Comics Corner #1

This activity originally appeared on, a source for simple living and creative, frugal activities. 

Time to settle in and make some comics! This should take a little over an hour and a half, so give yourself some time to be present!

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To start, here’s a thought: Comics is the visual language of encoding and decoding realities. Nibble on that for a little while you work on this week’s excercise.

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Grab a pencil and make four square boxes. These will be your panels. However big you want. I typically make mine 3” by 3”.

If you’d like, grab 4 post it notes and use each note as a panel.

It’s time for some music. Put your audio player (mp3 player, computer, what have you) on shuffle. We’re looking for songs with lyrics. Take a moment and listen for a while. You’re encouraged to doodle on a separate sheet of paper or in a notebook while you listen.
Write a lyric in pencil that catches your interest in the first box. One sentence long, at the most. Single words are OK.

Press next.

Repeat in 2nd box.

Press next.

repeat in 3rd box.

Press next.
repeat in last box.

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It’s time to draw and get our brains to start writing in pictures. I’d like you to make a 10 by 10 grid of 1/2” by 1/2” boxes and doodle out 100 things.  One drawing in each box. 30 seconds on each box max. If you think telephone, draw how you represent the idea of “telephone”. Fill up all those boxes. Don’t stop drawing! If you’re lucky you can get to a point where you no longer think in words.(Credit goes to Ivan Brunetti for this activity.)

Your warm up is complete. Look at how many things you’ve drawn!

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It’s time to make the comics magic happen. Give yourself a half hour here. Now go back to your 4 boxes with lyrics.  What could you draw in each box to connect these seemingly unconnected lyrics? Draw!

Do you want to rewrite your words? Would editing these words make things click together. How will you write these words? Will they appear captions? Will some character say them? You are welcome to not use the words in one panel.

This is the puzzle. This is where your heart and your wits come in. This is the challenge that only you can master.

It is my belief that if you make the goal of your comics the communication of funny, beautiful and or interesting ideas, you can make comics with any level of drawing ability. If you do them for long enough and think about them long and hard enough each time, you’ll make comics that you love to make.

Feel free to email your comics to if you’d like me to see them! Photos or scans are great.

See you next week!

Inaugural Mini-market @ Pullproof

PULLPROOF Studios - mini-market

PULLPROOF Studios - mini-market

The weekend before last I sold and shared comics during the Penn Avenue Unblurred gallery crawl. I set up shop at PULLPROOF Studio’s inaugural Mini-Market. All in all, it featured zines, prints, and jewelry by a local crew of great artists. It was really nice company. Among us were Jenna HoustonLizzee SolomonCity Slicker PressMax Emiliano GonzalesJerome “Chu” Charles, Asia Lae, Lilian Kababa!

PULLPROOF Studio is an in-progress printmaking studio in Pittsburgh, PA. They intend to offer a fully equipped silkscreen printing facility with a shared workspace and small storefront gallery at 5112 Penn Avenue in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their mission is to provide affordable access to silkscreen printing equipment, space, and time to artists in the Western Pennsylvania area. It’s going to be nice to have them in addition to the Artists Image Resource on the North Side.

I did my best Frank Santoro/Bill Boichel impersonation and brought comics to the people. Frank loaned me a stash of Colombian comics from when he’d been invited to Entreviñetas in 2014. It was nice to sell those and see them make their way into the hands of Pittsburghers.

I’ve been collecting and curating a wide array of zines and comics that express the vision of visual literacy that I’d like to see more of in the world. Among those collected comics, I also sell comics that I’ve helped produce, my own and those of the Pittsburgh Comics Salon. It’s a healthy mix.

I like to make it concretely clear to people, through in-person experience, that, yes, whatever you’re into, there’s a comic or zine you’re going to love. It’s nice to proselytize as a vendor, not just an educator or artist. I’ll be setting up shop with this set around town some more in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled.

A huge thank you to PULLPROOF, Christina Lee in specific, for inviting me and hosting this event. This is the kind of selling and sharing of comics and culture I want to see more of in Pittsburgh.