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Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Ways to Create Comics Online

Creating cartoons and comic strips can be a good way to get reluctant writers writing. While creating comics you and your students can work through the elements of fiction in a context that is fun and familiar to them.

Witty Comics provides a simple platform that students can use to create two character dialogues. To use Witty Comics students just need to select the pre-drawn background scenes and the pre-drawn characters they want to feature in their comics. Writing the dialogues is the creative element that is left to the students.

Artisan Cam is more than just a comic creator, it is a comprehensive collection of online art activities. On Artisan Cam students can use the Super Action Comic Maker to build a six frame comic. The Super Action Comic Maker has a drag and drop interface which students use to select a background and character for their comics.

The Super Hero Squad invites kids to create their own super hero comic strips and comic books. The Super Hero Squad provides users with templates for comic strips and comic books. Users select the backgrounds, characters, and special effects from the provided menus. Arranging each scene and re-size the characters is an easy drag and drop process. After creating their scenes, users can add dialogue boxes to their comics. Completed comic strips and comic books can be downloaded and printed. 
Pixton is a drag-and-drop cartoon creation tool which allows anyone regardless of artistic ability to create comics. Users can join the Pixton community to share their creations with other. In addition to the free individual accounts Pixton offers Pixton for Schools (not free) which allows teachers to create private rooms in which only their students can create and share comics. To learn more about Pixton, watch this short video.

Strip Generator allows anyone, even people who claim they can't draw, to create a good-looking black and white comic strip. To create a comic strip all you need to do is select the number of frames you want then drag characters and objects into those frames. The menus for characters and objects are fairly extensive. Once you've selected a character or object you can adjust the size to fit your scene. Adding text is a simple matter of selecting a speech bubble and typing text. When you're happy with your comic strip you can save it online, print it, or embed it into your blog.

PikiKids provides a variety of layouts to which students can upload images then edit the images or add text bubbles and titles. The comics that students create can be embedded into a blog or website as well as be shared via email. PikiKids is free to use, but it is a for profit website as it offers options for buying tee-shirts or mugs with user-created comics.

Write Comics is a free, simple tool for creating comic strips. Write Comics doesn't require any registration to use. In fact, registration is not even an option. To create a comic on Write Comics just select a background from the menu, choose some characters, and add some speech bubbles. You can continue adding frames until you've completed your story. Write Comics is quite easy to use, but there is one short-coming and that is the only way you can save your work is to save it to your local hard drive.

Make Beliefs is a free comic strip creation tool that provides students with a variety of templates, characters, and prompts for building their own comic strips. Make Beliefs provides students with a pre-drawn characters and dialogue boxes which they can insert into each box of their comic strip. The editing options allow users the flexibility to alter the size of each character and dialogue bubble, bring elements forward within each box, and alter the sequence of each box in the comic strip. Students that have trouble starting a story can access writing prompts through make beliefs. Most impressively, Make Beliefs allows users to write their comic strip's dialogue in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugese, or Latin.

Be Funky is a simple tool for turning digital photographs into digital comics. The image you see to the left is a cartoonized image of me based on a photograph I took with my webcam. Be Funky can be used for simple one frame images or be used to create an entire strip of cartoonized images with inserted text.

Chogger is a free comic strip creation tool offering a good selection of editing tools. Chogger allows you to draw images from scratch or use your existing images. You can even connect your webcam to Chogger to capture pictures for use in your comic strips. Once you've added images to your comic strip, you can add effects such as fading and outlining. Chogger also allows you to customize the look of each frame in your comic strip. Comic strips created in Chogger can have as few as three frames or as many as twelve or more frames.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
20 Ways to Use Comics in Your Classroom
More than 100 Editorial Cartoon Lesson Plans
Pictures and Cartoons from PRI's The World

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