F.A.S.T. SEAL Cartooning Activity

Here’s a fun Social-Emotional Artistic Learning cartooning warmup / team-building activity, perfect for both in-person and online events…

This activity uses the F.A.S.T. Storytelling Toolbox:

TIME: 20-40 minutes

MATERIALS: Paper + Pencil.
(More COMICS WORKSHOP tools >>)


This work is PATRON-POWERED!

Make a Group List of Emotions (2-3 min)

Make a quick list of emotions group members have experienced recently, either in a specific setting (classroom, school, work, &c.) or in general.

Keep this list visible on display paper / white board / chat throughout the activity. You may want to add to it as you go.

Prep Your Doodle Paper! (2-3 min)

Fold a piece of scrap paper into quarters. We’ll use each section to cartoon a different emotion.

Emotion #1 + FACE (3 min)

Pick one emotion from the group list. Don’t write it down or tell anyone; Just think quietly of that emotion.

In any section of your paper, try cartooning a FACE that will communicate that emotion to a reader. (If your cartoon face seems to develop a different emotion as you work, that’s okay!)

(Q) Do you find yourself making that face as you cartoon it?

Emotion #2 + ACTION (3 min)

Pick another emotion from the group list.

  • What do you DO when you feel that emotion?
  • What ACTIONS are related to that emotion for you?
  • How does your body language change when you feel that emotion?

In a 2nd section, cartoon an ACTION that will communicate that emotion to a reader. (Again, it’s okay if you end up with a picture of a different emotion from the one you started with.)

Emotion #3 + SETTING (3 min)

Pick another emotion from the group list.

  • WHERE and WHEN do you ever feel that emotion?
  • What details in your environment might suggest that emotion to you?

In a 3rd section, cartoon a SETTING that might communicate that emotion to a reader. (Again, the emotion may transform as you go…)

Emotion #4 + TEXT (3 min)

Pick another emotion from the group list.

  • What do you THINK or SAY when you feel that emotion?
  • What WORDS or SOUNDS might suggest that emotion for you?

In a 4th section, write some TEXT that will communicate that emotion to a reader. Feel free to “draw” this text, to make it LOOK more like you want it to SOUND or FEEL to the reader.

F.A.S.T. Add-Ons (5-10 min)

Review & revise your 4 emotion cartoons, adding in any additional F.A.S.T. elements that seem appropriate.

Notice how combining F.A.S.T. elements can start to suggest a story… Or even completely change the emotional focus of the image!

That FACE might have something to say (TEXT!)…

That ACTION might take place in a SETTING…

Is something missing from that SETTING…?

How about some FACES or ACTIONS to go with that TEXT?

“Listening Share” to Group! (5-10 min)

Volunteers take turns sharing their work with the group:

  • Hold up your 4 emotion images & give the group a few seconds to look (& look again)…
  • Call on 2-3 TEST READERS & ask each to describe one of your 4 images.

Suggested questions to ask your test readers:

  • What catches your eye here?
  • What do you see?
  • What emotion does it suggest / represent / remind you of?
  • What detail(s) suggest(s) that emotion to you?
  • What stories are these images telling you?
  • &c.

Listen closely to how each reader describes & responds to your images — You’ll learn a lot!


P*I.E. your artwork. If time is limited, choose your favorite 1-2 images to ink before sharing with the group.

Draw that story: Develop one of your images into a 3-4 panel story… You can draw it using one of these COMICS PAGE LAYOUTS. (Sometimes a couple of your images will combine to kick off a longer story!)

Learn from your neighbors: What catches your eye in the pages of your fellow artists? Try “borrowing” a technique or emotional idea & working it into your own cartooning style…

Published by Marek

Cartoonist, musician, teacher.

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