A Peek Inside the Webcomic Camp


I’ve been taking pictures and grabbing comics as we go along through our Webcomic Camp for middle school students. It seemed logical to stuff all of those images into Animoto and see what came out (and I wanted to use their new Earth theme, too).

Here is a brief overview of what we did yesterday:

  • We started the day off with an idea from the Adventures in Cartooning activity book, in which the kids were given a comic that had all of the dialogue but was missing the artwork (a reverse from the first day of camp). It was pretty interesting to see how engaged some of them became when they were just being the artists.
  • I then showed them how to use ComicLife software. We have the 30 day trial on the computers we are using, and after a quick tutorial about using MS Paint for creating images and the basics of the software, we set them loose for about an hour or so. I was surprised at how quickly they got it and understood the platform. Not that it’s all that tricky, but it is a bit complex.
  • We transitioned into using one of our Webcomic sites — Bitstrips for Schools — and they worked on creating avatars of themselves in the site. It’s neat that once they have created their comic representation of themselves (which is a huge hit as an activity), Bitstrips populates the “classroom” on our homepage with their avatars. We all got a kick out of seeing what each other made.
  • We took a break when visitor Bryant Paul Johnson arrived and Bryant, who has published his own webcomics and is working on a graphic novel,  did a fantastic job of working on the concept of comics as a combination of words, images and time. The concept of “time” is tricky because it involves the sequence of the story as it unfolds outside of the field of vision (what happened before this frame, what happened after this frame). Bryant then worked on a few comics on the whiteboard, with ideas from the students.
  • They then had some time to choose what they wanted to work on — ComicLife, Bitstrips, Make Beliefs Comix, or just regular paper and pencils. A little of everything was underway when the day came to a close.

Peace (in the camp),
Kevin

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