Graphic novels

Home learning focus

To get inspired by graphic novels.

This lesson includes:

  • one video to introduce you to the graphic novel
  • one news article in which graphic novel creators discuss the impact of their work
  • three activities to inspire you to create part of your own graphic novel

Learn

Watch this clip to learn about an exciting form of storytelling.

David Almond and Eoin Colfer explore contemporary narrative writing.

What is a graphic novel?

  • A graphic novel is a type of storytelling that uses words and comic style illustrations.
  • A graphic novel uses the recognisable comic strip format of panels and speech bubbles etc.
  • Graphic novels are mostly made up from dialogue but some also have parts of the story in boxes in the corner of the panels.
  • A graphic novel can be from any genre, but fantasy and science fiction are particularly popular.

Sometimes a novel starts as a words-only book and then a graphic novel version is also published. For example, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series started as a words-only book, but has become a very successful graphic novel. Many popular fiction books have been turned into graphic novels.

What is the difference between a graphic novel and a comic?

  • A graphic novel is usually longer and has a more complicated story.
  • Graphic novels often have a filmic quality - as if you are watching still images from an animation film.
  • Comics traditionally appeared in magazines and are often shorter with a less developed story line.

Graphic novels are not just for young people, there are also graphic novels for adults. Anyone can enjoy a graphic novel. If you haven't read one already you might find graphic novels a great way to fall in love with reading.

Take a look at this BBC News article
document

Read this BBC News article about a group of writers who use a graphic novel to change perceptions of their hometown.

Practise

Activity 1

Get creative and turn a section of your favourite book into a graphic novel section or write your own graphic novel about your own town.

Top tips

  • You could start by turning a section of your favourite novel into a script. This will help you focus on how to carefully select relevant dialogue to tell the story. Focus on how your selected dialogue tells the story and tells the audience about your characters.

Tara: Are you sure we’re meant to be here?
Libby: Don’t walk so loudly… they might hear us.
Tara: Who will hear us?

  • If you don’t like drawing, you could work remotely with a friend or relative that does. You could email them the dialogue and they could produce the drawings.

  • There are free apps and websites available for creating your own graphic novels or comic strips. You can find further blank pages to print or copy at the end of this article.

Graphic novel template
activity

Activity 2

Graphic novels are just one way of telling a story. Click the image to take a look at a page with clips and advice on how to make your own animation.

Can you animate one of your favourite books?

How do I make an amazing animation?
activity

Where next?

In this lesson you have been introduced to the graphic novel and experimented with writing your own section of a graphic novel. There are other useful articles to help you with your creative writing.

There's more to learn

Bitesize Daily lessons
KS3 English
Doctor Who
video
11 - 14 English Literature
Discover new books
Comic book tempates