures. Next, share the pages from James Kochalka's Johnny Boo Does Something and Cara Bean's Munch. Discuss each page with the class, asking them to analyze the artist's drawing style and how the narrative is broken up into sequential panels. Ask "What kind of story would you like to tell?" CREATE Ask students to create a one- or two-page comic that tells a story. Remind them that any kind of story can be used to create their comic. You might suggest that they start by choosing from one of the following categories: • autobiographical (a story about something that happened to you) • biographical (a true story that happened to someone else) • fictional or semi-fictional (combining elements of fiction and non-fiction) Next, have students create simple thumbnail illustra- tions of at least two different story ideas and share them with a small group with the intention of choosing one story to develop further. After choosing a story and dis - cussing it briefly with you, students should design the characters, setting, and other visual elements for their comic. Once this is completed, they should design the layout of their comic. Layout pages can be full- or half- sized pages and are used to determine the sequence and flow of their story. This will take some students longer than others. Encourage them to be creative with their lay - out while ensuring that the reader will be able to follow the story easily. When students have completed a successful layout, have them begin drawing their final pages in pencil. Remind them to leave room in each panel to add word bubbles, unless they do not plan to include dialogue. When the pencil drawings are complete, hold a small- group critique to make sure that the stories make sense to the reader and to identify any errors. After any changes are made, the pages should be inked with permanent markers of various thickness. For more information on the process of creating com- ics, refer to the book Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. RESOURCES James Kochalka: kochalka.tumblr.com Cara Bean: carabeancomics.com McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York, NY: William Morrow Paperbacks, 1994. L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G PRESENT Compile the class's finished comics into a short anthology. Print copies for each student and perhaps enough to sell as a fundraiser for your art program. If you can coordinate with other teachers in your district, plan a comic conven- tion that features your students' work and invite local car- toonists to speak. ADAPTATIONS For younger students, limit the number of pages and pan- els. You may also wish to restrict the types of stories (all fiction or all true stories, etc.). Allow highly motivated students to go beyond the sug- gested two-page length. For older students, you may wish to include color or allow them to complete their work on a computer. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. Cara Bean, illustrations from Munch. Courtesy Cara Bean. carabeancomics.com 26 DECEMBER 2015 SchoolArts

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