“Alex Cox, Deputy Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), led a revealing panel on the history of comics and their impact in changing the world. He gave an image-filled walk through more than a century of comic book content that fueled calls to action and activism in the real world. In his discussion, he clearly demonstrated how comics have indeed changed the world both as a force of good and as a force of evil.
Throughout the history of activism, various forms of media have been used to push specific narratives. For over the past 100 years, comic books have been effectively used to highlight, showcase, endorse, and even crucify social objectives. In fact, comic books and strips have long been recognized as a powerful means to not only send a message to the masses, but it can also be used to sway the masses into thinking one way or another.”
From supporting frugality in the Great Depression, uniting America against the Nazis in the 40’s, endorsing environmentalism in the 70’s, and encouraging diversity today (see this article), comic books have always been a medium for activism in its various forms.
Here is an example of a compelling comic book:
YOUR PURPOSE: Before starting your educational comic book, make sure you have an understanding of your target audience and your purpose behind creating it:
- WHO are you looking to educate and inform?
- WHAT are you looking to educate and inform about?
- WHY are you looking to educate and inform?
YOUR PROCESS: When you’re ready to get started, the following steps can guide you through the process of creating your comic:
Create an Outline
- Before diving into writing a script, you really should write an outline first. Outlines are a way of organizing your thoughts so that you can write your script. List each idea as a bullet point, then revise it to find a logical flow of the story.
- Once that’s done, you’ll be able to approximate the number of panels needed to pull off each bullet point. This will give you an idea of how much you can do within an issue of your comic.
Write Your Script
- Once you have an idea for the length of time each bullet point on your outline represents, use your favorite writing implement and write down the action and dialogue, including key elements that need to be in each panel. An example script could look like this:
- Notice how the dialogue is separated into its own line? That makes it clearer to read, especially if there’s more than one character talking. Notice how some panels describe shot composition (close-ups, wide shots, down-angles, etc.)? This will help to explain what you’ve pictured in your head, even if the only person that will read this is you. Every detail matters; the more information that you put in the script, the better equipped you will be to visualize this world when you later draw it.
- If you are the writer and plan to pass the script off to an artist, you will need to be meticulous in the details. Don’t assume that the artist will figure out what you want. Make sure that the script has everything that is important to you so that the artist can include it. The example script (above) may be fine if you’re also the artist, but if not, you will probably need to explain what the hallway looks like, or the furnishings, lighting, and facial expressions, just to name a few.
Illustrate Your Comic
- There are many online options for creating comics; some freeware and some for purchase; and in some cases artistic talent is not needed! If you’re not sure where to start, try a few of the resources below and see if they work for you. Some applications are device-specific.
Resources For Creating Your Comic
- Make Beliefs Comix: You are provided with a wide variety of characters, objects, speech bubbles, and thought-cubes to create stories; then, download, print or share work through popular social media websites.
- Storyboardthat: Provides a wide variety of services and options to tinker with when creating comics but the free version is only a 14-day trial and does not allow you to upload your own images to use in comics.
- Comic Master: Comic Master has a rich library of backgrounds and characters you can use to create comic books and graphic novels. The comics can be shared for free with friends and on social media websites.
- Witty Comics: Witty Comics is a simple to use web-tool to generate comic dialogues. A set of Pre-drawn background scenes and characters are already provided and you select the ones to feature in your comic.
- Strip Designer: Select one of the many included page templates, insert photos into the cells, add word balloons and effect symbols to spice up the story.
- Comic book: ‘Realistic comic styling with a wide selection of image filters, fonts, captions, and a library of classic comic graphics and multi-panel page layouts.
- Comics Head: Easy to use self-publishing tool and can be used to create visually interesting content on the go. Get started quickly by choosing from our many templates and inbuilt art assets. Go viral with your ideas by sharing on Facebook, Twitter or email. You can also print them using AirPrint.
- Comic Life: Create photo comics with full page templates and panel layouts. Bring in photos from Photobooth or your library, then use the editing and design tools to get look you want.
- Art Studio: Comprehensive sketching, painting, and photo editing tool.
- Comic Strip It (Lite): Make comic strips and storyboards use images from your gallery or take new photos directly into your comic strip, then position, resize, and rotate each frame. Add captions, titles, speech bubbles and more. Apply image effects to each frame to create a comic-book feel, then share via all your social platforms.
Comic Creator: Free application that lets you easily create simple, fun comics on your Android device.
- Kindle Comic Creator: free tool to turn comics, graphic novels, and manga into Kindle books. Import artwork, create customer reading experience and preview how their book will look on Kindle devices. Once satisfied, authors can publish to Kindle and share their story with millions of Amazon customers worldwide.