Amusa Silver Unit 1: Part B

Making the artwork

Learning New Skills

I do a lot of drawing. Mostly I draw little moments. I have never created a story. So I need to find out what a story needs.

Melanie gave me the following reading about plot and characters.

We also talked about Todorov’s Narrative Structure:

I discussed these ideas with Melanie and she made notes:

My idea was to create a parody of crime in the playground. When I was at primary school, I noticed that some children were selling sweets in the playground. As I got older and watched TV that had crime syndicates and dodgy dealings, it reminded me a little bit of the way those children were. I also noticed a division between children that went to private school and those who didn’t. In a lot of stories, tension comes from different characters having to work together. So I had the idea for a comic featuring two very different girls running a crime syndicate across two primary schools. The hard parts for me would be turning this into a long running story. For my arts award challenge I decided to do a single page that would introduce the story.

I like your ideas for a story Jade. I have looked over your sketchbook and I thin kthe challenge for you will be twofold. One, you need to try and tell part of fuller story, so picking which part to focus on will be important. You need your page to standalone but also work within a wider story. Secondly, I notice that you don’t use panels or dialogue bubbles in your style. I don’t thin you should change your style dramatically, but these two things help the readers eye to move through the story and you need to think about how you will do that.



I had a taster lesson with Neil from Dream Decor where we worked on inspiration. We looked at how you could use images to inspire your own artwork.

I enjoyed working with Neil as I was able to find inspiration in the work of one of my favourite artists.

Feedback from Neil

Unfortunately I have only had Jade for one lesson so far but I was pleasantly surprised by her extraordinary drawing/sketching skills. I am looking forward to working with her much more in the future.


After working with Neil, I looked at a few comics for inspiration for my comic. Melanie wanted me to focus on long running stories so I had a look at some ongoing webcomics.

Gunnerkrigg Court

This comic was interesting because it based its chapters around the school year. A lot of school TV shows do this too.

Alice Grove

This comic was quite short and told a full story. I liked the way the creator used panels and flow to draw the reader’s eye. And I liked the bright colours.

Practicing drawing for others

I have never drawn for anyone else. I only drew for fun and never wanted anyone else to look at my work. Melanie suggested that I practice drawing for others by making revision posters in my A-Level classes. I made these revision posters for Philosophy A-Level and then I used them in my lessons to help other students revise. This was scary but it was also fun to draw something while thinking about others

This poster shows the ontological arguments for the existence of God
This poster illustrates Thomas Aquinas’ first 3 ways and Descartes’s cosmological argument for the existence of God.
This poster demonstrates the idea of causation and contingency in the creation of the universe. Another cosmological argument.

After the exams, I asked the boys in my class what they thought of my revision posters:

Jade’s posters helped me to remember these subjects. I find Cosmological arguments tricky to tell apart, especially causation, contingency, and motion. So the poster helped to separate those things in my head.


I looked at Jade’s poster the day before the exam. We had a question on Descartes so I was thinking about her poster during the exam.


This was a very odd feeling for me. I am not sure I believe them, but it wasn’t as scary to share my drawing as I thought it would be.

Coming up with ideas

The best way for me to come up with ideas is to draw. So I started by doing some rough sketches linked to my original thoughts…

Primary school children lining up for school
Children selling sweets at school. This is kind of like a crime syndicate. There need to be lookouts and ‘heavies’, this needs to go under the radar of the teachers. This character is hiding her wares under her coat. The gang in the bottom corner could be her muscle or they could be a rival gang.
The student selling sweets has to get them from somewhere before she makes a markup. Perhaps a corner shop.

Making the Project

Character Profiles

In order to develop the characters for my comic, I created character profiles. I researched how this might look and found the following examples from a comic called Questionable Content:

Here are the character profiles I made for my comic:

Character Profile for Penny
Character Profile for Eve

The comic is going to be about people from different backgrounds working together. Penelope is a rich girl from a private school, Eve is a lower class girl from a mainstream school. I tried to highlight their differences in these character profiles.

Jade, these profiles are so good! I love how you delineate the differences in the characters in their clothing but also in their body language. I especially like Eve and her coat full of treats! The trope of characters from different backgrounds working together is well used, however, setting this in a primary school and satirising more adult topics like drug dealing and mafia connections makes this a unique take. My advice is to make sure that the differences you have established here are clear in the page you create for the final project.


Using the Graphics Tablet

I have always wanted to try a digital graphics tablet and thought that it might be something i could use for this project. Melanie told me that she had a tablet and so she was able to bring it to school for me to try.

The tablet was a HUION KAMVAS like this one:

Here are some sketches I made on the graphics tablet:

The interesting thing about using the Graphics Tablet is that you can have different layers in Photoshop and add colour and sketches on different layers. You can also undo strokes if they don’t come out right first time.

I really enjoyed using the graphics tablet, but I think I will stick to pen and paper for now because I think it would take a lot of practice until I am as good on a digital format.

Initial Sketches

This was my first sketch for the final comic page

Feedback from Melanie

The initial sketch looks good. I like the handshake at the bottom and the way the comic draws your eye from the top of the page to the bottom. In places it is a little chaotic. I think that finelining will help with this as you can then rub out the pencil marks and get a cleaner look. I think you should add some motion lines so that the reader knows how to follow the dialogue from the start to the end. I really like how you add small versions of the faces as the characters interject. And I think it is great hoe the characters are hiding under the coat!


