My kids have been interested in comic books recently. Comic strips are a great way to encourage kids to read. Plus, if you teach your kids how to make a comic strip, they will practice their writing and drawing skills. If you want an easy (an inexpensive!) option, you can get this awesome Blank Comic Book, which has 150 blank comic pages to draw your own! It has kept my kids busy for hours. Before we begin making comic strips, don’t forget to join our Facebook Group and follow us on Pinterest, so you won’t miss out on any of our educational fun for kids!
What is a Comic Strip?
A comic strip is a number of graphic images in boxes that usually tell a funny or entertaining story, though sometimes the content may be serious. You can find comic strips in newspapers or in comic books. The pictures generally contain text inside of balloons or thought bubbles.
One of the best-selling comic books of all time is Superman, but there are tons of comics out there including the following list.
- Dog Man
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Archie (SUCH an awesome classic comic!)
- Teen Titans
- LEGO Superheroes Comic Reader
- DC Super Hero Girls
- Captain Underpants
How to Create a Comic Strip
For our very first comic strip, let’s start with a simple, three-frame comic. But be warned, your children will likely become addicted and soon be creating entire comic books full of creativity!
1. Write your comic strip ideas
Making a comic strip is very similar to writing a story. Since we are making a three-frame comic, you just need to write down three parts – a beginning, a middle and an end. You should also brainstorm things such as your setting and who the characters will be in your comic.
2. Draw your three-frame comic template
You have two options for this step! Either, use a piece of white paper and draw three boxes (or frames). You may want to use a ruler to be sure that your rectangles are the same size (or maybe that is my OCD speaking!) If you prefer to print out a comic strip template, here is a blank three frame comic page. If you want larger rectangles, you may use this free comic template instead.
3. Sketch your characters
Next, you will draw your comic’s characters. You can make these illustrations as complex or as simple as you would like. Even stick figures can be a lot of fun!
4. Create comic speech bubbles
Draw speech bubbles coming out of the mouths of any character who is speaking in a frame. Other options include thought bubbles (with small dots drifting up) or starbursts for sound effects (like “POW,” “ZAP,” or “BOOM”).
5. Add in text and sound effects
Start filling in your speech and thought bubbles with relevant text to convey your story. Add sound effects to your starbursts as well, using bold text or bubble letters.
6. Add extra details to your comic
Now that you have the basic layout and story line on your paper, go back through and add extra details like movement lines or shadowing. You may also want to enhance your background to show the setting.
7. Go over your cartoon with pen
Since everything should be complete by this point, go back over your cartoon with a dark pen or a fine-point marker.
8. Color your comic strip
The final step is to color in your comic strip to really bring everything to life.
How to Make a Comic Book
A comic book is just many pages of comic strips put together! Now that you have made your first three-frame comic strip, you can make an entire comic book with ease.
If you want a head start, you can use one of these free comic e-books that have blank speech bubbles for your kids to fill in. There are plenty of choices to pick from including the following.
- “Write What You Know!”
- “Your Life in Comics”
- “Fraidy Cats’ Book of Courage”
- “A Sweet, Kind Book”
- “Plant Your Dream Seeds”
- “Coronavirus Comic Diary” – Your kids can use this to document their lives during the pandemic.
Free Printable Comic Book Pages
Are your kids ready to make their own comic book? I love these free, printable comic book pages. There are a few different layouts to pick from, and some include speech, thought and action bubbles. You can print out as many of each page as needed for the layout of your children’s customized comic book.
How to Draw Comic Strip Characters
The best way to learn how to draw comic strip characters is to just keep practicing! However, it is helpful to watch a couple of videos where expert cartoonists teach you how to draw comic characters. Watch cartoonist Dave McDonald as he teaches a lesson on how to turn simple shapes into awesome characters.
Below is another fun video on how kids can learn to draw cartoon faces, which is perfect for comic characters.
Comic Strip Lesson Plans
Are you read to delve even further into the world of comic strips? Here is a fantastic list of comic strip lesson plans and activities!
Poetry in Comics
You can read these poems that have been turned into comics, and then create your own comic poetry!
Character Development in a Comic Strip
If you are lacking in inspiration for your characters, answer these twenty questions to help you develop your comic strip characters.
Current Events Cartoons
This lesson plan does a fantastic job of using comic strips to teach current events, and even explains how doing so enhances engagement and learning!
Teaching Math with Comics
Your kids can learn about fractions and integers in this comic math lesson plan.
Alien, Cat & Spaceship Comic Template
Your children can make comic strips out of these free, printable templates. There are comic pages for aliens, cats and spaceships!
History of Famous Comic Strips
Below is a fabulous list of study guides to learn about these historical and famous comics.
- Maus by Art Spiegleman Reader’s Guide
- Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz Study Guide
- Buddy in Seattle by Peter Bagge Study Guide
- Above and Below by James Sturm Study Guide
- How to Read Nancy Lesson
Mix & Match Comic Strip Template
Here is another free printable resource where you can mix and match frames to create your own comic strip template.
Comics in American Culture
How have comics shaped American culture? Learn and explore that topic with this free course handout.
Comics for Children with Autism
There is even a lesson plan here for how using comics can help children with Autism to improve their life skills.
Are You Ready to Create a Comic Strip?
Absolutely! And then, after you have created your comic strip… share it on Facebook! Make sure to include a link to this website or to our Facebook Group and Facebook Page, so that we can see it too! I can’t wait to see the creative stories that everyone makes!