Welcome to the teaching with comics resource page. One of our esteemed associates, Jeff Sharp, has been successfully teaching with comics in his high school art classroom since 2002. In 2004, he was asked to become part of Maryland's Comic Book Initiative, a formalized partnership with MSDE, Diamond Comics and Disney. He has spoken on the topic at the:|
* 2005 Maryland Association of Secondary Principals Spring Conference in Ocean City, MD
* 2005 International Reading Association Conference in San Antonio, TX
* 2005 Comic-Con in San Diego, CA
* 2005 Diamond Comics Retailers Convention in Baltimore, MD
At each engagement there has been a demand for resources on the topic. The official MSDE toolkits are currently in production, but help yourself to the handouts and activities listed below created by Jeff Sharp. If you are interested in having Jeff Sharp speak at your next conference or have a comment about the material, please send us an e-mail.
Rationale by Jeff Sharp
I have been creating small press, alternative comics since 1995. I have been teaching for the same number of years. In 2002, it occured to me that maybe I could bring my love of comics into the classroom to enhance student learning. Thus, I began having my students create art history comics as a way for them to express their knowledge on the subject. The results were promising, however, I learned that students needed a better understanding of the language of comics. Below are some .pdf activities that you can try in your classroom. I also recommend you obtain a copy of Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud and above all else, read some comics and graphic novels so you will better understand the medium.
Cartooning: Cartooning is symbolic drawing. Cartoons are like the words in a sentence...the basic elements of a comic. Cartoons do not have to take on a human form, but I still teach my students the basics of drawing a cartoon figure. You can spend as little as 2 days or as much as a week on the this topic. Below are some handouts that you might find useful in developing cartooning skills.
Cartooning Sketchbook: a place for students to draw their cartoons.
Cartoon Head Shape
Completing the Figure
Hands and Feet
Cartoon Head with Features (abridged)
Comics: Comics are sequential art. Comics are like sentences...the arrangement of cartoons (and often words) within a series of panels. Below are some handouts that you might find useful in developing skills in comic panel sequencing.
Jam Comic: students create a series of one page comics in groups.
Chain Comic: students create a single surreal comic book chain story.
Comic Strip Beginnings and Endings: students create the begining and ending panel of a three panel comic strip.
Content Specific Comics: Students can create comics on any subject. I've even worked with math students! Below are a few handouts for you to try.
Art History Comic: students complete research on a unit reflection sheet and create a 2-4 panel art history comic.
Elements of the Universe Comic: students complete research on a chemical element and create a 4 panel chemical element super hero comic.
Math Element Comic Strip: students complete research on a math element and create a 3 panel comic strip.
Journal Comic: students create a one page comic book journal entry.
Comic Book Story: students create an original comic book story.
Templates: Here are some comic strip and book templates you can use to create your own comic activities.
Single Panel Cartoon Template
Four Panel Comic Template
Six Panel Comic Template
Comic Strip Template
Comic Evaluation: Here is a .doc evaluation rubric you can tailor for your needs.
Comic Evaluation Rubric
Reading Comics: I have my students read comics so that they better understand voice through the style of art. Below is a handout to help your students compare comic book art.
Comic Book Comparison