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Drawing for Life A guide for leaders of workshops for comics for sustainable development

Esbjörn Jorsäter, Marilyn Mehlmann, Lydia Pschenitsyna, Irina Semko, Ivan Tsikota

© The authors and Global Action Plan International Produced with the support of The Swedish Institute

CONTENTS 1. 1.1 1.2

Introduction and background The guide and its history The concept of Education for Sustainable Development, ESD Empowerment as a new approach to ESD Example: the EcoTeam program in Belarus


2. 2.1 2.2 2.3

Media and perspectives Comics in the modern educational process Heroes, myths and fairy-tales Planetary perspective

7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5

Resource material: About making comics ‘McCloud’s method’ Generating ideas Choosing the form (style) Creating a storyboard Drawing

3. 3.1 3.2

Designing a program A free-standing workshop Relation to formal education: example of Belarus Weaving the elements together

8. 8.1. 8.2.

Tools Giving feedback Receiving feedback

9. 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.7 9.8

Drawing exercises Drawing faces Matchstick figures Body language and shapes Viewpoints and movement The storyboard A comic strip


Further reading



1.3 1.4

3.3 4. 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 5. 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Resource material: About sustainability Symptoms of un-sustainable development What can you do? What can we do? Ecological footprint Happy Planet Small things are important (too) Resource material: A Hero’s Journey Storytelling and its structure A myth, a legend, a tale The planets Pondera and Tellus The mission

6.1 6.2 6.3 7.

Resource material: About drawing Faces and emotions Bodies, movement, perspective Composing a frame

Annexe 1. Sample workshop plans Annexe 2. The hero’s journey: stages and characters Annexe 3. Hero’s Journey storyboards


Introduction and background

1.1 The guide and its history ‘Comics for Sustainable Lifestyle’ is a program developed by the international NGO network Global Action Plan with the support of the Swedish Institute, and in cooperation with several organizations in Belarus. From Belarus the program has already (2012) spread to Kosovo and India, and several more countries are interested. An early Belarusian attempt to use comic books in environmental education was launched on International Water Day in 2002, with a comics contest among schoolchildren learning French. Lydia Pshenitsyna drew ‘water’ stories told by two young environmentalists, and invited students to come up with the end of the story. This contest aroused great interest and participants drew their own stories, in French, about water protection. However, the competition was a short-term phenomenon, and there was no follow-up. In 2007 Global Action Plan, in the course of a project


meeting in Belarus, asked about interest in exploring comics as a tool for education for sustainable development. Subsequently a first workshop was held in Minsk in 2008 for professionals and students. Esbjörn Jorsäter, Swedish comics teacher, and Marilyn Mehlmann, Global Action Plan, designed the workshop, which was supported by the Swedish Institute in the person of Judith Black. Since then several workshops have been held in Belarus. An exhibition and seminar with the participation of students and teachers from Belarus and Russia was held in 2009 at an international educational centre in Minsk. In 2010 the program was presented with a miniworkshop at an international conference in Paris on Sustainable Development, Culture & Education. These many, different events built on a shared methodology of empowerment, and a shared focus on the concept of a sustainable lifestyle.

1.2 The concept of Education for Sustainable Development, ESD ‘Sustainable development’ refers to the need to reverse the current global trend towards un-sustainability, by which ecosystems (and the services they provide to humans) as well as social systems are broadly deteriorating, not least under the impetus of out-dated economic systems that encourage un-sustainable practices. It is widely accepted that neither authorities nor business can achieve this reversal without the active cooperation, and indeed initiatives, of many millions of people. Education therefore plays a central role in this, the most challenging task ever undertaken by humankind. In 2005 the United Nations announced a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, ESD. Two principal components of ESD are transformation and action competence. • Transformation refers to a profound change in the ways in which people and communities, locally and globally, use the planet’s resources and relate to each other, in view of sustaining the earth’s carrying capacity and creating conditions for people to shape their lives and future in terms of social and economic justice and prosperity. • Action competence refers to the intellectual, practical and life skills of learners to comprehend their world in its complexity and to contribute to the necessary

collective and individual action required for transformation to occur and be effective. So ESD is no ordinary pedagogical challenge. The Comics program contributes by evoking imagery from sources as varied as science fiction and mythology, lifting participants out of preconceived ideas and thus stimulating both action and independent thinking.

1.3 Empowerment in education Effective learning for sustainable development is inevitably linked to changes in daily behaviour, or way of life. The learners take action – not primarily in order to learn, but because the action in question contributes to improved sustainability. Learning usually follows. This challenges the common perception that awareness and understanding come first, to be followed by action. The Comics program is based upon pedagogical principles that have evolved from experience within the



20+ countries of the international Global Action Plan network. We ask ourselves: “What makes the difference? What enables an effective bridge between information and responsible action?” One clear answer is ‘empowerment’. When people are empowered to make more sustainable decisions in their daily lives, the new behaviour tends to be sustained long after the events that triggered it. Behaviour change is not brought about, or engineered,

value shift

behaviour change


with a conventional, linear education approach, which takes information and knowledge as the starting point. Observation of actual, long-term behaviour change has led to a circular, or in the best case spiral, picture of how change actually happens: Not included in this diagram are two important elements: the focus, and the environment. The focus helps to shape the content of conscious decisions. The environment – physical or social – makes it easier or harder to stick to the conscious decisions until they become habit.

1.4 Example: the EcoTeam program in Belarus Analyzing the emergence of ESD in other countries (Britain, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine), we note that successful models build on cross-sectoral cooperation and are often driven by highly motivated individuals, either inside or outside the regular school system. One successful example is the international EcoTeam program, adapted and used in several countries, supporting households and neighbourhoods to adopt more sustainable habits. Since 2003, the EcoTeam program has been available in Belarus. In contrast to most school courses that address environmental and sustainability issues, and provide students with theoretical knowledge, the EcoTeam pro-


gram engages students – children as well as adults – in exploring the concept of sustainable development, in the light of their own ideas about the future; and supports them to choose their own lifestyle. The program is divided into topics, such as water, energy, personal relations, health and shopping; students independently research the impact of their own lifestyles, and – in dialogue in small groups – decide what actions will help them to live more sustainably. The main elements of the EcoTeam methodology are self-knowledge, cooperation, and self-education. The results are visible and measurable in the everyday life of students[1].


Media and perspectives

2.1 Comics in the modern educational process The idea of using comics in education is hardly new. For instance, since the second World War informational manga has been widely used in Japan for educational purposes. The Japanese experience in the 1970s (works of Osamu Tezuka) is a striking example of the successful use of comics (manga) in educational processes for people of different ages. Historians were the first to adopt manga: they created books for pre-schoolers and older children, and for mentally challenged people. For instance, biographies of Chinese emperors have been described in Russian-language comics. In the mid 1970s “academic manga” began to emerge in business magazines. It was easy to understand due to its visual form, which aroused interest for manga among publishers that later published manga books on economics and other management topics. At the same time government agencies began to use manga as an instrument for public relations. In many European schools comic books are used quite widely; for instance, a history of Ancient Rome and a history of the Napoleonic wars in the form of a comic book are popular amongst pupils in France. Today there seems to be more interest in using other media in education, such as cinema, TV, and the Internet. Comics tend to have low status, partly because of a belief that simplicity equals lack of depth. The word “comics” itself may also have unhelpful connotations. Comics become a highly effective educational tool when young people are attracted not only to reading them, but also to creating them. They then offer not only

a convenient form for communication, but a truly new approach to internalising information. This is an innovative art form that has significant ethical, cultural, axiological, humanitarian and pedagogical potential. In the current global situation there is a need for global changes in culture and art, to enable young people to understand why and how they can adopt a responsible lifestyle. Comics are an excellent medium. The integrity of their heroes sets an ethical example. Comics push readers to develop their own lifestyle and live it later. This is how comics can be an empowering pedagogical tool. (ref Mehlmann & Pometun, 2012) This book treats the use of comics primarily in order to promote the visualization of sustainable development.

