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Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics
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Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics

(Adventures in Cartooning #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,787 ratings  ·  167 reviews

In this action-packed cartooning adventure, kids will have as much fun making comics as reading them! 


Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic.  And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure!  Like the prin

Paperback, 112 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by First Second
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,787 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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The whole point of this is that you don't have to be a great artist to make a comic. It is a great learning tool and tells an amusing little story to teach the basics of comics. While a person can certainly tell a story, I do expect good visual with graphic novels. I hated the art in this thing. I want more.

This would be great for anyone interesting in comic writing. It would be a great resource.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mar-2015
What I thought of the book was great.I haven't read to many books in my life but I have read at least a few.This was my favorite book I have ever read because it fits my personality perfectly.Less words and more pictures because I find that I don't like to read as much as watching pictures in a book.Also it helps me understand the book better.I liked this book because it was very happy,I find that if I read a science fiction book it is a little bit sad or a little bit violent to me which is a li ...more
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread-book
I spotted this book here on Goodreads, and it looked fun, so I put it on my Want-To-Read list.

A looonng time later (about now)....I decided to check it out from the library.

Whoa! Awesome!

Positive: Wow! Very creative!

The Drawings: 4.5 stars. Not much to say. It looks like the drawings fit very well like pieces of a puzzle to me (even though the dragon's wings seemed a bit small for me). The drawings also helped inspire me.

The Story: 5 stars. I really liked the creativity in the story. It was v
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
Looking for a way to introduce the world of graphic novels? The Adventures of Cartooning is the instruction manual to visual literacy. Carefully explaining vocabulary through words and images, all necessary words are covered: panels, gutters, tiers, stems, word balloons, and thought balloons. The authors (Strum, Arnold, & Fredrick-Frost) also explain how illustrators use strategies to demonstrate motion, volume, sound effects, size, and conversation. This informational text beings insight to ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can't wait to get this for my niece when she is a little older! A friend of mine did the cartoons for this book, and I am really proud of him!
This is a terrific and funny book that will get kids writing their own cartoons!
(NS) Heatherk
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This is a newly published (2009) graphic novel that is wonderful for early elementary students. The book caught my attention when one of my second graders checked the book our from our school library. The cover contains labels such as "motion lines", "word balloon", and "sound effect" that allow the reader to learn right away what they may see within the story. These labels are simply so the reader's level of comprehension can reach its potential.

This creative story is about a brave knight who
Jul 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic, j, graphicnovel
Ubersimplified version of Making Comics. In fact, the story ends up overtaking the instructional elements, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing for the audience. Explains simple cartooning concepts. Elementary booktalk, perhaps. I just need to read more nonfic that isn't gn related. ;)
Adam Furman
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great graphic novel for kids. It was recommended to me for pre-k, but I'd recommend it for 1st or 2nd grade. The goal is to encourage kids to draw, teach kids to read comics, and teach kids to create comics.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, j-books
this is a fantastic cartooning book for kids. Its a hilarious adventure with a knight, a cowardly horse, a magical elf, a bubble gum chewing dragon, talking vegetables and a great surprise ending!
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious & informative. I will use this in a cartooning program.
May Regan
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Yep. I never realized how many books are my childhood! (I could never draw as well as the book authors)
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Too often a kid will walk into a library, ask for a book on drawing, and be taken to the requisite “How to Draw a [Blank:]” section on the shelves. These books are the usual standard fare. They all begin by saying you should draw a circle over another circle, etc. etc. Sometimes you’ll get something a little more high end like Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and once in a while an old book on drawing comics will be stuck in between the books on the shelves, dilapidated and well worth repl ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Sturm, J., Arnold, A., & Frederick-Frost, A. (2009). Adventures in Cartooning. New York: First Second


109 Pages

Appetizer: First Second, one of the leading publishers for graphic novels for children has come out with this guide for making cartoons.

When a princess doesn't believe that she can draw well enough to make a cartoon, the Magic Cartooning Elf poofs onto the scene to prove that is not the case. The Magic Cartooning Elf accompanies a knight and his horse, Edward, to face a ca
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
This is an informational book about how to make your own cartoons that is written in a graphic novel format, and incorporates the information along with a fantasy story of a knight looking to slay a dragon with his fairy guide and his trusty horse Edward, and a princess who ends up rescuing the knight. This book was pretty much amazing. It manages to seamlessly flow back and forth between the story and teaching the reader about structural and artistic elements of making comics. The informational ...more
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 2nd - 4th grade
Summary: Want to know how comics work? Join the Knight and his horse, Edward on a journey to defeat a dragon, and luckily, the Magic Cartooning elf fairy is here to help the knight along his journey! Along the way the knight runs through panels, through many scenes, and even runs into a wall as an obstacle. The elf fairy begins to explain how comics work but leaves when he gets fed up with the Knight who doesn't always seem to listen to him, so the elf disappears and the knight has to figure out ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Comics –especially indie comics– can be an incredible source of inspiration, strength, and creativity. This is something mainstream superhero comics only do half-heartedly: they're more interested in rehashed storylines, cheap stunts, and artwork resembling contortionists athletes. Their storylines are more focused on unrealistic and fantastic battles between good and evil. On the other hand, indie comics make up for that, with completely creator driven stories that are focused on personal growt ...more
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! GREAT book. The front cover fooled me at first, but it really is a graphic novel. The bonus is that it's also a cartooning how-to book. Very positive and encouraging for young readers to use their own great ideas to draw cartoons and write stories. The story is funny and has all the basic elements of a classic adveture quest. A fairy hangs around in the beginning and at the end to introduce readers to some of the techinal aspects of cartoons, but it in now way detracts from the story; it ad ...more
Caitlin W.
Have you ever wanted to draw your own cartoon, but you were unsure of where to start and what some of the comic book conventions are? This book, a comic book itself, is a great guide for starting off making your own comics. It follows the adventures of a knight and his fat horse as they journey to find a bubble-gum-chewing dragon. Along the way, they are aided by a magical elf who knows all the rules to making comic books, and the examples they use to teach are wonderfully played out so that the ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Adventures in Cartooning is an exciting and hilarious adventure story that is told with cartoons in a comic book style “graphic novel” form. It is about a missing princess and a brave knight who is determined to slay the deadly dragon that must have stolen her (you won’t believe where the princess turns up in the end). The eager knight’s quest is joined by a magic elf—the only problem is that the magic elf is more interested in teaching the knight (and you) all about comics than in helping defea ...more
Sarah Sammis
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cybils, read-in-2010
Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles into Comics by James Sturm was short listed for the middle grades graphic novels category for the 2009-2010 Cybils. There were a lot of excellent books on that short list and I think in a different year this book could have won.

