Friday, March 7, 2008

Sequential Art Project

My digital photography students have enjoyed a sequential art project where they turned a story idea into photos, the photos into comic-book style art and then created a few pages of a comic book. Above is an example of a frame I did. The steps are pretty easy:

1. Open a photo in Photoshop and adjust it in Image>Adjustment>Levels so that you have no more than about 15% as shadow areas, paying particular attention to reducing dark shadows in key areas, like faces. (Unless you are going for the dark, mysterious, detective style of comic art).
2. Unlock the background layer.
3. Filter>Sketch>Stamp (make sure the default colors are black and white).
4. Select>Color Range. Choose the white. Then hit delete to make all the white areas transparent.
5. Make a new layer UNDER the stamp layer.
6. Paint on the bottom layer, so that the color shows under the black and transparent stamp image.
7. Add your talk bubbles on separate layers so you can move, flip or scale them. (Talk Bubbles are hiding in the library menu for freeform shapes: choose the shape tool, in the top toolbar choose the freeform shape, choose the arrow at the top for the library of more shapes you can add, find TalkBubbles). Type your dialog using a comic-book style font.

(Some students experimented with other filters to create a slightly different illustration style.)

My students started with a story board sketch. After the above steps they placed them on a new page and added black boxes behind each frame (to look like black borders) and made a title frame.

This idea has so much potential. It's a way to add story-telling into your curriculum. The original idea actually came from an English teacher at my school who had attended a workshop on incorporating sequential art making as a form of storytelling.

Comic Life is a sequential art-making software that has layout templates, style filters, comic-style fonts, i.e. short cut software perfect for this project. This software came free with iMacs for awhile (not sure about this year's iMacs), but is very inexpensive to purchase: So, if you are collaborating with an English teacher who doesn't know much about Photoshop, Comic Life may be the perfect answer.

My lesson plan for this project (using In Design for the layout, but you could use Photoshop for the layout just as easily) along with other projects in on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.


Dawn said...

Wowee! I love this idea! I'm going to steal from you too, if it's okay...?

Anne P said...


The whole purpose of this blog is for people to "steal", so go ahead. I'm also hoping others will want to share their lesson ideas here as well.

An added note is that I did start with them choosing a Big Idea and posing one or two Essential Questions, then sketching a storyboard. In the future, I'm going to have peers proofread for spelling, capitalization and punctuation errors. I spent too much time correcting those details. Right now I'm in the process of printing all of them out and binding them.