2.2 Heroes, myths and fairy-tales Comics hero A comics hero plays an important role as the ‘bearer’ of age-old heroic myths. The comic enables the reader to identify with the mythological hero, and thus to experience a continuity or lineage. This mechanism offers a degree of permanence in a changing world, and thus serves as a link to sustainable life-

style as the basis for sustainable development. The uniqueness of comics as a teaching tool is the capacious and flexible form, with a very limited but expressive set of words, interesting visual range and strong graphic conventions. Comics can thus tap into deep strata of understanding with an archetypal cultural hero in focus. The hero’s significance is measured by her or his deeds.


Myth in comics. The myth of sustainable development? From a cultural point of view, the comic becomes a tool for promoting the myth and its translation or reinforcement in mass consciousness. Attaining this cultural objective in a particular comic strip is a fantastic, complex artistic challenge The world of myth revolves around a sequence of miraculous events (transformations, adventures, trials, etc.), at the epicentre of which there is a hero or heroine who must find or invent extraordinary actions to radically change the general course of events: to rescue or pro-

tect innocence, avoid or mitigate overwhelming danger, bring order out of chaos. In the case of sustainable development, this translates easily into a need for the hero to save humankind – or some particular ‘corner’ of humankind – by adopting sustainable behaviour and lifestyle. On the way, the hero discovers the universality of human strengths and capabilities, and thus is inspired to new achievements beyond what is thought to be feasible. This microcosm can serve as a building block for any imaginary worlds, and all subjects – infinitely varied and totally unlike each other.

2.3 Planetary perspective Sustainable development is not about marginal changes to the way we do things today. If human societies are to have a chance to survive, then sustainable development is about a radical transformation of the way we think and thus the way we behave. This perspective is sometimes called ‘strong sustainability’. Consequently both teachers and learners – and indeed, we are ALL learners in this area – are faced with the challenge of letting go of some of our most cherished beliefs about the world. As Einstein is reputed to have said, a problem cannot be solved from the same perspective that caused it. Or: only a fool will go on and on repeating the same behaviour, and expect, suddenly, a different result. However, like fish, we find it hard to see the water in which we swim. How do we recognize our own underlying beliefs and thought patterns, in order to challenge them? Koestler has called it ‘the bringing together of previously separate matrices’: that is, we have everything we need to do the work, but need to let go of our addiction to analysis and try a little synthesis. Most tools to bring this about are based on surprise.


In this chapter we described the two ‘surprise’ elements of comics: an unusual or unexpected tool, and heroic myths. In our workshops we often use a third ingredient, that of interplanetary travel. This is particularly relevant to sustainable development because space travel and science fiction are closely linked with images of the future; and because sustainable development calls for local solutions in a planetary context. We have travelled too far down the road of unsustainability to be able to turn development around from a purely local perspective.


Designing a program

3.1 A free-standing workshop The content of the free-standing workshop depends largely on the audience and timeframe. ‘The participants are the curriculum’ No matter who your participants are, they need to be the centre of the workshop. You may think you know approximately how much or what they know about the major themes, but sooner or later they will surprise you. Our pedagogy builds on asking questions, listening to the answers, and adapting the program and materials accordingly. This doesn’t mean you can’t plan. Indeed, careful planning is important – as long as you are willing and able to change your plans each time you or the participants discover better ways of meeting their needs. Enough is enough Irrespective of how much commitment you feel to the cause, you ‘can’t have it all’. It means that there are limits to what you can include in the workshop (and what the audience can digest). This is not said to discourage experimentation. On the contrary, the more open and receptive to the needs of the audience you are, the more synergy may result. It is important, though, to bear in mind some basic exercises that will be helpful in any context.

For the shortest, simplest event it may be enough to ask participants about their ideas and feelings about sustainable development, and show them how to convey emotions in drawings. Allow your audience to feel a bit ‘hungry’ for knowledge or (better yet) the action. Annexe 1 contains a suggestion for a 1.5-hour workshop, and for a 3-day residential program.

3.2 Relation to formal education: example of Belarus In Belarus comics are still considered recreational reading. But as comics become more accepted as a legitimate form of art and literature, they are making their way into classrooms. There is emerging research that shows that comics and graphic novels not only motivate but also support struggling readers, enrich the skills of accomplished readers, and are highly effective at teaching “content-heavy” material in subject areas such as science and social studies. Activities under the program “Comics for sustainable development” can be orga-

nized not only in workshops but also in school as elective or extracurricular activities such as a circle, a comics studio, an environmental club. A course of 24 sessions has been designed (see Annexe 1). The frequency of meetings depends on the situation. For instance, in school an elective subject may be one lesson a week, whereas in a cultural institution it could be twice a week. At a summer camp meetings can be daily, for example as shown in Annexe 1, residential program.


3.3 Weaving the elements together Combining elements of education for sustainable development, basics of comics drawing and the myths/ heroes concept is simpler than it may seem at first glance. The most important thing is to improvise and enjoy what comes up. There are many useful methods. For instance, in our experience of organizing a youth workshop in Kosovo, we used a game called TellUs that was first developed for the Swedish National Museum of Natural History. Participants were invited to become inhabitants of a sustainable planet Pondera. Not so long ago they captured a weak signal from space. It was sent by inhabitants of another planet, TellUs – a very unhappy place, a planet with polluted atmosphere, depleting resources, a lot of garbage etc. The participants’ job is to prepare for the first inter-planetary encounter, and to convey the concept of sustainability to their new friends. To do that, they are asked to pick a local myth or a fairy tale, find metaphors, and interpret them in terms of their planet’s journey towards sustainability, with the help of basic comic techniques. We were surprised how much the participants were engaged with the process, and how remarkably clever were their interpretations. Another method, which can also be used in the classroom, is analysing well-known stories, movies, cartoons etc. together with the pupils. From further chapters you will find out about archetypes that are


commonly used in myths and stories. It is exciting to invite pupils to look for symbols in national folklore, music, and cinema. There is more about the concept of the hero’s journey in Chapter 5.


Resource material: About sustainability

This text can be used to prepare one or more workshop sessions for the participants. Educational objectives. Each participant will: – Understand the connections between global and local sustainable development, his/her own ideas about the future, and lifestyle choices – Understand the concepts of Ecological Foot-

print and quality of life – Be interested in finding out more about sustainability Length. In total this session, or these sessions, should take 1.5 – 2.5 hours

4.1 Symptoms of unsustainable development Most people have heard of ‘climate change’. Participants will have heard of some indicators of climate change. They may have personal experience of some. Climate change is not in itself a problem, it’s a symptom of un-sustainable development. The planet has a fever. Participants will be able to suggest other symptoms in the areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Some possibilities: • Environmental: Pollution of air and water… • Social: Violence at all levels, from war and genocide to street fights; extremes of wealth and poverty; exclusion on grounds of race, religion, gender, age… • Economic: Poverty, bankruptcies, bank crises…

4.2 What can you do? What can we do? Do participants think they’re too small to make a difference? “No-one can do everything but everyone can do something”. What kinds of things? – they will have ideas. You may add others from, for example, the EcoTeam workbook. Over-population or over-consumption: what is the ‘real’ problem? What can we influence? When Global Action Plan started, more than 20 years ago, there was a big debate about the environment. • The rich countries pointed to the poor countries

and said the problem was: too many people. • The poor countries pointed at the rich countries and said ‘All our problems are because you use too many resources! Too much oil, too much water, too much food…’ We were a group of friends who asked ourselves: What can WE do? We can’t influence how many babies are born in Africa, but we can decide to use fewer resources. We looked at the idea of the ‘ecological footprint’.