The book uses the medium to teach the methods behind the medium. The focus is on the method of building a good story, not on drawing in a certain style. In fact the illustrations are done with stick figures and doodles ve
J.V. Seem
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Spending the day in bed, having sent the BF off to rehearsal by himself. I'm exhausted, physically and mentally after an anxiety attack yesterday, and quite sick, so I figured under the covers was the best place for me. No energy to perform. I told BF to report that I was reading Stanislavski, but I ended up with Adentures in Cartooning.

This is a comic book - on how to draw comics.
It's meant for kids, and the book does contain a story, an action-filled story of a knight and her horse, which clev
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that performs double duty. Not only is it a comic book that tells the story of a knight on a quest to defeat a dragon, but it also operates as a how-to guide for making comic books. This book goes through the different feature in a comic book and describes and explains them. Adventures In Cartooning does this in a way that is fun and interesting for students. This isn't just a dry book explaining what panels are and what the different thought bubbles mean. It has its own story to ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-craft
11/12: The entire family loved this one! It's a cute story, but it's also a lesson in cartooning, Ed Emberly-style.

Amazon Book Description:
In this action-packed cartooning adventure, kids will have as much fun making comics as reading them!

Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic. And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure! Like the
Dec 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This distinctive informational picture book by the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies introduces the basics of cartooning in the context of a very funny sequential story. Aided by a magical elf who introduces such comic essentials as thought balloons and font size, this original paperback chronicles the quest of an impatient knight and his long-suffering horse as they seek to rescue a princess—who saves them instead—from a candy-loving dragon. During this action-packed sojourn, panels wit ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A delightful book that tells a story of a knight who wants to fight a dragon, so off he goes on his adventure but along the way a Magic Elf accompanies him and teaches him the art of cartooning. Illustrations are drawn in Ed Emberley style and Ed is given a nod for his inspiration at the back where instructions on how to draw the knight, elf and horse are given. Throughout the book cartooning lingo is introduced and the aspects that make up a comic: panels, bubbles, sound effects, etc. All withi ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Short review: This is a really cute graphic novel, especially for kids around age 8-12, who might be showing an interest in learning how to draw, or learning how to tell stories. The book is a fun read in its own right, but also teaches how anyone who can draw even the most basic figures can use them to tell a fun and engaging story. It has little notes about how to convey certain feelings or actions through simple additions to the picture. I think most kids would really enjoy it. As long as the ...more
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
FUN intro to comics and cartooning. I would have liked a little more direct instruction in it, but I think the balance they did go with will make it more accessible to a wider audience of younger kids. Less intimidating. And you still indirectly absorb a lot about storytelling and drawing by just reading and enjoying it. In any case, I would give this to any kid with a penchant for art, doodling, or writing, or who likes comics or graphic novels, or who has an active imagination, or who doesn't ...more
Kara Hartz
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is adorable. I found myself almost reading the whole thing in the bookstore while deciding weather or not to get it for my daughter. I'm glad I did. She hasn't put it down, and drew her first little comic strip today.

This book isn't about teaching the art of how to draw. It's about the mechanics of making a comic and using that medium for story-telling. It does this by telling it's own story about a knight hunting a dragon with an elf tagging along that points out how the comic mechani
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Kids picture books! 1 1 Aug 23, 2015 11:41AM  

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James Sturm is the author of several award-winning graphic novels for children and adults, including James Sturm’s America, Market Day, The Golem’s Mighty Swing and Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. He is also the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies and the National Association for Comics Art Educators. He created Adventures in Cartooning with collaborators Alexis Frederic-Frost and Andr ...more

Other books in the series

Adventures in Cartooning (8 books)
  • Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book
  • Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special
  • Adventures in Cartooning: Characters in Action
  • Sleepless Knight (Adventures in Cartooning picturebook, #1)
  • Gryphons Aren't So Great (Adventures in Cartooning picturebook, #2)
  • Ogres Awake! (Adventures in Cartooning picturebook, #3)
  • Hocus Focus (Adventures in Cartooning picturebook, #4)