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Adapting to prose, adapting to comics

While I’m pretty decent at writing comics, when I started out writing prose fiction I had no idea what I was doing. Not only that, I didn’t particularly like doing it. On the other hand, I’ve had a number of students in comics classes who are prose writers first, and they all tend to hit certain sticking points. So here are a few observations about turning from comics to prose or vice versa.

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Activity: a comic with no pictures

The “pictureless comic” activity, originally from Chapter 7 of DWWP, is one that we use constantly, in formal classes, in intensive workshops, and in casual talks and improvised situations. We once did it in a lecture hall at a comic convention with 200 people! It has so many advantages: at its core, it’s a study of how comics work, the elements of comics and how they work together to create meaning, even without pictorial images. It’s also a great way to learn layout and lettering skills, and to concentrate on those technical skills, again, without distraction. Finally, it’s an activity that anyone can do. Drawing skills are unnecessary (though a design sensibility is certainly a help!).

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Video: lettering

At my recent workshop at the Miami Wolfsonian Museum, I taught the students about live area, how to lay out a page, and how to hand-letter. This is the second batch of videos, on lettering.

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Student guide chapter 7: Lettering

Chapter 7 shows you how to letter your comics and argues for the importance of hand-lettering in comics. In this section you’ll find student examples of the activities and the homework.

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Teacher’s guide chapter 7: Lettering

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7.1 Hand lettering Many students are likely to resist hand lettering at first. It’s a good idea to talk about the reasons for it that we present in this essay to get them on the same page with you. It’s great to open students’ eyes to lettering. It’s usually something that just has never crossed Read More

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