4.3 Ecological footprint You’ve probably heard of the Ecological Footprint the measuring tool that allows us to calculate human pressure on the planet and come up with facts, such as: If everyone lived the lifestyle of the average American we would need five planets. Humanity needs what nature provides, but how do

we know how much we’re using and how much is available? The Ecological Footprint has emerged as a measure of humanity’s demand on nature. It measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes, using prevailing technology.

Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the total resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend. Whose feet are biggest? What do you think? Who

uses – or wastes! – the most resources? Here are some examples: United Arab Emirates: 10.7 hectares/person USA, Belgium: 8 Sweden: 5.8 Saudi Arabia, Uruguay: 5.1 UK, Malaysia: 4.9 Belarus, Russia: 4.0


Nepal, Gambia: 3.5 Syria, Uganda: 1.5 Morocco, Indonesia: 1.2 India, Eritrea: 0.9 Afghanistan, Bangla Desh: 0.6

Have you seen a football pitch? One hectare is about the size of the biggest football pitches. If everyone had a footprint like those of India, there would be room for us all on the planet – and also for other animals and plants, not just us.


Figure 1 tracks the per-person resource demand (Ecological Footprint) and resource supply (Biocapacity) in Belarus since 1991. Biocapacity varies each year with ecosystem management, agricultural practices (such as fertilizer use and irrigation), ecosystem degradation, and weather.

4.4 Happy planet The Ecological Footprint is becoming widely accepted as a complement to the economic indicators most commonly used to assess the status and trends of a given country or territory, like GNP and ‘standard of living’. Another question is: What makes us happy? There are some key questions we can ask ourselves: - Do the things we use (and use up) really make us happy? - How can we live so that everyone (and other living beings) can enjoy a good quality of life? When we answer these questions, it seems obvious that standard of living and GNP are NOT good indicators of quality of life. Several research institutes are investigating this question. The New Economics Foundation in


England has devised a formula based on all aspects of sustainability, including how people evaluate their own happiness: the Happy Planet Index. Living better, using less =

Long, healthy lives X Satisfied lives Resources consumed

Which countries do you think are happiest? Top of the most recent ‘Happy Planet’ league table is Costa Rica, with an overall score of 76. Belarus comes at 104th place, with a score of 36 – much lower, but still ahead of the USA. Some more examples of scores: Costa Rica, highest at 76 Guatemala 68

Colombia and Vietnam 66 India 53 Syria 51 Sweden 48 Saudi Arabia 46 Belarus 36 Russia 35 USA 31 United Arab Emirates 28 The lowest score is 17. You can see that there is not much connection between how many resources we use and how happy we are! So there is no reason to wait – let’s save as much as we can.

4.5 Small things are important (too) The good news is that it is not so difficult. At first it may seem that the things each one of us can do are really tiny, compared with the need. But actually, even the small things are important. There are millions of us. Millions of better light bulbs or recycled metal cans begin to make a real difference in the world. In Global Action Plan programs alone we have engaged more than 2 million people, and these are just some of their results:


Electricity savings 10–25 % Water savings 20–25 % Reductions in solid waste 30–50 % And there are many more organizations working to support a more sustainable lifestyle. You are not alone – WE are not alone! You can take action to live more sustainably: this is a kind of modern ‘hero’s journey’, a quest. And, you can document the journey and tell other people about it. For instance, by drawing comics…


Resource material: A Hero’s Journey

This section is to help you introduce the task for participants: to set a context for the comics they will draw. Experiments without this context showed that participants were much more likely to draw and write about problems, whereas the major point of the workshop is to produce material documenting possible solutions – or at least, the journey to find them. This does not mean that participants’ fears and concerns should be ignored. On the contrary: in this context they become the ‘dragons’ or other dangers to be faced on the journey. Educational objectives. Each participant will - Gain a new perspective on global sustainbility - Understand the concept of the hero’s journey in relation to sustainable development - Have developed their own outline idea for a

comics story - Have formed a team to continue the work Materials. Flipcharts (or other large paper) and coloured pens/crayons. Length. This introductory session should be expected to take up to half a day: 3–4 hours.

5.1 Storytelling and its structure Storytelling has a structure. Think of ancient legends and myths, or modern novels and films: the best ones, those we remember, have a common structure (Campbell, 2008). When we reach the end of a good novel, film or comic, there is a sense of completion –

even if the story is not necessarily ’over’. There is a reason for this. A good story mimics life, in the sense that it mimics the flow of human psychological development. There are certain stages that all of us need to go through, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, if we


are to grow as a human being. There are even certain ‘characters’ that may recur to help us through our journey in life. In this section we give an overview of the stages and the characters, from a forthcoming book (Jorsäter, 2013), and suggest that they can be used to teach powerful sto-

rytelling through comics. Cartoons (and comic strips) usually rely on a different structure: the bringing together of the unexpected. This is the basis not of human inner development but of human invention (Koestler, 1989), whether in the arts or science.







6 7

The Hero’s Journey The main stages of the journey are described in more detail in Annexe 2. 1, 2, 3: Call to adventure, Mentor, and Portal: The main character receives a call to adventure, meets a wise person who offers guidance and maybe gifts, and with this help reaches the threshold of an unfamiliar world. 4, 5, 6: New friends, a labyrinth and a monster:

The main character makes new friends, faces temptation and danger, and fights his or her way out of the labyrinth. 7: The duel: The ‘enemy’ is now clear, and is to be overcome with the help of friends. 8, 9: Return in triumph: The hero is now more mature, a master of two worlds, and can enrich his/her community with new knowledge.

5.2 A myth, a legend, a tale These are the steps: Individual work - Think about the stories, myths, legends, fairy-tales that you have heard as a child – the ones that really stay in your mind


- Pick one, or maximum two, and write down the main elements of the story or stories - Think about adapting the story to tell about the sustainability journey

In groups of four - Take it in turns to tell your story to the others. One person at a time tells; the others listen carefully and ask supportive questions, to help the speaker clarify his/her story. - Have some of you chosen the same story? Or are you attracted to one of the other stories? Decide which story or stories to present to the whole group. - Write on a flipchart or large piece of paper (one per story) the main events in the story. - Put the flipcharts on the walls. The whole group - View the flipcharts like an exhibition.

- Gather around the charts of each group-of-four in turn, to hear and comment. - If more than one chart documents the same story, put them together. Individual Each person decides which story to work on for the next steps, and writes his/her name on the appropriate chart. The whole group Participants form teams of 2-4 people who will work together to produce a comic, or a comic strip, based on their story. If more than 4 people ‘sign up’ for the same story, they can split into two groups.

5.3 The planets Pondera and TellUs Educational objectives. Participants learn to appreciate the concept of sustainability in a planetary context, and to begin to see sustainable development as a personal and collective (heroic) journey. Materials. There is a CD-rom (optional) available in English and Swedish, not yet in other languages. Flipchart, pens. Length. Up to half a day, including role play; further time for questions and answers during other workshop sessions. Introduction by the teacher or leader Introduction to planet earth, or TellUs, from the perspective of planet Pondera. The planet Pondera (a long way from TellUs) is sustainable. The people live in harmony with themselves, with each other, and with all other species. There are no wars and there is no environmental degradation. It was not always like this, but it has been for a long time. Young people here on Pondera grow up with an ethical system that encourages and teaches them how to maintain this balance – not by ‘never changing anything’, but by dynamic adaptation to what happens on their planet, and the development of their own visions of a good future. TellUs today. TellUs is a medium-sized planet revolving around a small sun, Sol, near the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. It is relatively safe for living beings because it has atmosphere that protects it: most of the stuff flying around in space (meteors and so on) burn up in this atmosphere and never reach the surface of

the planet. The atmosphere also protects against radiation from Sol, as well as being a vital part of the ecosystem: many living beings both use the atmosphere and contribute to it. In general, beings that move about use oxygen, while beings that stay in one place use carbon dioxide. If you could stand on TellUs and look up, you would find that the sky looks mostly blue, not at all like the Ponderan sky. This is because of the atmosphere.


