Intro to Comics and Graphic Novels

Summer 2021

Session Dates: June 27 - July 10, 2021

Location: Online

Telling unique stories through visual mediums.

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Students share stories with others by means of technology, typically through cell phones and computers. In this course, these same technologies will be used to develop and produce stories. The stories will take the form of “comics.” Students will interact with other students (and the instructor!) in the course via Zoom while sharing the comics they create.

Most students have had some experience reading either “comic books” or “graphic novels.” In this course, students will learn how to create comics by using photographs that they take using their cellphones. The photographic images will be manipulated using an easy-to-use computer software (“Comic Life 3” by Plasq; available for PCs and Macs). The comics will be produced on students’ personal computers.

In the course, students will be guided through a series of comic-making assignments. Early assignments include taking “selfies” that express various emotions, such as joy, surprise, anger, fear, disgust. These early photographs of emotions will be used to teach students how to tell stories by arranging the photographs in sequences, placing the photographs in “panels,” and adding words in “talk balloons” and “thought balloons.” These photographs will also be used to help students learn about manipulating the photographs with various types of “artistic” effects that are available through the Comic Life 3 computer software.

In the course, students will also learn about the history of comics and various genres of comics, such as “superheroes” and autobiographical “memoirs” by researching topics on the internet. Students will share what they have learned with other students in the course.

As students begin more complex stories, students will develop stories through written descriptions of “scenes,” with each scene being developed as a series of “panels.” These comics will be about the student, and may involve the student’s parents, siblings, pets, and even objects such as food, toys, clothes (students are given much freedom to create the stories they wish to tell). Other comic projects involve the student’s creation of their own “superhero” character. Finally, each student will create an autobiographical “memoir” comic that tells a story about the student’s experience with the COVID-19 virus, social justice initatives, overcoming personal obstacales and more.  

Your Adventure Begins at LMU

  • Gain an understanding of the history of comics and graphic novels
  • Learn about various comic genres and basic vocabulary
  • Work in a group of peers to develop stories and comics of your very own
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Dive Deeper

  • Pre-College Summer Programs for high school students will be offered exclusively through online instruction in summer 2021.

    Students who participated last summer enjoyed a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities that enhanced their academic studies. Whether competing for first place in our virtual “House Competition,” receiving daily 1-on-1 and group support from current LMU undergraduates, or dropping into nightly social activities with peers – students felt that one aspect of summer they loved most was the sense of community they built during their time online with LMU.

    • Gain an understanding of the history of comics and graphic novels
    • Learn about various comic genres and basic vocabulary
    • Work in a group of peers to develop stories and comics of your very own
  • Application Fee: $65

    2021 Program Cost: $2,700

    The program cost includes:

    • Tuition for online two-week, non-credit course
    • Course books and materials (if necessary)*
    • College preparedness workshops with LMU Admission and Financial Aid offices
    • Career readiness workshops with LMU's Career and Professional Development office
    • Online social activities with LMU's student ambassadors 
    • Access to current LMU faculty, staff, and students to answer any questions about the Communication Studies major, the college application process, life at LMU and more!

    *A personal computer or video conferencing capable mobile device and internet access are required for this course and are not covered in the cost of tuition and fees. 

    *Plasque's Comic Life 3 is required for this program. Students can utilize a free 30 day trial to complete this course. Download instructions will be provided prior to the start of your program. Program fees do not include the purchase of Comic Life 3.

    For additional information about program tuition and fees and payment options, please visit our Tuition and Fees page

  • This class is open to rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. No previous photography, animation or drawing experience required. 


    • Online Application
    • Personal Essay: Read the Prompt Now
    • Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or counselor
    • High School Transcripts
    • $65 Application Fee
    • TOEFL Scores (for International applicants whose primary language is not English)

    The deadline to apply is March 15, 2021.

Create the World You Want to Live In

Intro to Comics and Graphic Novels pre-college applications are available now