Create a comic strip
What is a comic strip?

Cartooning as a means of communication dates back to cave drawings in Paleolithic times. Comics are visual texts that make use of dialogue, captions and visual images to communicate a story or a particular message to the reader. The messages found in comics can focus on important or humorous social issues or dilemmas faced by the characters. Comic strips are made up of a series of panels. They use integrated illustrations and writing to convey ideas. Overall, the comic genre includes single-panel comics, short comic strips, comic books and graphic novels.

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Comic strips are often funny, but longer comics such as comic books can also draw on narrative genres such as adventure, sci-fi, mystery or fantasy. You would create a comic strip if you wanted to have your visuals be just as important to the message as the words.

Step 1

Start with a character and a setting

Who are the characters in your comic strip? Is there a main character and a sidekick or sidekicks?

  • Sketch out different characters. You are not limited to people! Animals, aliens, talking objects are all fair game for a comic strip
  • Give your characters personalities and quirks: maybe the main character is pessimistic, or always talks about Star Wars.
  • In what setting are these characters going to be? Choose an area or setting in which you are an expert or that you know a lot about.

Step 2

Brainstorm ideas & choose one

A good comic strip starts with a simple idea. In your chosen area or setting, brainstorm situations that are funny or that illustrate something interesting about that area or setting.
For example, if you are into video games, brainstorm gaming situations that are funny or that illustrate something interesting about gamers and gaming.

Ask yourself:

  • What are some common situations in this area?
  • What is something funny that you and your friends still laugh about?
  • What is something profoundly true in this field, that is somewhat ironic or funny?

Finally, choose one situation to turn into your first comic strip: What is the situation in which your characters will appear? What is your joke or funny moment that you want to capture?

Sample comics to inspire you:

Step 3

Draw or write out your idea - in pencil!

You can begin with a single panel comic. Or, you can choose 3 or more panels to tell your story.

Planning tools to help you

Step 4

Review your comic strip

Review your comic draft, or have someone else review it (peer-review). Make sure they use a review tool to track their comments and suggestions.

When you review your own work, look for the following:

  • Is the comic telling a story, a joke or communicating a message?
  • Are the characters and the setting appropriate to the message, story or joke?
  • Do the expressions on the characters' faces and their body language add meaning to the comic?
  • Does the comic make use of devices such as captions, speech bubbles & sound effects to tell the story?
  • Does the illustration style and use of colour add meaning to the comic?

Review tools to help you