Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Draw Out the Story: Ten Secrets to Creating Your Own Comics

McLachlan, Brian (Author/Illustrator)
Owlkids 2013. 144 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781771470032 (paperback)
9781926973838 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 741.5
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

dialogue, layout, multimedia, multimodal, structures and features

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Award (Non-Fiction) Nominee – 2014

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

With ten fairly dense chapters – each one covering a basic tenet of comic book production – this book offers young comic fans a behind-the-scenes peek at how they are made.

Since comics are a storytelling method that combines words and images, concepts such as “Timing and Order,” “Emotions and Sounds” and the “magic if” stand alongside “Lines have Character,” “Tracing and Styles” and “Color is a Detail.”

Every chapter uses writing and drawing exercises to explain the principles. Doodles, sketches and full-colour comic art present both information and examples. One image shows a drawing as might be done by a fine artist, versus the same drawing by a cartoonist (“Simple is great”). Line-doodles show how the shapes of letters and numbers can combine to make pictures (“you can make all the lines you need to draw”).

For readers of almost any age, this book is an excellent resource on the art and craft of creating comics.

  •  

    Before reading, choose a full-page illustration. Note your observations about the message, details, text, use of space and colour. After reading the book, return to the same illustration. Reflect on how your observations have changed. 

  •  

    Create a Comics Journal as a personal reference tool. Include topics such as story ideas, tips, favourite onomatopoeias, style and genre notes. Add to it as you read graphic texts and as inspiration strikes you.

  •  

    Choose a story that you have already written this year and retell it in a comic strip format. Include drawings, captions, and thought and speech bubbles.

  •  

    Use the format of a comic strip to illustrate an event or concept from another subject, such as history. Apply a variety of graphic techniques from the book to help clarify your points and communicate your message.

  •  Before looking at the 10 secrets, discuss what you already know about comics and the differences between written and graphic narrative texts.
  •  With a partner or in a small group, discuss the difference between showing and telling. What possibilities or limitations does each mode of representation afford?
  •  Focus on one of the secrets to create a three-panel comic strip. Panels may be combined to create a longer comic strip. Reflect on the way the secret(s) and tips from the text impact the production process.
  •  

    Read the introduction. What is the main idea the author wants you to know about creating comics? What are some questions you would ask the author? Talk about comics you enjoy reading.

  •  

    With a partner, write true-or-false statements regarding information in one of the chapters. Ask another group to find the answers.

  •  

    Make a chart for each of the 10 secrets. Include five important pieces of information for each secret. Use illustrations and examples to help make the information clear and easy to understand.

  •  Work in groups to make a class comic book. Publish it and share it with other classes.
  •  In pairs and using teacher-selected online sites, research the history of comics in Canada or another English-speaking country. Present your findings to the class creatively.
  •  Focus on Secret #5. Create a character and draw a three-panel comic strip to emphasize their personality. Label the tips you have respected in making your character come alive.
  •  Cut the three panels of your comic strip and combine them with those of a partner, creating a new comic strip with one character as protagonist, the other as antagonist. Use tips from the book to include an action scene.
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Visual Arts