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Magic in the Mundane

A comic is a string of sequential panels that are both literary and visual in their storytelling. Striking the balance between what is said with words and shown with pictures is essential to creating an immersive reading experience.

Write a short script for a one-page comic. A practical starting point is to think about a small event that happened to you, for example:

When was the last time you cried?

What was the last object you broke?

What was the last gift you gave?

What was the last cooking disaster you had?

Record the specifics of this event: where you were, what you felt, who else was involved, what the repercussions were. The text can be as meandering or blunt as you like.

Now, it’s time to switch roles – you’re no longer a writer. Take that cap off, and put another one on.

Take a sheet of paper and divide it up into a series of panels: 6, 9 or 12. Allocate lines of your script to each of the panels. The text may appear as captions under, or over the image in each panel, or be spoken as a bubble of dialogue. Then start to sketch some accompanying visuals. It’s important to be ruthless with your author self; remove any extraneous text that describes the visuals, carve up sentences; weed out unnecessary words and switch lines around.

You may be quite literal and draw yourself – but why not recast yourself as someone, or something else? Again, remember to indulge your visual interests in your artwork; fill your comic with the things you love drawing. Even if these seem at odds with the text itself, this can create compelling tension between the two.

Consider how each panel is composed individually, while being mindful of the panels around it.

Use repetition wisely, for example, if you have a character speaking dialogue for the majority of your comic, you may slip in to having a lot of similar panel compositions. Vary the framing, with wides and close ups, or even cut away from your character on an important line of text, to make it more impactful to your reader.

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Strongest Foot Forward

Making a comic involves a host of skills. Remember that when we make comics, we are combining words and images to be read simultaneously. So broadly speaking we need to do at least two things; to write and to draw.

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Reconsider the mundane

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing,…

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Write the Family

I’m sure most writers are familiar with the writing adage ‘write what you know’, and writing about your…

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How changing one thing can change the world

Change one thing in the technology or science of the present day. It could be the way we…

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The Object Exercise

Think of an object or thing that you can’t live without and write it down, not a mobile phone…

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Drawing your childhood memories

We all have child’s eye views – many in fact. Some might say we’re already a step ahead…

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Creating ‘Child Eye’s View’ when writing for young people

Young people don’t just come under the heading of one audience. There are so many different ages and…

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An art collaboration

You don’t have to know an artist to collaborate with them. They don’t even need to be alive….

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Using an object to tell a story

The aim of this exercise is to use the power of objects or images to help to illustrate…

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Rooting our writing

Consider the things we amass during the course of our lives. Not the carefully chosen items but the…

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Valuing the ordinary in our poetry

My tip is to never underestimate the importance of the everyday. Root your poems in the reality of…

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