How to Make Comics with Kids

This spring, I hosted a pop-up comics lab where young comics write, design, and illustrate their own comic-strip. Here are some pics if you’d like to see…

We had such a fun morning together! I was amazed to watch these young comics in action: brainstorming plot ideas, developing characters, and planning out their story boards. Like all artists, children experience challenges, resistance and obstacles along the way. (The tricky spots are just part of the process.) Here are some of the strategies I suggest for teachers and parents:

  • Encourage your young comic to start small by choosing a 3-frame strip.

  • If they’re feeling stuck, you can have them touch the frames to think through how their characters would talk to each other. 

  • For the kids who think they can’t draw or are bad at it, ask them to tell you what happens in their story and/or model a simplified drawing for them, step-by-step.

  • Encourage your young comic to keep their main character very simple. Start with one that they can draw over and over.

  • Have them add something to their characters that makes them stand apart, so they can tell which character is which.

  • Copying if OK if that’s what gets them going. Encourage your young comic to make a twist or a change to what they’re copying.

  • Have them work through the brainstorming cheat sheet (see below). Help them brainstorm specific ideas.

  • Ask your young comic to think about the ending before they get there. Do they want their hero to reach their goals? Get what they want?  

  • Get out the scissors and the glue. Try collage if drawing is getting your young comic down.

  • Include pre-readers and emerging writers! For children who are learning how to draw, ask them to tell you what’s going on or who’s saying what. Then, write this down in the frames for them.

  • Flip through comics to get some ideas. Take a break and read some comics!

Your Turn

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Do you have a young comic at home who would like make a comic book? Sign-up for the Comics Lab newsletter for info on upcoming events, tips on making comics with kids, and a free printable zine, the Comics Lab Starter Kit: