Tag Archive for Sequential Art

Developmentally Disabled Create Comic Books

Volunteer Jennifer Kotschwar, a University of Nebraska at Kearney senior  and a special education major from Kearney, oversees the creation of Jessica  Walker's comic. Walker was one of nine participants in the Arc's recent comic  books class, which helped developmentally disabled individuals create their  own comics. Photo AP

Volunteer Jennifer Kotschwar, a University of Nebraska at Kearney senior oversees the creation of Jessica Walker’s comic. Walker was one of participants which helped developmentally disabled individuals create their own comics. Photo AP Images

KEARNEY, NE — The nonprofit Arc of Buffalo County helps give children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they live, learn, work, and play. It is now helping developmentally disabled people make their own comic books.

Executive Director Kristen Larsen said, the Arc wanted to encourage its clients to get creative. That led to comic books, which more and more educators agree, are appealing to all age groups as a creative tool and educational outlet.

The class, part of the Arc’s Teens in Action program, is oriented toward anyone with developmental disabilities regardless of age. 

 “We’ve opened up the class to anyone in middle school on up through the young adulthood age, but really it seems to be more popular with the older teens and younger adults,” Larsen said.

Using the software Comic Life, the comic creation class lasts six weeks.  Participants created comic books with varied themes such as science fiction fantasy and real-life comics depicting friends and family. “It’s also helping to increase their strength to be able to focus on a task for a long amount of time” says Larsen.

Donna Montgomery, a professor teaching special education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and president of the Arc Board of Directors, said individuals could create comic books using assistive technology such as word prediction software to help with the writing.

“They don’t have to write a lot,” said Montgomery. “All of the individuals that participate in this group have developmental disabilities. This allows them to write stories and books.”

See also: Comics as an Educational Resource, ‘The Comic Book Project’ Goes Global, Cultivating the Next Generation of Comic Professionals

Guide To Professional Comics

Marvel's Avengers

Marvel’s Avengers

With the recent global box office success of Marvel’s Avengers taking in a whopping $1.8 billion in ticket sales and DC’s Dark Knight Rises with just over $1 billion there is no doubt the public’s fascination with superheroes and their comic book origins has hit an all time high. This has lead to artists eager to tap into working within the field but are left wondering exactly what does it take to break into the comic book industry?

Creating a comic book:

Legendary comic author, artist and inker Walt Simonson has been in the industry

Walt Simonson  Photo by W. Simonson

Walt Simonson
Photo by W. Simonson

for over 40 years having worked on Thor, X-Men, Avengers, X-Factor, Hulk, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and a number of others. He is probably best known for his work on Thor, a comic he wrote and drew in the 1980s.  He has also taught at New York City’s School of Visual Arts.

Simonson describes his art process deftly, “I like to try to create a balance between the words and pictures in a comic.  I work to keep both as fluid as I can.”

“First, I create a summary of the story I’m working on.  The summary might be anywhere from one to three pages long for a 20 page comic book.”

“Next, I thumbnail the story, each page of thumbnails contains simple sketched panels, establishing my compositions and my visual storytelling.

“After finishing the script based on my thumbnails, I send the layouts, and my script, off to a letterer.  He follows my script and letters all the words on all the pages.  The letterer also adds the panel borders and balloon borders in ink.”

“Once I have the pages back, I carefully pencil all of the art. When that’s done, I ink everything with India ink, using various pens and brushes. My editor will then have it colored and sent out for printing as a comic book.”

Script and art by Walt Simonson all work copyright of DC Comics 2012

Script and art by Walt Simonson all work copyright of DC Comics 2012


Christopher Sotomayor - Digital colorist and founder of Sotocolor Graphics

Christopher Sotomayor – Digital colorist and founder of Sotocolor Graphics. Photo by C. Sotomayor

Christopher Sotomayor founder and CEO of Sotocolor Graphics, has been a digital colorist within the comic industry for over 16 years.  He has worked on Spiderman, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Avengers as well as several graphic novels.

Sotomayor teaches color theory in an online program called Comic Experience.  He breaks down the coloring process of comics simply and effectively, “After a writer provides a script detailing what happens in each comic, the art process begins. A penciller is tasked with drawing out everything that the writer has put in the script in order to tell their particular story.  The pencil-drawn art then goes to the next phase, and the inker is called upon to refine what the penciller has drawn so that it can be cleanly reproduced for the printed page.  This is all done with black ink, leaving the art in a very carefully reworked black & white state.  The pages of artwork (there are usually 20 pages in a standard comic) are then scanned and sent to the Colorist, whose job it is to color the artwork, providing volume and ‘life’ to each drawing.”

Sotomayor shows the step by step process of cover color art.

Sotomayor shows the step by step process of cover color art. All art is copyright of Marvel 2012

Both veterans of the industry agree that up and coming artists should never stop studying their craft. Sotomayor adds, “Art, your knowledge and application of it, is constantly evolving.  If you want to make it your livelihood, learn to evolve with it.  Treat yourself as a business, and take your reputation seriously. “

For information on other careers related to comics check: Multimedia Artists and Animators, Cartoonist, or freelance artist.

Additional Resources:

The Hero Initiative

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

History of the Comic Code Seal



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