Comics Project #1: Graphic Novel Adaptation

Comics Project Outlines

Use these projects to kickstart comics creation in your classroom!

DEMO PROJECTS:

Tom Joad

Adapting Woody Guthrie’s epic musical version of Steinbeck’s epic novel! [1-sheet mini]

“Waterdown”

Adapting each chapter of a classic novel into a single 4-panel page…

COMICStitution

Okay, so technically it’s not a book, but still… This ongoing project draws out each article of the NH State Constitution in comics format.

PROJECT SEQUENCE: prep | day 1 | day 2 | day3

PREPARATION:

As you read the source text, pay close attention to visual components of the story — esp. the F.A.S.T. toolbox:

  • FACE (characters): What do the characters look like? How would you cartoon them to emphasize their personalities, qualities, & relationships?
  • ACTION (plot events): Who does what? Why? How does each action affect the overall story?
  • SETTING (environment, time period, etc.): Essential details, including mood & point of view…
  • TEXT (direct quotes from book): What key words & passages stand out in your memory after reading?

THINKING LIKE A CARTOONIST: If you had to choose a single action (or character, or scene, or quote) from the entire chapter to show in your comic, what would it be?

Allow students to pick their chapter, OR randomly assign chapters…

  • More chapters than artists?
    Which are the most important chapters to include in our adaptation? Let’s do those first. If anyone finishes early, they can circle back & do a 2nd (unclaimed) chapter.
  • More than 1 artist per chapter?
    Work together to choose the most important scenes in that chapter, & draw them as separate pages.

REMEMBER: It might help to look at some samples of comics & other artwork from the same genre / period / culture of your source text.

DAY 1: PENCIL PAGES

Remember, you DON’T need to draw the ENTIRE chapter in a single page of comics — Choose a scene or elements of the chapter that you think is most important, & focus on that!

Artists should include chapter #, title, page #s, or other identifying info in their artwork.

The P*I.E. Process:

DAY 2: EDIT & INK PAGES

Students share their pages & listen as a reader reads their work back to them. They then make any needed edits, & ink their artwork.

REMEMBER: The group’s pages will ultimately be collected together. You can…

  • Coordinate to ensure consistent character designs & styles across all pages…
  • OR take the “anthology” approach, allowing each artist to draw the characters & settings in their own way.

DAY 3: CLASS READING

Collect all artwork in order, with a simple cover image.

Be sure to credit all authors of original text & artwork, & observe all copyrights of the original publication.

Present to class as printed packet or book (or via bulletin board or online gallery).

SUGGESTED FORMATS:
Quarter-fold mini-comic or digest-size booklet.

REFLECTIONS:
Compare & contrast the graphic adaptation with the original text. How does the artwork include, invoke, & influence our reading? What made it into the graphic adaptation? What did not?

More Demo CURRICULUM COMICS | SET UP a COMICS WORKSHOP

Published by Marek

Cartoonist, musician, teacher.

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