Graphic Adaptation


Erin Anderson
Words and Images
Summer 2013

This project is an exercise in creative adaptation, which asks you to select a short work of alphabetic fiction and re-imagine its possibilities as sequential graphic art. Working with a short story of your choice, your challenge is to re-imagine that story as a sequence of 12 to 16 comic panels that work to express the complexities of the story’s plot, theme, characters, and mood in a condensed visual form. You will be given access to an online comic platform called Pixton to carry out this project.

Drawing on class discussions of comic art and sequential storytelling, your adaptation should reflect thoughtful attention to questions of visual composition, timing, transitions, and word-image relationships. Keep in mind that adaptation is a creative practice in itself. Your project should not represent a simple transfer of existing content, but rather a thoughtful rearticulation of that content to best suit the graphic narrative form.

Before producing your final adaptation, you will be asked to submit a rough storyboard sketching out your panels with accompanying captions and dialogue. We will workshop storyboards in class. Your final product should reflect attention to the feedback you receive.

Leading up to this assignment, students read from Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud and looked at graphic adaptations of classic literature from The Graphic Canon, Vol. 1 & 2, Edited by Russ Kick, analyzing the graphic texts alongside the original chapter or story from which they were adapted. We also spent an hour in class working with the Pixton comics platform.*

*Pixton requires a small investment in a subscription per student, but you can get a 30-day free trial the first time you use it.