The temperature of the atmosphere on TellUs averages about +20 C, which is the approximate temperature that most Tellurians prefer inside their dwellings. The range of temperatures is quite small. Even in the most extreme places the temperature seldom rises above +45 or below –45, so you from Pondera would be quite comfortable there. TellUs has an unusual amount of water, also important to the life forms that live there. Nearly two thirds of the planet’s surface is covered with water. Space travellers often call it “the blue planet”. History of TellUs and its life forms. TellUs has circled Sol about 4.6 billion times (that’s 4 600 000 000 times). As usual it had a period without life. First to

come –about 3.5 billion revolutions ago – were bacteria, and they are still the most important life form. Insects arrived about 0.4 billion revolutions ago. You will be communicating with a very new life form, Tellurians or Earthlings; only 200 000 revolutions old. They are mammals with intelligence and social structures, including families and schools. Like many young, mobile life forms they are having trouble balancing their use of resources with the capacity of their planet to produce them. They are the life form causing the imbalance of the whole planet. In fact, there is a risk that they will not survive for another million revolutions. Or even a thousand. Questions and answers about TellUs.

5.4 The mission Workshop participants are asked to imagine that they are citizens of Pondera. They have been specially chosen to communicate with the planet earth, or TellUs, which is still experiencing some difficulties in achieving sustainability. The suggestion is that they will start by communicating through comics. Their task is to write and draw about a ‘hero’s jour-


ney’ towards sustainability: how it came about on Pondera. It can be the story of one person’s private search for a more sustainable way of living, or it can be an epic story involving the whole planet. This mission is the background to the workshop process, and is used to critique the stories as they develop.


Resource material: About drawing

Educational objectives. Participants learn to draw, particularly faces, in such a way as to convey a message without words. They practice some frames for their story. Materials. For this part of workshop the right equipment is needed to start drawing: Drawing tables, good light source, paper, printed exercises (supplied sepa-

rately), pencils, erasers Length. The best time to practice drawing skills is in the middle of a workshop. Since the workshop time is limited (2 or 3 days), it is possible to explain to participants just the basics of drawing by introducing a set of exercises. Each exercise should take no longer than 30 minutes.

6.1 Faces and emotions Facial expressions communicate most of the emotional drama in a comic story. Comics readers may miss some of the art details on a page, but they always look at faces! With practice, workshop participants will see that it is easy and a lot of fun to draw faces. Most facial expressions can be easily made by changing the size, shape, and relationship of eyes, nose, and mouth and other parts of the face such as eyelids and eyebrows. To learn to portray the emotions it is necessary to learn to draw heads at different angles. You can imagine the face of the character as a planet, rotating in space. Add support lines like on a globe, curving in the vertical and horizontal planes. These lines will help to place the eyes, mouth and nose correctly. See the exercises in Section 8.1: • You can start drawing comics with a very simple exercise, where you depict various emotions of the hero. • Funny faces can be drawn by changing some elements – eyes, eyebrows or mouth. • Catch the attention of readers by creating a clear visual and emotional difference between the characters, using different geometric figures as a basis for different faces.

Activity: Mirror Participants study their faces in the mirror while making silly faces. This is a lot of fun and is a good drawing exercise for beginners. Activity: Quick Sketch Exercise in pairs. One participant uses a sketchpad and when the other’s facial expression changes, quickly draw a simple shape to map the different expressions. Activity: Drawing game One person draws on a flipchart, and the others guess at the intended emotion.


6.2 Bodies, movements, perspectives Materials - Material for drawing - Plastic or cardboard tubes - “Matchstick”-style wooden doll, if available Drawing a realistic figure is one of the most complex themes in classical art teaching. But for those who start to create comics it is important – and not difficult – to learn how to draw simple figures. There are examples of interesting and popular comics where the heroes were just matchstick figures. (Nonetheless in the reference section we offer some links for those who want to improve their skills of realistic drawing). We will start to draw comics figures from exercises with matchstick figures, section 8.2. A funny hero – the Yellow Pencil created by Esbjörn Jorsäter – explains how to draw a figure starting from a sketch and then shaping muscles, adding clothes, and colouring. Movement Drawing comics demands dynamic figures and details. Use of models and geometrical figures can help amateur artists in understanding how to draw a moving body (Exercise 6): 1. Draw schematic lines of the figure 2. Add ovals, connect lines, draw emotions, and add movement lines 3. Finish the figure After drawing moving figures, practice creating funny figures (Exercises 8 and 9).

Perspective and composition Perspective is a whole science that studies changes in the shape and size of objects observed in nature. Perspective helps to depict three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. To clearly understand the form of an object, it is necessary to be able to view it from all sides. Let’s talk about using perspective in comics in more detail. To increase the dramatic effect of an action in comics you can use different types of perspective. • General perspective. This type of perspective is most commonly used, especially by beginning artists. In this case all heroes are on the same level, the surface is plain, and the eye-level of all characters is on the same (horizon) line. • By taking a perspective from below, a hero in the foreground looks more powerful. From this perspective the knees of all characters are on the horizon line. • Putting a horizon line lower allows you to show the activities of characters more effectively, as if from a birds-eye view. • Another possible solution is to map the horizon line as a 45 degree diagonal; it adds a dramatic effect to the picture.. • In every picture with action it is important to change the distance to a character from frame to frame, or to vary the angle. Try drawing from different angles (Exercise 11).

6.3 Composing a frame There are some basic elements in comics composition. Frame A frame, or individual picture, is the basic component of a comic strip or story. Panel About 50% of comics work is spent on designing panels – segments of a story. A panel usually consists of one or more frames, most usually of rectangular frames positioned vertically or horizontally to make up a page or part of a page.


You can experiment with different shapes of frames, to find the one you need for a certain scene or plot turn: square, round, triangular, narrow vertical, small horizontal, diagonal, etc. For the beginner it is good to start from exercises with five simple frames to a page (Exercises 17 and 18). Captions, dialogues and frame composition are good means to lead the reader from one panel or page to another. Scott McCloud (ref) describes six types of transition: 1. From moment to moment. A sequence of

frames reflects one theme (e.g. a person or an object) in different moments of time, and time flows progressively from one to the next. 2. From action to action. Frames reflect one theme during different but interconnected actions, but the time interval can be longer than in the first type. 3. From theme to theme. Frames reflect different themes during one scene, e.g. two people talking and topics of their conversation. 4. From scene to scene. As you can guess, in this case the frames depict quite different scenes. The reader can observe significant differences in time or place (or both) 5. From aspect to aspect. Frames reflect different elements of place, mood or idea. A reference to feelings or thoughts has the main role, and time and place between frames tend to be very different. This type is very popular in manga. 6. Illogical transition: frames change with no obvious connection between them. This type of transition is quite rare in narrative comics. Page The foundation of every comic book is a spread – two facing pages – after which a reader would want to turn the page. This is why there are two main rules for combining frames on a page and creating an interesting spread: 1. A spread needs be relatively complete in terms of plot and visual form.

