Sep 192012

Thanks for reading our latest blog recap, for Meltdown University’s Comics for Kids:  This week’s lesson (and this blog post) focuses on DIALOGUE, and WORD BALLOONS.

Dialogue can be a lot more complicated than just what a character says.  The same line of dialogue will be different depending on the facial expression of the character who says it– or how the dialogue box itself was actually drawn.  Some dialogue boxes are barely there, and others are very important to the entire LAYOUT of the comic.

Scroll down to read the lesson plan and what we learned on this front.  As usual, scroll down below that to see what the kids came up with.

Thanks for reading!



Using the SHAPE of Word Balloons to help your characters talk, and using DRAWINGS and DIALOGUES together to tell your story!


When you talk to your friends, how do you know what they’re saying?


(HINT:  You use your EARS!)

In comics, you know what a character is saying because YOU—as the writer, artist, or reader—can SEE what the characters on the page can hear!

That means that it is very important HOW your bubbles and text are drawn, as well as how your CHARACTERS APPEAR when speaking them.

The first part of today’s lesson is going to use an actual comic book story, to tell the lesson!

Scott McCloud is an artist who teaches how to draw comics, and he has some very helpful things to say about making talk bubbles, and how to make sure your characters’ FACES and BODIES match up correctly with, A)  Their feelings, and B)  What they are saying.


The next pictures show great examples, from his comics written and copyrighted by him in “Understanding Comics,” of just how useful bubbles are, when paired up with character’s face and body expressions!


The great thing about comics, is that pictures can tell the story for you.  You do not need to use descriptive words, the way they are used in a novel.

Below is an example of this, using this dialogue:

A:  Hey, dude.  How are you?

B:  I’m really good.  Thanks for asking.  And you?

A:  Good, thanks.


On the surface, this conversation is friendly.  But look at how it could go two ways:

And now, scroll down to see the awesome work done by the Meltdown University students– this week, it ranges from creating their own work, to creating the dialogue and story in bubbles spoken by characters who someone ELSE drew, to creating the drawings around stories/dialogue written by someone else.  Thanks for reading!

First up, we have new work from a new student!

Louis did some great new character work with a ninja style fighter (and practiced character designs, as a new student), and also came up with funny drawings, as well as funny captions, for pre-drawn or written pages.

The Robot is particularly funny, as he is charming and knows how to use reverse psychology.

Next up, we have the work of Carson Strassman!

He began some original character drawings after being inspired by the writing and drawing of the exercises.  His humor was quick, witty, and even random in some of these comics!

Carson included an animal drawing of a dragon (as per the previous lesson), and began a new story before class ended: about “Mr. Unstoppable!”

Now, for the work of Jackson Siegel!

He designed some original characters after working on the class project.  Sentry and shock are both tough characters– and no matter what shape the bubble was that they were speaking with, it’s a safe bet that any nemesis of theirs would want to run away, quickly.

 The quick dialogue in Jackson’s class work, and insults characters flung at each other, were reminiscent of a cartoon show that is kids friendly, but still just a bit mischievous!

Now, here’s Woody Tuttle’s work!

Woody too did some very cool things by creating new character designs, as well as coming up with silly, funny happenings between the characters in the comics he either filled in with drawings, or with writing.  Unfortunately for the robot in his comic– and despite the human girl’s best efforts– hugs do not necessarily “heal the pain!”

He also showed that a flying dragon character’s screech, even when not held in by the lines of a bubble, can still be a bit scary.  Look at the hungry smile on that dragon!

And last but not least, here’s the work of Milo Evaschen!

Milo used the exercise as an opportunity to create a one panel comic already written, where he drew the characters (seen below, and showing that even “Knock Knock” jokes can cause characters to be surprised, frustrated, and caught off guard), as well as an opportunity to write out one full page comic.

He then returned to his own character and story work, which focuses on a fantasy tale complete with robots, aliens, and of course– set on another planet.

Thanks for reading the blog, and tune in for the next Comics for Kids Recap!