Comics session - Guardian Teacher Network

Comics session: leader’s notes
Learning objectives
By the end of this session young people will:
 understand how and why Grassroots comics are used for campaigning around the
 have the opportunity to make a comic to campaign on an issue that is important to
them (for example, climate change).
Target age
60+ minutes
Curriculum links
See page 7 of One Climate, One World Action guide for young people.
One Climate, One World ‒ OCOW.
This session explores comic-drawing as a way to campaign on any issue. Students need to
be familiar with the particular issue in order to use this method. If your young people wish
to use comic-drawing to advocate on climate change, please first use our OCOW
Campaign session at to explore this issue with your
You will need:
 PowerPoint and projector or appropriate PowerPoint pages printed out and copied
 pencils
 black ink pens
 scrap paper
 comic templates (PowerPoint slide 13) copied onto A3 paper – enough for one
template per person or pair.
Grassroots comics can be made by anyone – you do not have to be professional cartoonist.
They each address one social issue and are distributed in a local area to encourage debate.
Grassroots comics are inexpensive and easy to make, you just need pen and paper. The
Grassroots Comics Movement was started by cartoonists, development journalists and
activists looking to use their skills to help improve society. This method is now used all over
the world. For more information, visit
CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB.
Registered Charity No. 285776.
Icebreaker What's on your face? (10 mins)
This icebreaker introduces young people to drawing faces for
Show the PowerPoint slide two, or demonstrate, drawing a
face with a circle and T shape.
Divide the group into pairs or small groups. Give one person
in each group a piece of scrap paper and pencil. Tell the
others to close their eyes.
Quickly show the people with the paper and pencil the word
'happy', then take the word down. The person then draws a
happy face using the circle and T shape. The rest of the group
guesses what emotion they are drawing. Give a point to the
team to guess the correct emotion first.
Young people take turns to be the person drawing. Other emotions to draw could be
'worried', 'confused', 'angry', 'relaxed' etc. Congratulate the winning team.
Input World Comics (10+ mins)
This input explains how comic drawing can be used to campaign and
why it works.
Explain that campaigning means getting your voice heard on
important issues and calling for positive change. Comic drawing has been used by CAFOD
partners in Sri Lanka.
Stick up the five example comics (PowerPoint slides five to nine)
around the room (or give one to each pair of young people). Ask
them to look at the comics and work out what message the artist is
aiming to get across. As a group, gather feedback on each comic
and share the message for each comic if the young people have not
identified the correct message themselves.
To explore this campaigning method more deeply, you could ask the group, what are the
benefits of getting your message across through a comic? What are the drawbacks? Do this
either through group or pair discussion, or give each young person two post-it notes. Ask the
young people to write a benefit on one and a drawback on the other, and come and stick
them up at the front and read what others have written.
CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB.
Registered Charity No. 285776.
Benefits may include: easy to do; not expensive; anyone can do it – don’t need to be
powerful or be able to read and write; inexpensive to produce; fun to look at or they make
people think. Drawbacks may include: not everyone is happy drawing or other mediums may
be more useful in getting your point across in some places.
Explain the benefits of using comics in Sri Lanka. For example: they are a good way to reach
people who cannot read and write; a way for people to enable their priorities to be heard by
local government; children and young people enjoyed making them on issues important to
them and there have been exhibitions of comics at important meetings.
Individual or pair work What’s the story? (15+ mins)
In this section young people will decide on the story they will tell
through their comic. For example, they may want to tell a story about
how climate change affects them, or others around the world, in
order to influence politicians to take action.
If the focus of your session is to tell a story on the theme of climate change or sustainable
energy, then pick a particular aspect of this theme. For example:
The effect of climate change on a particular community.
The benefits of sustainable energy for a particular community.
How living more simply and sustainably makes a difference to looking after our world.
How politicians need to take the opportunity now to come to a global agreement on
climate change.
Once they have decided on a topic, ask the young people to make their topic into a short
story. It should have four parts:
1. introduction
2. development,
3. twist
4. conclusion.
The story should be between four and nine sentences long.
For example: My story is on the theme of climate change. It will show
the benefits of sustainable energy for a community overseas in order
to persuade politicians that sustainable energy is useful and we
should use more of it. It is based on Veronica’s story (OCOW Action
guide for young people, page 2).
CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB.
Registered Charity No. 285776.
1. Veronica lives on a farm in a beautiful area of rural Kenya with lots of sunshine.
2. She wants to be a successful when she grows up so she studies hard at school.
3. But there is no electricity in her area, so she cannot see her books to do her
homework in the evening.
4. Because she is hardworking, she won a solar lantern at school, which means she can
now study in the evening. She is pleased as she has some big exams coming up so
she will be fully prepared.
Individual/pair work Make a comic (30+ minutes)
In this section, young people create their own comic on a climate
change or sustainable energy theme.
Share PowerPoint slides 14-16 on how to create a comic. Provide
copies of the comic template on PowerPoint slide 13 copied onto A3
paper for each person/pair. Then give the following instructions:
Plan what your characters look like on scrap paper.
Draw your cartoon in pencil in the comic template. The template
should be used in the portrait direction.
Add in speech bubbles or captions.
Check you are happy with your story, go over the pencil lines in
ink and rub out the pencil when the ink is dry.
Add a catchy title.
Give the group the chance to share their comics with each other.
Follow up Share your comics
Facilitate the group to work out how they will display their comics with
maximum impact. You could:
hold an exhibition in your school or parish.
email a copy to your local parliamentary candidates, if climate change is your chosen
theme, so they know you want them to work for an agreement on climate change.
Remember, CAFOD does not seek to influence voters for or against a particular
political party, candidate or category of candidates.
take photos of any comics on a climate change theme and share them through social
media, tagging @cafod #OneClimateOneWorld.
CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB.
Registered Charity No. 285776.
send photos of them to CAFOD to share on our website,
making sure you have the correct permissions.
Finally, help the group to evaluate what difference sharing their comics have made.
What can we do next?
If your chosen theme was climate change, encourage young people to send an online
message to party leaders calling for action to stop climate change pushing people
deeper into poverty –
Encourage young people to live more simply and sustainably. Find ideas in the OCOW
Action guide for young people.
If you are working with a sixth form group, you could invite them to become regular
MP correspondents and sign up to contact their MPs three times a year. A briefing
pack and sign up form are available at
Download lots of free resources to engage young people in the climate campaign at
We thank World Comics India for allowing us to share and adapt their
Grassroots comics advocacy method for this session. Find out more
about World Comics India and download a detailed comic-making guide
December 2014
CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB.
Registered Charity No. 285776.
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