2. The last frame should imply further action or an unexpected development. The reader’s curiosity should be tickled. These rules are useful for workshop participants and members of a comics drawing group; for example a group creating and publishing a school magazine. Guidelines for panel composition There are several rules of thumb that can help when composing frames and panels. 1. Start each scene, or ‘chapter’, with a general frame. A big frame with lots of details invites examination and sets the scene for action. 2. The left side of the frame represents ‘home’ or safe place, whereas threats are often shown on the right – and so is adventure, and the important people met by the main character. 3. The main action develops from left to right, since this is how we are accustomed to reading in English and other European languages. 4. If the action is shown to move from right to left, it may signify a. Interference, resistance to the main action (see Section 7.4) b. The main person meeting danger and running home to safety 5. Horizontal frames slow down the action, whereas vertical frames help to speed it up. 6. A sequence of tiny frames conveys tension and fast tempo.



Resource material: About making comics

Materials: For this part of the workshop some special equipment is needed: • Drawing tables (light table if it possible), good light source • Paper, printed exercises • Materials for drawing, inking and colouring Length: Takes a whole day, normally the last day. Comics have a purpose: to communicate a message.

In our case the idea is to communicate a message about Sustainable Lifestyle. The stories about Sustainable Lifestyle can differ in style – verbose or wordless, serialized or self-contained, funny or tragic, colour or black-and-white, simple or artistically ambitious. The important thing, as with all comics, is the reader’s response. Various comic techniques help to ensure that the main message about Sustainable Lifestyle is delivered.

7.1 “McCloud’s method” There are stages to drawing comics. Scott McCloud compares comics with an apple where all parts are equally important. He identifies the following steps (8: 170): - Generating ideas - Choosing the form, or style

- Planning the structure - Making a sketch - Finishing using certain drawing techniques: colouring, inking etc. Each of these steps is described below.

7.2 Generating ideas Comics are great for communicating ideas without words. Even when we don’t know a foreign language, we can still communicate ideas about sustainable lifestyle to our friends in other countries. Stories created during the workshop can vary in shape, colour, plot etc. Still, all of them tell something about the journey towards a more sustainable world. The idea is the most important element in comics. It describes its content. The atmosphere of the comics and visual forms flow from the idea. You need to know WHAT the story is in order to know HOW to tell it.. The idea could emerge when the workshop facilitator asks ‘what if’ questions: “What would happen if people began to… * … use new types of energy? * … drain all swamps? * … travel to the planet Pondera?” A journey in time can be used. Let’s take, for example, the ozone layer. 1. Damage to the ozone layer through common CFC coolants gradually increases. 2. International Montreal agreement (1975) prohi-


bited use of such coolants. 3. Now ozone holes are decreasing. The following quick exercises and sketches are very helpful when discussing climate change: 1. People pay attention to climate change. 2. Solutions are found (come up with one). 3. Humankind solves the problem and finds a way of life that does not threaten to destroy the climate in which people can survive. Solutions are based on the actions of the main character (see Chapter 5 for more information about characters). Once a group agrees upon a theme they can use methods such as brainstorming. Brainstorming. This method is meant for generating ideas and solutions in a group. It was first introduced for business decision-making. It is a wonderful exercise for creating comics ideas, practicing quick drawing skills, and developing interaction between participants. Participants are asked not only to suggest ideas, but to sketch the ones they like best. The aim of brainstorming is to find a number of solutions for some problem of sustainable development

through discussion in a group. The group comes up with as many ideas as possible that are connected with their chosen theme, as a basis for future comics. Materials for capturing ideas: Flipcharts and markers, materials for quick sketches, stickers of different colours, laptop connected to a projector. The essence of brainstorming lies in a division between idea generation (first stage) and analysis and selection (second stage). Preparations Be clear about the purpose: what participants are invited to do, and why. Write the task where everyone can see it, and/or on distributed materials. It might for instance be simply to generate plot ideas, or to develop some major characters in a chosen plot. Idea generation Groups of 5-10 are good. Each group should have a rapporteur who writes the ideas on a flipchart – without editing them! This stage normally takes 40-60 minutes. All group members come up with spontaneous ideas on the chosen theme. There are no ‘bad’ ideas – all are written down, without discussion or criticism. Alex Osborn, who introduced brainstorming (ref), used to say: “Quantity of ideas evolves into quality. Every idea has a rational seed”. Prioritization and development

For the second stage, usually the same groups prioritize their own suggestions. It is also possible to add an ‘expert’ element to guide their choice Participants edit the list together. At this stage light criticism is allowed, as well as adding new ideas that emerge in the process of editing. Criticism should be constructive and deal not only with the idea as such, but also with technical aspects. The main thing is that participants should try to find a rational seed in every idea. Wrap up the brainstorming session with an idea that there are many different ways to solve different problems of sustainable development. Some of them are good for people, but of harm bad for other species; the challenge is to find ideas that will be good for both, today and for future generations. At the end of this stage you should have an edited list of written or sketched ideas for comics. Additional exercises 1. One participant has a piece of paper with panels and a pencil. The first participant draws one idea and then gives the piece of paper to the next person. This piece cycles until you run out of ideas. Each group exchanges their papers with another group. 2. News in comics. Participants study written material on sustainability (environment, society, and economy) and agree on a common idea or thread, then they discuss steps to create comics.


7.3 Choosing the form (style) When idea and plot are created, the next step is to decide on form and style. The visual style of comics is determined by line types, colours, visual references and recurring images. There are different forms of comics: Strips are comics that consist of a few horizontal panels, often published in newspapers or on the Internet (in Chapter 8, Exercises 14, 15 & 16 show how to draw a comic strip). This will be the main focus for workshops. Web comics are the most up-to-date form that is quickly spreading through the Internet, often by authors themselves through their blogs or web sites. Some web comics incorporate interactive elements. Other forms are described briefly in Chapter 10, Terminology. Visual style of comics Comics can be realistic or abstract; they can be made classically – drawn or painted with pencil or brush

– without drawing, in for example the form of photos or collage). Each person needs to find their own style. Many established visual styles have special iconography and visual effects: - Cartoon-like: a traditional comics style; it uses exaggeration and other comic effects, as well as changes in lines. It can appear “bubbly”. - Realistic: imitates real life in forms and images. - Manga: a Japanese style in which classic Japanese art blends with American comics art. The word “manga” consists of two characters meaning “funny story in pictures”. - Experimental: anything! Sometimes such comics are very weird. Without drawing - Collage: combines pictures cut from magazines, ads, souvenirs, papers, etc. - Photos: every comics frame is set up and photographed, as in film-making.

7.4 The storyboard The term “storyboard” comes from the USA and means a sequence of pictures that help to create films. A comics storyboard is a sketched plan of a page. It is drawn in pencil, indicating the content and placing of each frame. It is usually developed in two stages. Large comics usually also have text scenarios. A written scenario could be a separate interesting educational assignment. But even without a written scenario, the start is always a storyline: the ‘plot’ of your story. It has several aspects, including location, characters, and a lot of little details that add flavour. Atmosphere. The atmosphere is created through a combination of the location and the author’s worldview. The latter means how the author sees the world through her/his feelings and beliefs; it is an entry-point to the readers’ emotions and feelings. Location should not be neglected, because it can strongly reinforce the atmosphere; just adding scenic details to the picture is often enough to bring out new ideas..


