Our Comics challenge this month comes from special Guest Contributor Karen Rubins! Karen is an award-winning cartoonist and a contributor to The Phoenix, and also regularly teaches cartooning and manga workshops for children and young people.
Karen’s Comics Challenge is based around EMOTION, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Here we go…
If you’re working with a group, it can be fun to get the kids to shout out as many ideas as they can for different emotions, and then try drawing them. You can get kids to act out the emotions – take turns pulling faces for their neighbours to draw!
The next step is to have a go at drawing a comic, using some of these emotions! And if you need some ideas to get started, here’s a Bonus Extra Activity from Kaz, that you can use as a starting point:
Just pick a SUPERLATIVE and a NOUN, and away you go!
Huge thanks to Kaz for letting us share these. We’d love to see whatever drawings and comics your groups come up with – you can leave comments here, or tweet us at @ComicsClubBLOG.
You can find out more about Karen’s work at her website, at karenrubins.com, and find out more about her upcoming classes and workshops here: http://karenrubins.com/workshops/
Superheroes are fun, right? Everyone loves superheroes? Well they are the focus of this month’s COMICS CHALLENGE, where we’re all going to be having a go at making our own. That’s the challenge, nice and simple: Make Up A New Superhero. And here are some handy Templates We Prepared Earlier, to help you do just that!
Download the templates as a PDF!
Here’s a suggested ‘lesson plan’ / way to use these templates as the basis of a session with your group! This is based on the assumption that you have a whiteboard / flipchart / other flat and writeable-on surface to hand…
- Start by thinking about Famous Superheroes. How many Superheroes can the group name? Try writing all the answers up on the board as you go. Bonus Discussion Points: Who is the coolest? Who would win in a fight?
- Pick a couple of the suggested characters and see how much the group know about them. What is their secret identity? What superpowers do they have? Do they have any weaknesses? Who is their best friend? Who is their arch-nemesis?
- Using the suggested characters as a basis, make a list on the board of superhero THEMES (e.g. Bats, Spiders, Cats – lots of animal-themed ones) and SUPERPOWERS (e.g. flight, super strength, stretchiness – see how many you can think of).
- Get the group to come up with ideas for either the THEME or SUPERPOWER for a new hero. Try and get as many suggestions as possible on the board.
- Pick one and have a go at creating a new Superhero! Have a go at drawing them on the board! Don’t worry if you think you’re not good at drawing, try and give it a go anyway. If it really *is* rubbish, it just works as an encouragement to the kids to try and do better!
- Okay, now everyone have a go! Confident artists can just dive straight in and start drawing; younger or less confident artists might want to use one of the worksheets provided above; just start designing a costume straight onto the template!
- Once everyone’s had long enough to draw, take a look at everyone’s new heroes. Get each artist to tell you about their character!
- FINAL STEP: everyone draw a comic about their superhero! You can use some of our handy comics page templates, to help you get started!
We’d love to see some of the results! You can tweet pictures at us at @ComicsClubBLOG, and we’d love to feature them here on the blog!
For this month’s Comic Challenge we are looking at SOUND EFFECTS in comics, and to talk us through it we’ve got this fantastic strip, produced exclusively for Comics Club by Louie Stowell and Freya Harrison!
Here are a couple of ideas for activities you can try with your Comics Club groups, working from that fantastic how-to:
- NOISY COMICS! Everyone has to create a short comic – about whatever they like, but with the proviso that it must contain at least one sound effect in EVERY PANEL.
- WHAT’S THAT SOUND? Come up with a short list of events which would create a loud noise – something exploding, someone shooting a laser, whatever you like – and then everyone has to pick one and draw a comic about it. You can come up with a few ideas for NOISY EVENTS yourself, or get the group to brainstorm some! Here are some Neill came up with earlier:
Encourage the kids to have a go at thinking what sound each would make – everyone have a go at making the noise! And then think how you’d translate that noise into a sound effect: firstly, how would you ‘spell’ it, and also how would you DRAW it? What kind of letters and shapes would you use?
3. WHAT’S THAT SOUND? (SUPER WEIRD VARIANT) – depending on how everyone got on with the above exercise, have a go at thinking up some EVEN WEIRDER events. Go super dtrange / conceptual – really challenge the kids with ‘how on earth would I even put that on paper?’. Again, here are some Neill came up with earlier, to get you started:
We’d love to see the comics you come up with! As ever, feel free to share stuff with us at @ComicsClubBlog on twitter!
Huge thanks to Louie and Freya for providing our excellent Sound FX comic! Louie is the writer and Freya one of the main illustrators who created Usborne’s fantastic book Write and Draw Your Own Comics, which is one of our top recommendations for getting kids making comics!
Louie is a writer and editor, check out her twitter for news about her projects, at @louiestowell!
And you can find more of Freya’s amazing work at freyaillustration.co.uk!
For this month’s Comics Challenge we’re joining in with an awesome competition currently being run by The Phoenix, which gives YOU the chance to create a new character and then have that character appear in a brand new four-part series in the Phoenix, illustrated by ME!
