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Sample Program: Creature Comics

“All creatures have voices, all creatures tell stories.”  

(Example: Comics Camp 2007: Monadnock Humane Society)

Make some furry friends, and then bring them to life in your comics!  This program explores the intersections of cartoon art, animal welfare, animal shelter operations, and self-publishing to produce exciting, informative comics about the needs of animals in our community.  We’ll tour the shelter, meet the animals, interview professional animal caregivers and experts, and design our own original mini-comics.  The program culminates with a Mini-comics Convention to raise money for the shelter animals.

Students may have taken a basic comics course or have some experience with graphical storytelling. Students should also have some experience with animals (pets or otherwise)!

Class Length:
Five or more full-day classes, or eight weekly classes.


  • Students will learn about animals and animal welfare issues in our society.
  • Students will learn about career paths in animal service industries.
  • Students will create comics about vital issues in the fields of animal welfare, health, and human-pet relationships.Activities and Procedures:
  • Animal Quick-draw: Students fill pages with quickly-drawn animal shapes. They pass the pages to other students, who then complete the animal shapes. The group discusses how students recognized shapes as certain animals, and what features they added to complete the animals. We emphasize the speed and simplicity of cartooning, and recognize that a good cartoon conveys smoothly the essential information of the picture or concept, without extra details and graphical devices.
  • Introductions: Students draw themselves as animals. They are not drawing a still-life or portrait, but rather a fast cartoon of themselves. Each portrait uses posture, items, actions, words, and style to convey five or more pieces of information about the student.
  • Word Bubbles: Using common sets of several photocopied photographs (or blackline tracings of photographs) of animals, students write word bubbles that could fit into the pictures. The word bubbles must “fit” with the character of the animals displayed in the pictures. Students take turns trying to figure out which word bubble goes with which picture. We’re looking for characterization, voicing, legibility, and imaginative twists in the connections between picture and text.
  • Comics vs. Cartoons: We discuss the distinction between Comics and Cartoons. We make comics out of our cartoons via a simple Scene-Action-Result activity.
  • Students interview animal caregivers or advocates. We discuss important animal welfare issues, and ask for resources to gather more information.
  • Each student chooses an issue, and designs two characters who can present, demonstrate, advocate for, argue against, or otherwse personify the issue. We discuss the use of dialogue in narrative development, with several examples.
  • Project Choice: Each student plans out a mini-comic about his or her chosen issue. Students “pitch” project plans to the group, getting feedback and suggestions as the project develops. (Thematic connections between issues and projects can generate great tie-ins and cross-overs, and students should consider “swapping” characters or “ad” pages in their mini-comics.)
  • Final Projects: Students present their final projects to the group at the end of the workshop. (Students might also organize a culminating event, inviting parents, friends, and community members to come and read the new comics.)
  • Works and Artists Cited:
    This list may change, depending on the interests and age range of participants.

  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • Clan Apis by Jay Hosler
  • Pinky and Stinky by James Kochalka
  • Spiral Bound by Aaron Renier
  • Krazy Kat by George Herriman
  • Pogo by Walt Kelly
  • Gon by Masashi Tanaka
  • Owly by Andy Runton
  • Work by various local artists
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