Characters are generally created in one of two ways: - There is someone (a real person) who evokes

an emotional response in the author, and serves as a ‘prototype’ - The author wants to share something important with the world, and creates a suitable ‘mouth-piece’. The main criterion of success for all comics is emotional response. In order to evoke this response in the readers, the author needs to feel strongly about the topic and the characters. Creating the first storyboard The first storyboard depicts the whole story in actions and dialogues step by step, without details, only quick sketches (Exercises 12 and 17) to make a sequence of frames. This is not for sharing, only for working through the ideas. Hints: 1. Think about the number of characters in each frame, their size, would it be vertical or horizontal. 2. Decide on the perspective of each frame (see Chapter 6.3), coherence of frames, placing of speech bubbles. The illustration shows how to use frames to create a storyboard. In the first, big picture the characters are in harmony. In the second picture something happens that destroys harmony. The third picture shows the emotions of a character and his or her thoughts on solving this problem. The main character is looking for a solution. Finally: problem solved, harmony is restored. Creating the second storyboard

The second storyboard is a draft for the final comics. At this stage workshop participants change from script writers to directors and artists. The second storyboard is created on the basis of the first (participants have to understand what is sketched there), but plot development and panel composition in the second storyboard could change significantly (Exercise 17). At this stage the frames are shown in detail, and here is important to be patient while drawing small details. Small elements of the big storyboard: a. Bubble Dialogues in comics are conveyed through so-called “bubbles” that are “blown” from character’s mouths. The bubble may contain short phrases or words spoken from one character to another. A bubble is a part of the composition and its form can support the dynamics of the frame. For instance, screaming can be emphasized by extending sharp edges of a bubble in the direction of the scream. Usually a bubble is used to convey speech, and the regular alphabet is good for this. But sometimes a character may not be able to communicate in human language (e.g. dogs, aliens, or someone who speaks an unknown language). In this case, using signs instead of text can be helpful. b. Captions Any text in comics that is not in a speech bubble is referred to as a caption.


c. Use of letters and words Bold is used to emphasize words, CAPITAL LETTERS in bubbles indicate a loud voice, and small letters usually mean whispering. Bubbles and captions are usually placed at or near the top. Captions include sound effects and any other text outside of a bubble that is not part of the actual picture (eg shop signs, number plates, words on a computer screen). d. Reading direction The direction of reading is the basis for composing a page. The aim of an artist is to place frames in such an order that the readers’ eyes would move from frame to frame naturally without breaks. So every panel and page has to be read in the same direction as a page of text: left-to-right and from top-to-bottom in most Western countries. For instance, if two characters are talking to each other in one panel, the first person talking is

the one on the left side. In cultures where the written language starts from the upper right corner (when they use right-to-left script), comics are composed contrary to our perception. Traditional manga is also to be read rightto-left. Readers’ interest How to interest the readers? How to make them read to the end? How to make them think about complex and important issues? First, the author must care about the subject and the characters. Then, the readers need to be teased. If they have questions, they will read the comics again and think about the issues raised there. And most importantly… Comics should have a happy or at least hopeful end. Comics should give hope that the problem can be solved.

7.5 Drawing Pencil sketches The main thing for sketches is that they should be very light. If there are visible marks on the paper, it is harder to correct the drawing afterwards. If using crayons, charcoal or ink, marks on the paper left by the sketch could show through in the final result. When the second storyboard is complete, any excessive pencil or other marks are removed. One way is to make a clean copy of the second storyboard. Artists usually use a light table for this process, but a regular window will do, too.


Final touches It is important to think where the light comes from before colouring. Start on the shady side and gradually move to the lighter one. This gives a three-dimensional effect. Use bolder colours in the foreground and lighter in the background. Water-colour brushes are easy to use and give good results. There are also many computer programs, such as “Comіcs Studіo”, “Manga Studіo”, “Adobe Photoshop” and “Adobe Illustrator”, with functions not only for colouring comics but also for drawing frames and panels.



8.1 Giving feedback Deep listening/parking A feedback session is not a conversation. It is a focused dialogue, with one person at a time speaking and the other(s) listening. When you are giving feedback, your most important task is to listen. Your second task is to follow the needs or requests of the speaker. Remember that questions are more powerful and more empowering than answers! Some key questions when giving feedback Warren Ziegler used to talk about a ‘compelling question’. This is a question that comes back, even when you try to park it, and that would help you to more fully understand and support the speaker. Some examples might be: • What do you most want or need to change? • How will you know it has changed? • What will happen if it does NOT change? Remember to speak from your own perspective: the so-called ‘I-message’. For instance, “I’m having difficulty reconciling what you say about xxx and what you say about yyy – can you explain more?” is more empowering than “You’re contradicting yourself, it doesn’t make sense!” Good questions further into the dialogue can be: • What first steps can you take? • What resources will you need to continue? (material, legitimacy, moral support…) • Concrete intention: when will you do it? Some other tips when giving feedback Prepare: put yourself in a frame of mind where you are committed to supporting the speaker to reach her or his own objectives. Create a safe space. If you can influence the physical space, make sure everyone sits on the same level and that you are close enough to each other not to need to raise your voices. Ensure there is adequate privacy, and do your best to prevent phone calls and other interruptions. Don’t take away the problem! Empathy is good, when it means you ‘get under the skin’ of the speaker

and begin to experience how they feel. But always remember that the problem is not yours, either to have or to solve. At best you can ask questions and make suggestions. Look beyond the presenting problem. The presenting problem is real, at least to the speaker, and needs to be taken seriously. And, it’s important not to stop there but to look for what could lie beneath or beyond it. This is one use of the ‘why, why, why’ method. Question your own motives. It’s easy to ask questions or make suggestions that are not really what the speaker needs. Maybe they make us feel safer, or more clever, without supporting the speaker. Be kind to yourself! No-one is the perfect coach, and those being coached are usually quite capable of ‘defending’ themselves from us if we are clumsy. The important thing is to notice our deficiencies. And to give ourselves a pat on the back when we notice them, because it means we are learning something.


8.2. Receiving feedback

1. Prepare The first key to receiving good feedback, or coaching/mentoring, is good preparation. The clearer you can state your case and your concern, the more likely you are to receive useful feedback. Define your actual concern: not ‘the whole project’, but one particular aspect of it that you personally find problematic or challenging Formulate 1-3 things you would like to improve Ask yourself whether there is anything about the problematical situation that you DON’T want to change – that you find really positive 2. Before the session Think about your ambition or objective for the session. What is the best you might achieve? Perhaps you can also identify an acceptable minimum? Put yourself in the right frame of mind. The other person or people are there to support you. Be ready to make the most of the time they are giving you. Think in advance about how you will take notes, and what you will do to follow up. 3. Listen! A feedback session is not a conversation. It is a focused dialogue, with one person at a time speaking and the other(s) listening. When you are the one receiving feedback, you have the principal responsibility to direct the dialogue – that is, to say what you want (and need) to


say as briefly and precisely as possible. When the other(s) speak, you need to listen carefully, e g by Deep Listening. You do not respond unless there seems to be a misunderstanding, and above all: there is no need to argue or defend yourself. Listening is the key. Take notes – or, even better, ask one of your respondents to take notes for you. 4. Thank! At the end of the session, remember to thank your respondents! They are there to support you to see your own way more clearly.


Drawing exercises

9.1 Drawing faces Exercise 1. Emotions Draw different emotions on these faces. Add support lines so that the heads could turn in the way corresponding to emotions.





Doesn’t understand

Feels disgust


Has an idea




If you are familiar with this method you noticed that figures in 3D are easier to perceive. If it was hard for you to see and turn those faces, you only need more practice. If you used this method before you know that there is no such thing as too much practice.


Exercise 2. Simple faces Support lines help the mind see shapes in 3D. You can then add the features of the faces. When experiencing negative emotions, such as anger, you often turn your head downwards.