For our challenge we’re going to take the idea of Starring in a Comic and run with it, giving you some tips and ideas for making some…
Once you’ve come up with your characters, why not enter them in the competition, and if you win, you could see them appearing in the Phoenix? Here’s all the details:
…or head over to @phoenixcomicuk on twitter to find out more!
If you’d like to have a go at this activity with your comics club group or class, you can download this activity as a PDF worksheet, here!
For our April comics challenge, we’re joining in with a fun challenge set by the inimitable Sarah McIntyre! Sarah is currently the writer-and-illustrator-in-residence at Booktrust, and they are running a fantastic competition called Pictures First where you can make a drawing and then have that drawing turned into a short story or poem by a Famous Writer Person! And you can enter this competition in the funnest way imaginable… by DRAWING UNICORNS.
You can read all about the competition over on Booktrust’s blog! Here Sarah shows step-by-step how to draw her character Dumpling the Unicorn:
And here’s Sarah explaining what she wants to see in your drawings!
I don’t just want to see ordinary pretty pictures of a unicorn with flowers and rainbows. Your picture needs to spark a story, and you have to give the writer lots of visual clues, interesting and unusual unexplained details they can use to inspire their story. And there needs to be some DRAMA, your unicorn is in some sort of peril, or caught up in a situation that makes the viewer think, HEY WAIT, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??
This can be anything from danger (hanging off a ledge on Mt Everest, battling in a fighter jet) to embarrassment (suddenly appearing in front of the class in only polka-dot knickers, farting in a lift).
The people who win the competition will be thinking of several things:
- WHERE is your unicorn? Is it deep-sea diving? At a chip shop? On Mars?
- What’s it standing on? Concrete? Lava? Moon craters? Broken crockery? Or is it falling from some great height?
- How big is your unicorn? Is it tiny enough to live in a matchbox? The size of a pony? Or enormous like Godzilla? How can you show that in the picture?
- Mood? Different colours can influence the mood of your picture. A yellow background might make it look cheerful and sunny – or possibly toxic. A spotch of red or hot pink can make something stand out so we notice it.
- Is your unicorn wearing anything? It might be wearing anything from basic bows or a horse blanket to a full Marie Antoinette costume or a sparkly disco suit. It’s mane and tail might be styled. Or not.
- Who else? Are there other characters in the picture? A group of elves in a forest will suggest a very different setting to, say, a group of school children on a football pitch, workers on a construction site, or a Jurassic lake full of dinosaurs.
- Expression? Does your unicorn look angry? Embarrassed? Worried? Over-caffeinated? Strangely chilled out, considering the dire circumstances?
Head on over to Booktrust to find out how to enter this fantastic competition! And if you’re on twitter, be sure to tweet pictures of your drawings to @Booktrust with the hashtag #DumplingTheUnicorn!
A great way to get kids started writing and drawing their own comics is to make it into a fun game, and one great way to do that is with Comics Jams!
What is a Comics Jam, I hear you ask? Let’s find out!
This activity can be huge amounts of fun, and serves as a great Creative Icebreaker to get groups writing and drawing. And can lead to all kinds of unexpected and hilarious results. Here is a personal favourite, from one of Neill’s Comics Club groups in Oxford: the strange and slightly heartbreaking tale of Mr Chip, and his adventures in the world of dating…
The wonderful writer and illustrator Sarah McIntyre has lots more excellent advice about making comics jams – check out her blog post on the subject!
If you’d like to use this activity in your own classes or groups, you can get the whole thing as an activity sheet by just clicking on the following images:
Or you can download as a PDF, here!
We’d love to see what you come up with – please send your own pictures and comics to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet them at us at @ComicsClubBLOG – we’ll be sharing some of the best!
For this month’s comics challenge we are very lucky to have an activity designed by the amazing, talented and wholly indescribable Jamie Smart! Jamie is the prolific cartoonist, creator of Bunny VS Monkey and Looshkin in The Phoenix, as well as Find Chaffy, Where’s the Doctor, and MANY MANY MORE, not to mention being the creator and editor of the incredible all-ages anthology comic Moose Kid Comics. One of Jamie’s signature talents is his knack for creating unique, distinctive and hilarious characters, so for this month’s Comics Challenge he’s showing us how to do just that!
If you’re doing this activity with a group, try brainstorming a load of suggestions at step 1 and writing them all up on the board / flipchart / wall / whatever, and then picking one to draw – that way you’ve got loads more ideas for when everyone else has a go!
Here’s the whole thing as an activity sheet, ready to be drawn on:
Or: download as a PDF!
Have a go yourselves, and do show us what you come up with! We’d love to see your characters – get in touch through our contact page or tweet them at us at @ComicsclubBLOG!
Thanks so much to Jamie for letting us use this! If yo’re putting together a collection of Great Comics For Kids, Jamie’s work is an excellent place to start. You can buy his books such as Bunny VS Monkey (3 volumes so far, and beloved favourites all) in all good bookshops or direct from the Phoenix.
You can also read all 3 issues to date (plus one Christmas special!) of Jamie’s incredible Moose Kid Comics project online. For free!
And be sure to check out Jamie’s website for more details on ALL HIS OTHER STUFF! There is a lot of stuff! The guy is VERY PRODUCTIVE!