Learn the principles and narrative strategies of the classic four-panel comic with Amy Kurzweil. You can pick up a copy of Amy’s book Flying Couch from our friends at Bookshop, where proceeds will help benefit The Believer and independent bookstores.
Watch a video of the livestream below, and follow these steps to create your own four-panel comic.
1: Paper (standard size is fine).
4: Pens (optional).
5: Colored pencils (optional).
Draw a self-portrait in 60 seconds.
Classic four-panel comic principles to keep in mind:
1: Repetition of figures/characters/scenes.
2: A narrative with a start, a middle, and an ending.
4: A powerful or surprising ending.
How to create a four-panel comic:
Step 1: Draw four squares, or panels, on paper.
Step 2: Think about the first panel of your comic. It might have a setting, a character, and an object that the character is interacting with. Or, you can come up with your own combination of elements.
Step 3: Begin drawing the character, or character, of your choice.
Step 4: Move on to the second panel — there should be some movement with your character.
Step 5: Your character moves further in their narrative.
Step 6: For your last panel, here’s the opportunity to do something surprising.
Step 7: Inking over the pencil marks.
1: If you’re writing dialogue, write it out before you draw the bubble around it so that you don’t run out of space.
2: If you use pen ink, wait for the ink to draw before you do any shading, or before you erase your pencil marks.
3: If you shade your comic, you can use pencil or ink. It can be simple or detailed, depending on your style.
4: Shading in the background of a comic is a good way to create contract so that your figure or characters stand out.
We’d love to see your four-panel comic! Post it to social and tag @believermag and @amykurzweil.
This workshop was supported in part by Zappos.