Create a Comic Strip

Create a Comic Strip

with Ted Bergeron


A one hour class on making comic strips


We’ll cover how to make a comic strip in three steps.

  1. Story

  2. Art

  3. Sharing


What is your favorite comic strip?

Parts of a Comic Strip

  • Panels

  • Word Balloons

  • Characters


Step 1: Story

Before you begin work on the art, you need the story.

Theme and Genre

  • Theme of your comic strip

  • Pick a setting and characters

  • Genre: Comedy, SciFi…​

Not a writer? Collaborate with one.

Writing Daily Comic Strip

For example, let’s focus on a funny comic strip.

  • Gag comic is most popular

  • Typically 3-4 panels

  • Get to the punchline

Example Hoot 'N' Whoo


Story Start

Use two characters to talk to each other.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

What could you do to make this funny?


To get away from the taco stand.

Check Yourself

Is it funny?

  • Try exaggerating

The Story

  1. we see a chicken crossing the road

    • Dog says: Why did the chicken cross the road?

  2. we see a taco stand

    • Armadillo says: Duh! and points to the sign

  3. sign says: Special Chicken Tacos

Step 2: Art

  • Character Design: What do your characters look like?

Sketch characters



Set Design

What does the scene look like?

Scout locations.


  • Make some quick thumbnail sketches of your story.

  • Choosing the moment

    • Close up, medium shot…​

    • Action shot. Best if characters are doing something.

    • Funny reaction pose


Typically artists work at twice the printed size on Bristol board.

  • 13" x 4" for original art

    • 4 panels each 3-1/4" wide

    • 3 panels each 26 picas wide

    • 1/4" gutter size

Find 11 x 14 or 11 x 17 at any craft or art store.

Layout Paper

We will work at 1-1/2 times the printed size on copy paper.

Create the container for the comic strip; draw lightly.

  • 9-3/4" wide (leave about 3/4" on each side)

  • 3" tall

Demo using your arm, pivot at elbow to draw straight lines
Since we don’t have a ruler, just use your best guess. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Start with Words

  • The top 1/3 is for your words

  • The bottom 2/3 is for your art.

Typically the character that speaks first is on the left.



  • Make your letters 1/8" high

  • Leave 1/16" leading

Use a lettering guide
  • Pencil in the words first, very lightly

  • Too many words? Go back to the writer

Word Balloons

Words should fit nicely inside the balloons. Balloon tail points towards the character’s mouth



Refer to the thumbnails. Draw with a light touch. Get the foundation right, before adding details


Drawing Characters

  • Expressions

  • Poses: have your characters doing something.


Make it darker. Permanent marker, brush or pen


Caution About Permanent Ink

Make sure you ink doesn’t bleed through and ruin the table.

Use a clipboard or cardboard under your paper.


Water Colors, Markers: Copic, Colored Pencils


Step 3: Sharing

Sharing is the 21st century way to publish

Social Media

What app do you use to share with friends and family?

  • MySpace

  • Friendster

  • GeoCities

(early turn of the century sites)

Snap or Scan

Just use your phone to take a picture and

share it on Facebook or Twitter

You might want to get a flatbed scanner.

Newspaper Syndication

King Features is one of the world’s largest syndicates.

  • Cover letter with your contact info.

  • 24 daily comic strips

    • Put 3 or 4 strips per page

  • A character sheet

Physically mail them to NY, wait 8 - 12 weeks .

Web Comics

  • Come up with a schedule: M - W - F

  • Keep 6 weeks ahead

  • Be faithful to post a comic on schedule


Make Comics

You can do it!


I’ll be around for a while, please stick around and feel free to ask questions. - Ted Bergeron