Bringing characters to life – helping kids create their own illustrated stories

iStock_000003449611LargeFor a young author, illustrating a story can be such an exciting thing to do. And helping kids design and develop characters visually is a big part of the fun. So get your students/children started with these basic questions:

• Is your character a boy or a girl?
• Is your character tall or short?
• Do they speak a different language / come from a different country?
• How old are they?
• What kind of hairstyle and clothing do they like to wear?

Together, sketch the pictures that illustrate the story your child envisions.Then, get them to write down the words to describe their characters and what’s happening as they think about the adventures their characters might have – the story your students/children want to tell.

Read through your child’s story and encourage your child to take ideas from how the character looks to add to the text and vice versa  – if “Sloane is a happy girl who loves rainbows and jumping in puddles”  – then perhaps Sloane could be wearing many different colours, a sturdy set of rain boots and have a big smile in the drawings OR if that is what’s in the drawing then more description might be added to the text ~ get creative! It’s about picking up details wherever works for your child to help them expand the story.

The words your child writes tell their thoughts about the characters and relay the story – the illustrations can help fill in more information visually and/or help you child visualize their story.

And there is endless room for creativity! ~ It doesn’t need to be something that really obviously stands out to make the story interesting, like futuristic glasses that shoot laser beams — it could be something as simple as having a few freckles on a character’s nose, showing lots of teeth when they smile, or wearing T-shirts that reflect their mood that adds interest for readers. Ask your budding author: What is it that makes each character truly who they are? Or, the setting interesting? Or their story unique?

And ENJOY creating with your students/child!