Angry in 2D

Angry in 3D

Angrier in 3D

Happy in 2D

Happy in 3D

Happier in 3D



Most scared

During joy and other positive emotions you tend to tilt your head upwards. Or the other way around: if you look up, your mood tends to lighten a bit. Try this yourself!

When experiencing anxiety, you tend to tilt your head downwards. When startled, you tend to look up.



Not to be duplicated without permission

Exercise 3. Funny faces Put together different parts of the face with different head shapes.

Use noses, ears and eyes or other parts, and draw them on the head shapes below.

An example.

And draw them on these two faces.

Use noses, ears and eyes or other parts, and draw them on the head shapes below.

Draw the cartoon face at this angle.

Make the other head shapes at the angle shown in the corner.


Funny faces, cont’d Give these faces different expressions.


9.2 Matchstick figures Exercise 4. Body parts

Finish the figure starting from the sketch.

1. Sketch

Wrong Shoulders

2. Make arms thicker. Start from the hip!

Line of spinal column



Draw the body






5. Add volume using shading.

Using this sketch, Emil (9) created Neo from Matrix

Dafna (10) drew this figure in movement using the next sketch.


Exercise 5. A running figure Using matchstick figures and tubes. Sleeve is rounded just like the tube.



1. First, draw a schematic figure

2. Decide which leg will be in front


3. Tubes on arms and front leg

Shorts are rounded like the tube.

Here are different clothing items. Finish the drawing, add some clothes. If you want, draw why the figure is running too. Examples: Draw running figures in colours

On this picture an author (10) drew speed lines that create an impression of movement.

Shadow shows that the figure is in the air. v


Exercise 6. Simple funny figures 1. Draw schematic figures.

2. Add some form and make them dynamic.

Do you have a problem with the heating?

3. Give them some clothes.


9.3 Body language and shapes Exercise 7: Expressive figures


Exercise 8. Practice different shapes Practice drawing different forms of schematic figures.

Lind (left) and Rask (right) were introduced in the Swedish magazine “Tourist” in the late 1980s.

1. Start with the head and create some form, using help lines.

2. Add neck and back in one line. Then add the line of shoulders and thighs. Mark every joint with a small circle.

3. Finally add the lines of the arms and legs with circles for joints.

This is Lind’s schematic figure from behind. Repeat the same steps drawing Rask’s schematic figure to the left of Lind in the exact pose that is shown above (top left). Add the horizon line, where water and land meet sky. Lind’s schematic figure.


9.4 Viewpoints and movement Exercise 9. A footballer in action: Expressive figures

This is a schematic figure of Maria; a tube is drawn on the thigh. Add tubes to arms and legs.


Camera 1

Camera 3 v


Camera 2

This is Maria; she’s playing football.

Draw Maria from different angles starting from Camera 1. First draw a schematic figure, then add tubes. Then finish your drawing. Use this scheme for all angles. This exercise is challenging but very useful. You Yo will be able to draw any person using a photo or picture, and draw the figure from any angle.


Exercise 10. Choosing the best angle The picture shows Odin (Wotan), a Norse God. .

Activate your inner camera! Close your eyes and imagine that you are walking in a circle from point 1 to 4. Draw the scene from each point.

Angle 3

Tree Odin


Angle 2 Angle 4

Dog Angle 1

Angle 2

Angle 3 Sketch the same scene from different angles.

Angle 4

Draw the scene from your favourite angle (but not Angle 1).


9.5 The storyboard Exercise 11. The first version / sketch


Exercise 12: Emotions in a storyboard Place

1 Suddenly.......................................................

Show emotion and draw/write what the character is thinking.


3 answer to the question in frame 1.




9.6 A comic strip Exercise 14. Emphasizing a detail By emphasizing a detail in frame 2 you give the answer to the question in frame 1. Finish this strip with characters of your choosing. Text 1. You don’t seem at all interested in what I’m telling you! 2. Why do you think that? 3. Gossip gossip – Oh, he did… gossip gossip.. Er, and then… gossip gossip… Um, after that…


Exercise 15. Humour through omission In this strip the most dramatic action is not shown, it happens ’between’ frames 1 and 2. Finish this strip with a character of your own choosing. Remember appropriate facial expressions. Plan the text – you can modify it if you like. Text B. 1. Hmm, I need my passport but it’s in the drawer that’s stuck. 2. OK I fixed the drawer.


Exercise 15. Before and after Here you can see a change from frame 1 to frame 2. For maximum effect, use the same angle in both panels. It’s a bit like an animated film, where the change is very clear. There is also clearly something (not shown) that happens between the frames; and a very understated reaction in the second frame. Finish this strip. You can change the characters if you like. Text: 1.Ah- ah ahBetween: Atchoo! 3. Bless you!



Further reading

1. E. Bashaeva, S. Saltykova, Media education for students of pedagogical universities via comics, Media education and competence: All-Russian scientific school for youth. 2. A. V. Fedorov (ed), Selection of papers by young scientists. Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute, 2009, pp.: 24-29. (Only in Russian) 3. http://www.footprііmages/uploads/basіcs-overvіew-510.jpg 4. J. Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 3rd edition, New World Library, Novato, CA, 2008 5. E. Jorsäter, The Hero’s Journey (forthcoming in Swedish, 2013); Teckna Manga, Bonnier Carlsen 2006, in Swedish: Teckna Drakar, Bonnier Carlsen 2010, in Swedish; etc. 6. K. Polyakova, Forming of a semiotic system of American comics and Japanese manga, Abstract from a post-doctoral thesis, St. Petersburg, 2004. (Only in Russian) 7. L. Packalen, S. Sharma, Grassroots comics - a development communication tool, 2007 8. A. Koestler, The Act of Creation, Arkana edition, 1989 9. S. McCloud, 10. M. Mehlmann, The Blind Men and the ESD Elephant, Adukatar, Issue 8, 2006, pp.: 9-10; Blinda gubbar och UHUelefanten, Education and Sustainability, Issue 2 (2009), Dalarna, Sweden 11. M. Mehlmann, A. Benaim, Learning for Change. A process for Collaborative Learning and for Project Assessment. An Introduction, Published online, Stockholm 2012 12. O. Pometun, Education for sustainable development: innovation of the 21st century, Way of education, Kiev: Pedagogic press, Issue 3, 2010, pp.: 12-17 (Only in Russian) 13. S. Maksimova, Comics in Education: useful or not? Round table, Education for people, Issue 9, 2002, p. 131. (Only in Russian) 14. S. McCloud, Understandіng Comіcs: The Іnvіsіble Art. Northampton, MA: Kіtchen Sіnk Press, 1993 15. A. Turovich et al. East Slavic Folklore: The search for new approaches. Molodechno, 2000. (Only in Russian) 16. W.J. Sattmann-Frese & S.B. Hіll, Learning for Sustainable Living: Psychology of Ecologіcal Transformation, Lulu. com, London, 2009




Elements of comics - Bubble: a space, usually rounded in form, for capturing the words or thoughts of the characters - Caption: a space, usually rectangular, for a description of the scene or action - Frame: a single drawing - Panel: a set of drawings combined to make up a graphic whole; can be a horizontal sequence, as in comic strips; or for instance a page (or double-page spread) in a magazine or book - Storyboard: a sketch (unfinished version) of panels - Storyline: the narrative: the sequence of events making up the comic Forms of comics - Strips are comics that consist of one or a few horizontal panels, often published in newspapers or on the Internet. - Web comics are quickly spreading through the Internet, often by authors themselves through their blogs or web sites. Some web comics incorporate interactive elements. - Monthly comics: a series of magazines published monthly. This form is most popular in the USA. It could be interesting for people working in youth media. - BD (bande dessŃ–nĂŠe) is a European comic form, mostly French/Belgian (the name is not applied to translated comics from the USA). Due to complex graphics it is published once a year or less. - A graphic novel is a complete novel published in graphic form. It is mainly narrated through the pictures, with sparing use of words. - Amateur BD and graphic novella are shorter forms.


