Publish your own Comic Books

Feb 13, 2006 by

A few months back I talked about how useful the Comic Creator was on the Read, Write, Think website. While it allows for quick and easy publication of creative cartoons using pre-drawn characters and backgrounds, it doesn’t include a drawing tool to allow the user to make their own unique creations, nor does it have the ability to save your work; you must finish and print out your work all in one sitting. Due to these limitations I’ve been searching for something equally engaging for creative writing assignments, but most searches produce commercial software that can sometimes be quite pricey.

My makeshift solution is to use MS Publisher to create comics that can be saved, fully manipulated, and offer up a greater variety of tools for creative purposes (drawing tools and adding your own clipart). I usually have my students use Publisher to create posters to illustrate analogies from our spelling work, or make quick cartoons pointing out the differences between synonyms and antonyms. By using a pre-made comic template the students can practice “storyboarding” their comics or cartoons, practice integrating images they’ve drawn in MS Paint or scanned in, and get an idea of how to put together their own from scratch in the future. Most of the tools needed come preloaded with Publisher including speech balloons that can be adjusted to any size, irregularly shaped polygons to get some really neat layouts and spaces between the individual cells, and word art to create the visual sound effects reminiscent of Batman’s “Biff!” and “Thud!” from the old campy television series.

I’m planning to use the Publisher Comic idea for my students to create comics using the multiple meanings of our spelling words (our focus this week) in a short story format (no more than one or two comic pages), but it could be used for a number of projects. Students could create comics from the ancient world, explaining how heroes of today might have had difficulty adapting to life in ancient Egypt or Rome. Or the students themselves could enter the comics, creating a visual “how to” guide for science labs or solving math problems. Personally, I think it would be fun to write a comic about becoming a Keeper of Memories from The Giver (one of the best contemporary children’s novels), as drawing memories taken from the community would be perfect for a comic book or cartoon format.

I created the Comic Template in MS Publisher 2003, but I also saved it as older versions in case you’re running an older copy of MS Publisher. The template might not come out just right in older versions, but you can still get a good idea of what I did. The speech balloons at the bottom are meant for copying and pasting so you don’t have to go back to the shape tool all the time.

Comic Template – Publisher 2003

Comic Template – Publisher 2000

Comic Template – Publisher 98

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  1. jetech3

    Have you tried Comic Life? Check out the free 30 day download. This is my favorite comic creator. And the price is reasonable too!

  2. Ben

    I’ve looked at Comic Life before, and it’s just about the most fabulous comic creation tool I’ve ever seen. I love the ability of importing your own digital pictures and the professional looking layouts. The only problem is I wish they’d make a version for windows. It’s currently only available for Macs, so I can’t use it at school with all of our PCs and Windows laptops. 🙁

  3. I love Comic Life. Its a great tool. If PC is all you have then Comic book Creator 1.08 is what you want. I just saw a demonstration today. I think that it has an edge over Comic life. Check out their wes site

  4. Ben

    Ah, wonderful! From the screenshots on the site, it looks like Comic Book Creator is a reasonable facsimile of Comic Life, only for the PC. Those of us in a Windows environment thank you. I’ll toss this link up on the fresh links so others can find it.

  5. Aa'liyah

    hello i participate din thr comic con convention and it encouraged me to wanna imagine this and draw whatever comes 2 mind and personally i am a good drawer

  6. cc deville

    hove u ever thought of doing a comic in ASL ?

  7. Ben

    ASL? I’m not sure I’m familiar with that acronym in this context. Of course, the moment you say what it is I’m sure I’ll slap myself for forgetting, but please elaborate.

  8. Mark

    Try out the Comic Book Creator for the PC.

  9. Chris

    Hey, as an educator, you may want to seek out open source software as a solution so that students learn to live with more that publisher (which costs money).

    Ever try Scribus?

    It is a replacement for publisher. Maybe not quite as slick, but only a die hard windows user would miss those things.

  10. May I have your permission to use the Publisher templates with my class as part of a science project they are doing? I would like to link them from my assignment page and will give you proper credit.




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