Creating graphic novels: Revision

Comics are really a way of framing events, putting them in a sequence and choosing what the characters say. And this is really what media is all about, and what a good deal of art is about as well. It's a way of either telling your story that no-one would hear otherwise, or re-telling an event from your own perspective. - Comic Life in Education

Creating graphic novels


By hand

If you would like to create your own graphic novel with original drawings and a "blank slate" for a story, this is a clear step-by-step guide.

If you follow this and scan each of the pages, make each image a high quality pdf. You can combine these pdfs into one that can also be distributed electronically.

Comic Life

This iPad application allows you to create a comic book using images from your iPad camera or photo library (which can include your own drawn or graphic illustrations).

Comic Life is available on Self-Service, and here is a step-by-step guide to its interface and usage.

You can either begin with a blank and customizable template or go with a pre-existing template that has a clear style. Both blank or stylized templates give you many options for layouts per page where you can drop in images to be cropped or zoomed in/out. The blank, customizable template allows you to play with color scheme, and you may be surprised by the potential page layouts that are available through the application (see "conceptual").

Remember that you can either use photography you take with your iPad, photography living on your iPad, graphics you've created with different apps, graphics you've created by screenshotting on your iPad, graphics you imported from Illustrator, and more.

Tips for Comic Life

  • Keep captions aligned within panels
  • Adjust/tweak speech balloons so there is even space between the words and the edge
  • Touch up dark/low contrast images by selecting the image and changing the sliders in its Details tab (required 10.4 on Mac)
  • Make sure balloon tails come out of mouths, but not covering.
  • Thought balloons originate from the temples, not the mouth
  • Trial different panel and caption styles

Sourcing images

Courtey of Comic Life:

Creative Commons is a wonderful image resource for both students and teachers.

Morguefile is a terrific website with free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images.

These two sites from Wikipedia are very valuable: a list of sites with Public Domain images and Wikimedia Commons, a fantastic source of images that are public domain (great for historical figures pre 1920s).

plasq distributed clipart also provides a clipart package of cartoon characters which are handy for storytelling comics.

Archive.org is also a great resource for public domain movies from which frames can be dropped into Comic Life.