Creating Journal Comics: Drawing Your Life

Katie McMahon, KatieMcMahonArt

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8 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Intro

      1:02
    • 2. Lesson 1

      1:25
    • 3. Lesson 2

      2:41
    • 4. Lesson 3

      2:49
    • 5. Lesson 4

      1:56
    • 6. Lesson 5

      3:55
    • 7. Lesson 6

      3:30
    • 8. Lesson EXTRA!

      2:36

Project Description

  • The overall assignment: Create a one-panel, one-strip, or one-page journal comic
    • Mini-assignments, to be completed with each instructional video
      • Script: Write a list of three to five ideas you have for a comic based on the events of your day. If you know which one you want to do, be sure to point it out and explain why you picked that particular one.
      • Format: Choose your format (how many panels), where you’ll be drawing the comic (Journal? Sketchbook? Printer paper?), and do a set of thumbnail drawings based on one of your ideas.
      • Character: Draw yourself in your comic style! Draw five different facial expressions and three full-body poses to get comfortable with drawing yourself.
      • Backgrounds: Where does your comic take place? Sketch out some backgrounds for where the events of your comic happen to familiarize yourself with the layout and the level of detail you want to draw.
    • Your comic: The final product
      • Choose one of your ideas to make a comic out of. Break down the idea into a number of scenes equal to the number of panels you have available to you.
        • Optional: Do some thumbnail drawings if the idea you’ve chosen is different from the idea you chose for the mini-assignment.
      • Draw your panels on whatever paper or wherever you’re choosing to keep this comic (in your journal, in your sketchbook, on a piece of loose paper, etc).
      • Lightly sketch each scene inside each panel, starting with your character and adding in the background around them. Once you are satisfied with it, go over it again with pencil or pen, then erase any extra lines or smudges to clean up your comic.
  • Uploading your work
    • Take photos of or scan each stage of making your comic. Upload them to the project gallery with some comments about your process! What was fun? What was challenging? Was there anything you didn’t understand? What could I have explained better?
  • Getting inspiration
    • Comics Alliance has a great article on some well-known journal comics (also called webcomic diaries) that I would highly recommend perusing to gain inspiration and see a wide variety of drawing styles, comic formats, and topics.
    • One comic I will recommend personally is “Today Nothing Happened”, by Shazzbaa Bennett, one of my favorite webcomic creators. It’s positive and upbeat, it’s delightfully geeky, and it makes me laugh every time I read it.

Student Projects