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Telling a Story with Pictures: Try your Hand at Comics

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I’ve been writing all along and I’ve been doing it in pictures.- Jack Kirby

Contemporary art can be fun to learn and plan with. Some, such as our friends Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse become classics. If you like superheroes, it probably has something to do with Jack “King” Kirby. As co-creator and artist of The Avengers, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and countless other characters, Kirby loved to tell stories through pictures. In a way, comicbooks are just like movies: it’s a visual way of expressing a story.

Comics and graphic novels are equally fun to read and make. Are you ready to give it a try?

Before you start drawing, decide on your character/characters and location. Since we’re talking about superheroes, think about your favorite one. Who is he or she? Why is this one your favorite? Who is a good antagonist (villain) for him/her to go against?

Once you’ve got your characters set, decide where you want to draw them. Where’s a cool place that you’d like to see them? New York City? The moon? Jupiter? A planet with funny aliens? It’s all up to your creativity. Nothing is too weird when you’re talking about comics!

Now that you have your characters and setting, take a piece of paper and divide it into 9 panels. The easiest way to do this is to draw three at the top, three in the middle, and three in the bottom. Since every story has a beginning, middle and end, each level can serve as your point of reference. So make the top three panels the beginning, and make sure to wind down and end your story on panel nine.

You’re ready to go! As you begin, know that the main trick is for something different to happen in each panel. It can be little (a facial expression, a movement of the arm) or it can be big (a different angle, a change in scene.) Create your story by adding and changing from one panel from the next.

Again, think of a movie. Did you know filmmakers are often comicbook fans? Many directors use something called storyboarding when designing their films. Simply put, storyboarding is drawing pictures of what the camera is going to pick up before they actually film a scene. Its what an illustrator draws before adding complete illustrations to a story of a book. The neat thing is that these storyboards look like comicbook panels! (Google “Star Wars Storyboards” to see a great example.) Since a lot of directors think of comicbooks when making their movies, think about movies when you make your 9-panel comic!

The main thing is just to have FUN when you’re doing comic work. Take your 9 panels, and compose something coo-cooey, wackadoey!

Have a Wackadoey Day – and post your comic on our Facebook page. We would love to see it! Be sure to check out my MAW-Mothers Art World books on Amazon. Stay tuned – My third book: A visit with Vincent Van Gogh is coming out next week. I can hardly wait!!

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