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Time Required


3 sessions of 90 minutes    

Learning Objectives

Developing communication and language skills through the reading and co-creating short comics through the use of inter-semiotic translation. Getting familiar with topics such as social, environmental issues, improving digital skills

Materials needed


  • Empty A4 sheets

  • Drawing papers

  • Drawing pencils and erasers

  • Chart paper and/or white board and marker

  • Rulers

  • Watercolours or inks or markers

  • Various brushes

  • Cups of water

  • Printed Handouts:

Trainer’s preparation needs:


  • Printing the the comics

  • Trying out the exercices with one of the comics before upsetting the workshop.

  • Preparing and printing the handouts

  • Learning more about scriptwriting, sketching and concepts related to comics  (See in « Resources, further reading and background information »)

Lesson Steps

Part/Session 1 : Interpreting images (Inter-semiotic translation part I: From image to text)

1. Distribute the comics the handout with the empty bubbles (Handout1) and empty boxes (Handout 2) and Identify the topic collectively based on the following questions:

Where does the story take place? Where do the specific scenes of each box take place?
Who are the heroes? How are they (age, sex, physical characteristics, etc.) How are they related to each other?
What are they doing?
What are their difficulties? What are they talking about?  
Give a title to the comics.
2. During the discussion, write the keywords, new expression on a whiteboard. The participants can use the Handout 2 with the empty panels (Handout 2) to note the new words. They may also draw details to identify the new words.

COMIC - Imperative - empty 1.png

2. Participants will fill out individually the Handout 3 by adding notes. Notes can be words, expression or more complex sentences based on the participants language skills.
3. Check the answers. Listen to at least one description for each box
4. Form pairs and fill up the empty bubbles with dialogues based on what you have discussed previously.
5. Each pair will read out-loud the dialogues they wrote. Encourage them to accompany their reading with gestures, like in a theatre performance.  

Skills developed:

Writing skills
Oral self expression
Analytical/interpretation skills

Part/Session 2: Bilingual/Multilingual comics reading (Inter-semiotic translation part II: From text and image to performance)


1. Distribute the comics with the texts in two versions: the participants language of origin and the local language (Handouts 4 and 5) and  sheets with empty panels (Handout 2) to note new words and expressions

2. Give some time to read the comics individually in both languages.

3. Go through each panel in both language. Read them out loud and ask if there are any new words in the dialogues. Note the words on the whiteboard. Participants can use the Handout 2 to note new words in both languages.

4. Form groups of as many participant as the heroes in the comics in question. Groups shall decide about each one’s role. Give them some time to practice reading the text out loud. You can also play with mixing the languages.

5. Make a group reading. Pay attention to really play the roles of each character.

6. Give some time for each participant to learn their sentences by heart. (They can learn them word by word or memorise the essential)

7. Make them play the scenes again without reading.

COMIC 2 COTA - Imperative - PAGE 1 (German version)(1).png
new words-Récupéré.png

Skills developed

Oral self expression
Performing skills

Part/Session 3: Scriptwriting and comics sketching (Inter-semiotic translation part III: From text to image

Discuss with your participants the main subject of the comics you have been working with. Example: The « Imperative » comics treats difficulties of everyday life when someone live in a foreign country, such as understanding the administrative system, learn the language, etc.
Form groups of 3 or 4 participants. With the help of the Handout 6, each group will co-design a script for a comics. Comics might include from 1 to 6 panels, depending on your timeframe.
The Handout shall contain the following questions/topics:

Formulate a message
What is the main topic/message? Who is it addressed to?
(Example: the « Imperative »’s message is « Keep on in spite of the difficulties, accept help and concentrate on what is essential in like such as family, harmonious and funny moments ». It is addressed to people having similar difficulties as the main characters.)

Create characters/heroes
Who are the main characters? How are they? Where are they from? Think of details, how can they be identified (cloths, age, sex, cultural background, etc.)

Create a univers
Where do they live? How is the world surrounding them? Think of what they see outside and inside in their homes, at their workplace, etc.) You can think of secondary characters they meet, etc.
(Example of the « Imperative »: inside: technical difficulties at home, a modest environment, outside: industrial landscape, they probably live in a suburban area. At work: unpleasant, consumerist environment but colleagues might be nice and helpful, administrative staff might be unhelpful, etc.)

4.  Create a storyboard

To conceive the story, encourage the participants to find inspiration in their personal experiences linked to the topic in question. The story might be based on a real situation they lived. Encourage them to imagine a different ending of the story or a different suit of events. How could it have happened differently? How they  or others should have reacted or acted in that specific situation?

To create the storyboard, you can use handouts with pre-drawn boxes or use white papers. Participants shall imagine that they must give instructions to the artist and they have to be as precise as possible to describe the scenes  with details. They have to write the descriptions of the scenes into the boxes.

5. Make sketches
To transmit your idea to the artist in an even more precise way, make sketches. You don’t have to worry about the aesthetics, you can draw stick figures, symboles combined to words, schematised drawing. Use also colours if it is important for your purpose.

6. Ask each group to share their scripts and sketches  

Skills developed:

Creative skills
Communication skills
Self-expression about personal difficulties
Visual content making

Extensions and blended elements

Participants interested in drawing and visual arts can develop further the scripts and sketches and propose a comics as a blended activity

Resources, further reading and background information to prepare your lessons:

Internal resources:

Downloadable comics in Arabic, English, French, German, Turkish, Ukrainian

Comics with empty panels

General advices for the layout and creating digital content

The page layout

Examples for the text and image relationship

About the use and meanings of colours

Use of other media than paper to create comics


External resources:

Sub-Cultural comics

Comics for Change

Comics and literacy

Addressing social questions through comics (in German)


COMIC - Imperative - empty 1.png

Empty comics about social values

I am homemade 1  empty.png

Empty comics about environment

The cake 1  empty.png

Empty comics about the digital world

empty comocs
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