This is my second sketch. I did this in pencil and then outlined it with fineliner

Using Copic Markers

I read this article:,who%20are%20just%20starting%20out.

Professional manga artists use a variety of markers to colour their work, but Copic markers are the best ones. I had never done colour work before so I really wanted to try some professional markers. The school didn’t have any but Melanie did so she brought them into school for me to try and to add colour to my comic.

The best thing about Copic markers is that you can blend them. They also don’t streak so there are never any pen lines which makes the art look more professional. Each Copic marker has a chisel tip and a paint brush tip so they are very versatile. Here is a picture painted (not by me) with Copics:

In the page below I tested out all of the colours that came in Melanie’s set of Copics.

In the picture below I have added colour to one of my drafts using Copic markers

Feedback from Melanie on the copics

I like what you have done with the Copic markers Jade. The brush style matches your art well and the colour highlights bring out important narrative elements. I suggest that you add some paler colours to the background elements so that these don’t get lost but still appear to be part of the background.


Adding the dialogue

I added the dialogue in pencil at first.

Feedback from Melanie

The dialogue works well but is quite small and faint. I think you should fill it in with fineliner. It will be important to chose the right thickness. You could also use fineliners to add some motion lines to direct the eye


Lining in

Practising with the fineliners. I decided that the 0.3 liner would be the best for the dialogue and that a 0.7 would be good for motion lines.

The Final Comic


Sharing the Project

The Comic was published in the school magazine. I was asked to contribute a page to this magazine. The magazine was created by Gold Arts Award Students. The magazine had a private view and exhibition at the end of last term. There were copies of the magazine at the party for everyone to read so everyone who came was able to read my comic. There are plans to print the magazine professionally and distribute it to a wider audience too.

The Comic was displayed in the end of term exhibition. The exhibition was up for two months. My comic was not ready for the private view but the other students still wanted to be included so they exhibited some of my early work on it:

When the comic was finished it was added the exhibition. Everyone who has come to Treasure House in the last two months has seen my comic displayed on the wall and people have been talking to me about it and telling me that they like it. They have also asked about the story which has inspired me to make more of this comic.


Here is the feedback survey I made for my comic:


Here are the results of my survey

These screenshots are from the last time I checked the survey:

Skills Development

Using ColourI used colour for the first time in this comic. Nobody chose colour as their favourite thing but this doesn’t mean the colour was bad. I would like to experiment more with Copic markers as they were fun but I didn’t have much time with them.
Telling a storyMaking this comic has given me an idea for a longer story which I would really like to tell. People said that they story in this comic was good and that they would like to see more of it.
Creating a flow on a pageI think I did okay at this. Some people, including Melanie, said that there was one piece of dialogue that was difficult to follow (where they talked about FAILING) and I agree that it could have been positioned better. But I think everything else worked well.
Using digital drawing technology  I really really enjoyed working with the graphics tablet and I would like to use it again. In the end, I decided not to use a graphics tablet for my final drawing because I am not so used to it. But I think this is something I would like to learn more about.


For my silver arts award project, I created a comic about a girl in primary school who sells sweets but her business grows because she meets a girl who makes sweets. The main story of the comic is based on all the things that ensue from people of different backgrounds working together, in this case, mainstream school and private school. As well as wanting to tell a story, I wanted to make something that I could use to help me start conversations with people.

Usually, when I draw I don’t finish things or think about fine lining or making it into something proper for other people to look at. So making this comic has helped me to think about having several stages that eventually reach a finished product, but also to think about other peoples’ understanding of the words, images, and story.

To make this comic, I learned about inspiration, coming up with ideas, narrative flow, and storytelling. I created lots of practice scenes and eventually came up with a story. Once I had the story, I picked a moment to depict in the one page comic, choosing the moment where the two main characters hatch their plan. Then I did practice sketches. Once I had a final sketch, I filled it in with fine liner and added colour with Copic markers. Then I pencilled in the dialogue and finally inked in the dialogue. I experimented with a graphics tablet along the way but ultimately decided not to use it.

I liked thinking about the characters and a story of how they would meet and how to draw them and show their emotions. I liked the colours using the colours because I don’t usually get to colour my drawings and it makes them look more interesting. It was also nice to use the drawing tablet, I always wanted to use one and even though I didn’t know how to use it it was still fun. I hope that the school gets one as I just borrowed Melanie’s and she is leaving this year. It was harder to draw on the tablet than on paper, I think it’s because I know how paper works. Using a new medium, takes some getting used to.

It was interesting to hear what other people thought of my drawing as I have never shared my work with anyone before. I felt very worried about what people would say and then when they said nice things, I felt like maybe they didn’t mean it and that they were just being nice. But then I thought that I was being fair because I don’t think people like Aidan would lie to me. It is hard for me to take compliments though.

I don’t really like thinking about my own strengths but I am very happy with how the characterisation came out. Melanie said that she really liked the detail on the character’s clothing and gestures. If I were to do this project again I would start at the beginning of the story and make it a proper comic, I would still like to do that and hope to develop this story further next year.

Next part of my project

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