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Teaching Comic Books: Art Lesson Plan



GRADES: 7, 8

UNIT AIM:  Create a historical comic book using line, shape, and value.


  • Apply knowledge of various aspects of line
  • Apply knowledge of perspective to drawings
  • Understand and apply knowledge of shape to draw figures/scenes
  • Understand and apply knowledge of value
  • Interpret instructions and create images based on instructions from writers
  • Work independently to visually communicate a particular message
  • Work in groups to create cohesive images
  • Assess and communicate individual needs regarding image references

TEKS Objectives: 7.3a; 7.4a,b; 8.3a; 8.4a,b

MEDIUM: Graphite pencils, erasers, drawing paper

ELEMENTS & PRINCIPLES: line, value, shape, and composition

RESOURCES: Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman, Elie Weisel


DESCRIPTION:  This was a large project, not just because of the number of students involved, but also because of the many stages of development.  This lesson is for the latter part of the project.  Once my class became part of this project, the research, writing, and planning were already underway.  Ideally this lesson works in conjunction and in support of what is happening in either the History or Language Arts class.  Toward the end of the project, we listened to selections of Night by Elie Weisel as the students worked independently.


  • Day 1: We start class with discussion on Holocaust.  Students discuss timeline and events.  I allow students to lead discussion and merely guide and fill in gaps.  We then discuss the significance of the event.  We look at graphic novels Maus and Persepolis and discuss significance of line, shape, and value in specific frames—How do these simple elements communicate a message and emotion?
  • Day 2: Students look at the pages from the student writers.  Pages are assigned to groups, and each group assigns the frames on the page to specific artists (For example Group 1 is responsible for page 3.  Each frame on the page is then assigned to an artist within the group.)  Groups then discuss how frames should be illustrated to keep a cohesive feel.  Students also discuss what resources/images they will need to refer to for their frames.  Each group submits a list of resource needs.
  • Day 3: Demonstration of using shapes to create complex objects.  We briefly revisit use of line.  Students begin independent work.
  • Day 4:  Independent work time.  I circulate and work with students independently.
  • Day 5: Open with discussion of leadership and significance of our topic.  (How can we apply this to ourselves?)  I do value demonstration and display progress of several students work.  We have brief critique of a few successful pieces.  Independent work time.
  • Day 6-8:  As students complete frames they scan into class computer.  After students scan their work, I have them assist struggling students or assist with frames that have not been illustrated yet.  Once all frames are scanned we have a class critique with writers present.
  • After all discussed revisions are complete, layout and text is done digitally.  This can be done in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign.  This would be a great step for students to do together as groups.  Additional lessons could easily be added for students to utilize these graphic programs.


  • What is the difference between a leader and a great leader?
  • What is the significance of the subject we are illustrating? (to this generation,  historically, etc)
  • Do we have a responsibility to share this story with others?  Why?
  • What responsibility does an artist have to their audience?

ASSESSMENT: During independent work time, I work with kids individually.  As frames are completed we have a class critique, and artwork is displayed on the projector for students to view. Each student will discuss their ideas, their successes, and areas for improvement.  Other students have the opportunity to give feedback.  Students receive a feedback sheet with grade.  *Student writers were present during several of our class critiques to give feedback on illustrations.  This was a vital part of the process since the class was working to create the vision of the writers.