Web Comic

For this remake option, you will translate the passage of non-fiction prose into a web comic of at least three panels (if you have cause to do something different, this is a discussable point). The purpose of this remake is to capture some key idea or tension in the passage, to experience the challenges involved with writing in images and text, and to develop a sense of how aspects of style, such as the choices McCloud alerts us to, hold up in different presentational modes. You can develop your web comic using ink and paper or using any of the resources available to you online, including:

Pixton: Comic creator with stock drawings (online) I highly recommend this one for beginners and for those who prefer not to draw.

Other Template-Drive Platforms
Strip Generator

Additional Resources
Flickr Creative Commons: Photos and images licensed for others to use with attribution
Comic life: Comic layout and bubbling application with free trial version for Mac and PC (download)
Inkscape: Open source vector illustration application (Mac and PC)
Gimp: Open source alternative to Photoshop (Mac and PC)
Bubblr: Bubbling and sequencing of Flickr images (online)
BeFunky.com: Image filtering and cropping (online)

Examples of Web Comics
Hyperbole and a Half
The Oatmeal
Dinosaur Comics
Top Shelf 2.0

Additional Considerations
On a PC, press the PrintScreen key to capture what is displaying. In your image editing software, press CTRL-V to paste the screen capture. Crop the screen capture to the edges of the portion you want to keep. On a Mac, use ⌘+shift+3 to capture the full screen or ⌘+shift+4 to capture a portion of the screen. The screen capture will be routed to your desktop as a .jpg file, unless otherwise specified.

Cropping involves trimming an image file to the edges of any portion you want to keep. BeFunky.com has a cropping tool, as does Picnik.com. When you are cropping or resizing images, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the original in case you want to go back and adjust the cropped portion.

Image Quality
As a general rule, for the work you are producing in ENGL328 image resolution of 72dpi or 96 dpi is adequate. Higher resolutions are used for printed materials (i.e., printed photo quality is best at 300dpi or higher). Also, the individual panels of a comic (with the exception of a one-panel comic) do not need to be higher than 700 pixels in either dimension. In other words, avoid downloading excessively large files from Flickr Creative Commons because they may end up making the file size large and cumbersome.

I produced this example using a free trial version of Comic Life (available on PC and Mac), a couple of photos from Flickr Creative Commons, and a character I drew in Inkscape, a free, open source drawing application.

Web comic draft

Web Comic Remake Note

With this web comic, "Industrial Organic," I sought to amplify the tension (antithesis) Michael Pollan alerts us to between the ideals of the organic movement and the expansion of industrial-scale "organic farms." This tension manifests most conspicuously in the aisles of every Whole Foods Market, where Pollan tells us out-dated images of local farmers humanize the mass produced products, adding the lore of "human touch" to everything on the shelves. In the comic, two nameless shoppers engage in an unlikely conversation about the awe-inspiring produce in a Whole Foods. Non-seasonal, non-local produce, Pollan reminds us, might be appealing, but it must travel many, many miles. Problems like these complicate the pastoral ideals evoked in loose labels such as "organic."

Another example of a production process

The following three-panel comic was sketched in class last fall. After class, I scanned the image so I could sharpen the lines and render it more clearly in Inkscape.

Scanned draft

I downloaded and installed a free copy of Inkscape. Next, I opened the scanned image and placed it in a background layer (following the guidance of the tutorial here). Inkscape uses vector-based graphics, which are easy to manipulate (i.e., a crooked line is easy to adjust). After I reproduced the images in Inkscape, I imported the panels into Comic Life, added word bubbles, and output the strip you see here. The most tedious step in the process was reproducing the artwork in Inkscape, and this is a step you can by-pass if you 1) use images from Flickr Creative Commons or 2.) use the original hand-drawn artwork in your comic.

Drawn in inkscape