Syllabus: 5-day intensive DWWP class

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March 15, 2010

This is a syllabus for a five-day intensive workshop that could meet for six hours a day over the course of a week or, alternately, over the course of five weeks. It would be too much to try and get through a multiple-page story in that time, so the focus here is on learning the language of comics, the value of thumbnails for editing and revising, and the basic supplies and techniques needed to complete a page of comics, from sketches to inks.

For notes and tips on teaching specific lessons, see the see the teachers’ guides to individual chapters.

Click here for an editable syllabus format of this lesson plan.

Day 1: Building blocks

[chapters covered: 1-3]
Lecture/discussion: 1.1 Know ’em when you see ’em
Review: 1.2 Comics terminology
Activity: Drawing time (Ch. 1)
Critique: Drawing time (Ch. 1)
Reading/discussion: 3.1 A comic a day
Lecture/discussion: 3.2 Thumbnails
Activity: Directed jam comic (Ch. 1)


Strip it down (Ch. 3)
Read 4.1, 6.1, 7.1, 11.2
Optional: Read Chapters 9 & 10
Optional: “Extra extra” credit revised jam comic (“editing” or “phoenix” assignment) (Ch. 1)

Day 2: Thumbnails and layout for a one page comic

[chapters covered: 6, 7, 11]
Critique: Strip it down (Ch. 3)
Optional critique: “Extra extra” credit revised jam comic (“editing” or “phoenix” assignment) (Ch. 1)
Lecture/discussion: 6.1 Elbow room
Lecture/demo: 6.2 Laying out pages, tiers, and panels
Activity: Lay out your live area (Ch. 6)
Activity: “A month of Sundays” thumbnails (since this is the main project of the class you may want to disregard the “Chip and the Cookie Jar” script and let students write their own stories) (Ch. 6)
Critique: “A month of Sundays” thumbnails
Lecture/demo: 7.1 Hand lettering and 11.2 Titles
Activity: Make lettering guidelines and practice lettering (Ch. 7)
Optional activity: begin “A comic with no pictures” (Ch. 7)


Revise “A month of Sundays” thumbnails


Lay out panels and rough pencils for “A month of Sundays”
Read 5.1, 11.1
Optional homework: Finish “A comic with no pictures”

Day 3: Penciling

[chapters covered: 5]
Critique: Revised “A month of Sundays” thumbnails
Lecture/demo: 5.1 Penciling comics
Activity: Pencil one panel three different ways (Ch. 5)
Activity: Work on “A month of Sundays” penciling


“A month of Sundays” penciling and lettering
Read 12.1, 13.1-3

Day 4: Inking

[chapters covered: 8, 13]
Critique: “A month of Sundays” penciling and lettering
Lecture/demo: 8.1, 13.1-3 Inking a comics page
Activity: Practice using nibs and brushes (using ideas from 8.1 and 13.1, 13.2, and 13.3)
Optional activity: Ink your own drawings with a nib (Ch. 8), Ink a panel in brush (Ch. 11), or…
Extra credit: Line for Line I or II (Ch. 8 or Ch. 13)
Activity: Begin “A month of Sundays” inking


Finish “A month of Sundays” inking
Read 8.1, 14.1
Optional: Scan or photocopy inked page
Optional homework for anyone who is ahead of schedule: Pencil and ink “Strip it down” thumbs

Day 5: Final critique, next steps

[chapters covered: 8, 14, 15, Appendix E]
Critique: Finished “A month of Sundays” page and reduced photocopy
Lecture/demo: 8.2 Making Corrections
Activity: make corrections to “A month of Sundays” inks
Optional activity: scan or photocopy “A month of Sundays” pages
Lecture/demo: Appendix E, Making minicomics
Optional activity: make minicomic of finished class comics
Optional activity: 15.1 3-hour comic


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