Annexe 1. Sample workshop plans 1. Possible plan for a very short free-standing workshop Materials Pencils, rubber, pencil sharpener, A4 paper, inking pen size 0.3 (10 pens), size 0.1 (5 pens). Tape. Introduction of participants and coaches “Name & why you are here?” Drawing introduction Simple faces and emotions and their importance. Introduction to sustainable development (1) What are ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainable lifestyle’? - 30 minutes Basics of drawing comics (1) Simple body with matchstick figures 15-17 minutes Introduction to sustainable development (2) ‘My hopes, fears, and expectations about the future’ Discussion of the results, wrap up

1 minute per participant 10-15 minutes

10-15 minutes

~15 minutes

12-15 minutes 10 minutes

Total: ~ 1.5 hours

2. Possible plan for a one-year programme №


Section and topic

Section 1. Introduction to comics 1 1 Comics as an art 2 1 History of comics. Genres of comics. 3 The role of fine arts in resolving social 2 and environmental issues 4 2 Comics for sustainable development

Section 2. Basics of creating comics 5 3 General methods and rules for creating comics 6 3 Creating characters 7


Emotions of the characters

Method, practical task

Lecture with a discussion, presentation Presentation, quiz Interactive lecture, video presentation, working with mass media Invited expert, slide- and video presentation, discussing ”Comics for sustainable lifestyle” project

Slide presentation, work with the books, group work Demonstrate drawing methods, presentation, work in pairs Demonstrate methods of portraying emotions, presentation, exercise with a mirror




Body structure, basic anatomy



Body in motion

Section 3. Principles of composition 10 5 Creating a storyboard 11 6 Comics composition 12 6 Perspective Section 4. Developing the idea 13 7 Brainstorm for ideas 14 7 15


Social, environmental and economic sustainability as a subject for comics Searching for information, generating ideas

Working with models, matchstick figure, slide presentation �Draw your neighbour� exercise, working with models

Demonstration, practice Demonstration, practice Demonstration, practice

Dramatization of situation, brainstorm, working with materials Video and slide presentation, working with materials, picking a subject for comics Lecture, discussion, self-presentation of participants

Section 5. Audio effects. Transmitting speech in comics 16 Demonstration, practice, working with 8 Speech in comics; dialogue bubbles materials, presentation 17 Demonstration, practice, working with 9 Special effects in comics materials, presentation 18 Demonstration, practice, working with 9 Depicting animals materials, presentation 19 10 Caricatures Demonstration, practice, working with materials, presentation Section 6. Colour in comics 20 10 Inking and colouring 21


Colouristics in comics



Light and shade effects

Section 7. Drawing own comics on sustainable lifestyle 23 12 Search and creative work 24 12 Creative project


Demonstration, practice, working with materials, presentation Demonstration, practice, working with materials, presentation Demonstration, practice, working with materials, presentation

3. Design for a three-day residential workshop Day 1 11.00 Introductions Draw each other’s feelings 12.00 What is sustainable development? What are the participants’ feelings about it? 13.00 Lunch 14.00 Draw matchstick figures 14.50 Today’s problems on Planet TellUs 15.40 Solutions on Planet Pondera 16.20 Break 16.50 Sketch a final frame for the comics: all well on Pondera 17.40 What is sustainable lifestyle? How does it relate to the ‘final frame’? 18.30 Q&A 19.00 Finish workshop Day 2 09.00 Morning thoughts and ideas 09.20 What’s wrong with TellUs? (Historically also Pondera…) Sketch a starting frame for the comics 10.10 How did we get from A to B on Pondera? Step by step introduction to the hero’s journey 11.00 Break 11.30 Sketch 2-3 steps 12.20 About characters and types 13.10 Lunch 14.10 Sketch remaining steps 15.00 Q&A; revise ideas 15.50 Sketch a cover picture 16.40 Break 17.10 More drawing/story development, or more about lifestyle & sustainability 18.00 Finish workshop Day 3 09.00 09.15 09.45 11.00 11.30 11.50 13.00 14.00 16.10 16.45 17.40

Morning thoughts and ideas About ‘finishing’ comics: inking Further development of comics, or inking Break About colouring Further development/inking/colouring Lunch Further development/inking/colouring Break to finish packing / photograph and/or exhibit comics Review of comics (photos or exhibition), critique Finish workshop


Annexe 2. The Hero’s Journey: stages and characters One of the first to write about the ways in which successful stories, down the ages, resemble each other was Joseph Campbell (1991, 2008). He identified a ‘hero’s journey’ of 17 stages, which was later to become highly influential when adopted by George Lucas as the basis for the script of the film Star Wars. The simpler model here is taken from a forthcoming book by Esbjörn Jorsäter (forthcoming, 2013). 1. Call to adventure The story begins with the main character longing for a change – or having one forced upon her or him. Maybe a mysterious visitor calls (Harry Potter), or an evil parent-figure rejects her/him (Snow White). Often the main character feels called by destiny for great things (Skywalker, or Horus in ancient Egypt).

2. Meet the Mentor Setting out on the journey, the protagonist meets a wise person who offers advice, gifts and support. In Homer’s Odyssey, the goddess Athena (right) takes the role of mentor. The mentor may be a recurring contributor to the story, like Dumbledore, who plays the role of the Good Father whom Harry Potter never knew.


3. Portal With the help of the mentor, the protagonist reaches the threshold of an unfamiliar world.

There may be a test of some kind to be allowed to pass through the portal, or something the protagonist needs to bring – like a towel, in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 4. New friends In the unfamiliar world beyond the portal, the protagonist needs and finds new friends – who may themselves be on a similar journey. Ron and Hermione for Harry Potter, the seven dwarves for Snow White. Together, with the help of a mentor, the friends seek a ‘map’ of the new world.


5. A labyrinth and a testing time Whether the new world is a new school or work-place, an ‘alternative reality’ (Alice in Wonderland), or a new galaxy, it may appear as a labyrinth with unknown dangers and tests lurking around every corner, as well as clues to the way out, to be faced together by the friends.

6. The duel Finally the ‘enemy’ is revealed, and is to be overcome in single combat.


7. Return in triumph The protagonist, have faced his innermost fears (the enemy), is now more mature, a master of two worlds, acknowledged and rewarded – below, Nike the goddess of victory carries a laurel wreath.

9. Bringing new knowledge to the home community The hero or heroine can now bring new knowledge to the service of the community at home (below, Gandhi’s Salt March after his return to India). Until the next adventure calls…


A Journey in Eight Stages ending, as it began, at home – with an older, wiser hero, who has mastered the unfamiliar and brings treasure to enrich the home community

Hero’s journey 2. Mentor 4. Allies

1. Call to adventure





8. Masters of two worlds









7. Confirmation


6. The Big Fight

Annexe 3. Hero’s Journey storyboards

Hero’s Journey

Year 2012.

Made by: __________________________________________________________________ If you want to draw more:


Home: _________________________________________________________________________ Frame 1 (problem): ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

Frame 2 (Call to Adventure): ____________________ ____________________________________________

Frame 3 (meeting mentor): ______________________ Mentors gift __________________________________

Frame 4 (portal): __________________________________________________


Frame 5 (Ally/friend): __________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Frame 6 (clue): _______________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Frame 7 (Final struggle): _______________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Reward: _____________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Frame 8 (taking the reward home): _______________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________


Drawing for Life  
Drawing for Life  

A guide for leaders of workshops for comics for sustainable development