I used to love to read the Sunday funnies. I’d wait (somewhat) patiently until my parents were finished with the paper, and then I’d read the entire comics section. When I became a teacher, I bought the Sunday paper each week just so I could have some comics to bring into my classroom and share with my students. Sometimes I would incorporate them into a lesson, and sometimes I’d bring them in just for giggles. I also had my students create their own comics to tell short snippets of a longer story, much the way the comics do each week. So when the iPad entered my classroom, I kept searching for a comic creator app that was easy to use… and free. I’ve tried many different comic creator apps, and each one hasn’t been what I needed. And though the search has been a couple of years long, I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been searching for in Comics Head Lite.
What is Comics Head Lite?
Comics Head Lite is the free version of Comics Head, which is a powerful comic creator app. The Lite version is pretty robust itself, and teachers and students can easily use the current free version to create comics. Choose from different layouts, different templates, or create your own. There are so many options— I just have to show you!
There are a few ways to get started. If this is your first time to the app, you can choose to Create New Comic, or you can pick from a template at the bottom of the screen.
Next, select the toy box icon from the icons list at the top. This will give you access to all the different backgrounds, characters, props and fx, and your photos. Swipe to the left on a row of icons in any of these areas for more choices.
To add text or dialogue, choose the speech bubble icon. “Edited” means that you can actually edit the size and shape of the speech bubble. “Simple” means that you can re-size the speech bubble, but it changes proportionately. Just pinch the speech bubble to resize it.
Draw your own pictures, add shapes and lines, and change the colors of pretty much anything by choosing the icon that looks like a pencil cup. You can always tap the image if you want to delete them once they have been added to the comic.
Choosing the icon that looks like three pieces of paper will show all the layers of your project. This allows you to lock layers so that you can adjust parts of the comic without moving everything.
Free Vs. Paid
There are benefits, of course, to purchasing the app for $3.99. The free version has limited sharing options, but it allows the most important one— save as image! Once the image is in your camera roll, you can open it in any other app (known as app-smashing) or you can upload it somewhere online. The free version also limits each comic to only one page. You can get around this by saving a finished comic page to the camera roll and then editing the comic to preserve the characters and background. When you are finished with the next page, save it to the camera roll and continue like that until the comic is finished.
The paid version allows many more options for sharing and exporting comics, and it allows more saving options, as well. As I noted above, in the paid version, students can create multi-page comics, and they can also save their comics as templates for future use. You also get many more art assets, parental controls, additional editing features, and there’s also the option to print pages via air print.
Common Core Connection
Comics Head Lite can help your students with many of the Common Core State Standards for Literacy and Writing. It can be used across the curriculum for students to show what they know on any number of subjects. While it may seem like Comics would be used mostly for narrative writing, comics can be used for students to write informative/explanatory pieces as well as opinion/argument pieces. I came across a free Teacher’s Manual download from Dover Books, which highlights specific standards (for grades 3-5) that are addressed when students create comics. If you teach other grades, you can still follow the strand to see which standards apply for your grade level. The manual contains activities that are specific to the Word Play! text sold on the website, but I included the link because the lesson activities are ideas that can be adapted to work with your curriculum and Comics Head Lite.
What Do You Think?
Have you found a different comic creator app that you like? Have you tried Comics Head or Comics Head Lite? How have you used it with students?