Friday, November 22, 2013

Make a Comic with ComicsHead, Website and App


Make a Comic with ComicsHead, Website and App
by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com

I've used ComicsHead several times recently. I LOVE the possibilities for children to create by using comic editors, and have created a free FDF you can download called Using Comic Editors with Kids.




ComicsHead Website

First of all today I'd like to tell you about the ComicsHead editor online. It's similar to the app, though I believe the app has a greater range of elements, and a more attractive interface. But the website's a neat way to have your kids learn a little about expressing themselves via a digital format. If you're thinking about purchasing the ComicsHead app, available for both iPad and Android, you can try the website for free before you do.

ComicsHead is a generous editor. I love the variety of templates, characters, props and the versatility of the supplied tools. You can move, re-size, rotate, flip, bring to front and delete. You're supposed to be able to upload a photo to work on, but I couldn't get this tool to work. (It does work for me, however, in the app.) You can also save a draft, and save and publish if you choose to but need to be logged in and have given your comic a title, top left of your working screen.

PLEASE NOTE: Like almost all websites that allow users to save, you may find inappropriate material has been posted there. That's why I advocate adult supervision whenever kids use the internet. The comic editors are a wonderful tool for you to use WITH your kids, and you will definitely learn a lot from each other!

Pointers:

The toolbars may seem like they're in the way. You can drag them to a more suitable place.

Sometimes you choose a tool and forget you've clicked on it, accidentally doing the same process to an element as you did previously. I found it best to go back to the move tool each time so I didn't inadvertently delete an element, and have to re-find it.

Remind kids there are often options to scroll through, to see more elements.




ComicsHead App

Like most apps and editors, the best way for kids to learn about them, I believe, is to let them experiment first. Once you've downloaded the ComicsHead app, you'll likely find a big box with Create New Comic inside it, a very good place to start. If you want help, it's there in the form of video tutorials and handy tips that take you through the process. I LOVE apps that offer help if you need it. That is because I mostly DO need it!

Once you choose a template, your working screen has a menu above and below. (You can also choose from already created templates, so kids can modify them, another useful feature when you're learning an app.) You can choose backgrounds, choose from a huge range of characters and props, add speech balloons etc. Resizing is an easy pinch with the touch screen. There's a large range of tools that do more specialised tasks but kids won't need them at first. There are also lots of sharing options, including saving to camera roll and emailing.

The only problem I had once I got to know the app a little, was with the font size and choice in speech balloons. It seemed to keep defaulting to a small size in a font called Augie, no matter how often I changed it. I finally broke down and looked in Help, to discover I needed to write my text FIRST, then adjust font and size. The speech bubble re-sizing itself can be tricky sometimes. In my example above, you'll see I managed to re-size one but gave up on the second. However, this is minor. I believe ComicsHead is a versatile, generous and functional app, with many more useful options than I've mentioned here.

The iPad app is available in full version for $4.49Au ($US3.99) and a free lite version. iTunes

ComicsHead, whether website or app, is definitely another exciting editor for parents and teachers to consider when encouraging kids to express themselves.

Check out my other iPad App Reviews on Pinterest.

You might also like to read Using Comic Editors with Kids,
Biff! Zap! Pow! Using Comic Editors for Education

UPDATE: the fine folks at NextWave MultiMedia would like to offer 15 promo codes for the iPad version of ComicsHead. If you are interested in receiving a code to try ComicsHead for free on your iPad, simply send one email to thebookchook(at)gmail(dot)com with ComicsHead app in the subject line. This offer is available anywhere in the world. I will ask a random chicken to choose names and let you know if you are one on 26 November, 2014.

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