Smithsonian Earth Optimism - Conservation Comics
What is Conservation?
Conservation is the protection and restoration of the environment, wildlife, and ecosystems. Anyone of any age can help with conservation. Some of the most important actions are simple and easy. For example, recycling and picking up litter make a very big difference when lots of people do it. Another one of the most powerful conservation actions that anyone can do is inspiring other people to help. We want you to help inspire others by making a comic strip about successful conservation in your home, your school, your community, or anywhere on the planet. Or, maybe you have a creative idea to share about how to help the environment and wildlife. Maybe you want to express your concerns and hopes for the future. Whatever you decide to share, your message matters!
Only open to individuals located in the United States
The comic must be...
- about a topic related to environmental conservation.
- appropriate for all ages.
- laid out in the 8-page mini format so that it can be folded up into a book.
Writing the comic
- Pick a conservation topic that you find especially interesting or relevant or that you are really passionate about.
- Try to tell one story. Rather than showing different stories in each panel, try to tell one story with activity happening across the 8 panels. Each panel is like a page or chapter in a book. See our example comic embedded below and others at this link.
- Choose a subject that includes things you like to draw.
- Remember, these comics are short. You may not be able to tell everything about the entire story - that’s Ok - just pick a part of the story.
- Sometimes when planning out the comic it helps to state what the problem or topic is at the beginning and the solution to the problem at the end. Then you can figure out what the most important middle parts of the story are and how to make them all fit.
- You can make your own comic or work with a friend or classmate.
- Welcome other people’s suggestions. It can be really helpful to share your ideas for a comic with other students, your teacher or maybe even your entire class before you get started. They may suggest good ideas that will make your comic even better and easier to understand.
Making a difference!
Remember, the most important thing is to tell a story. Making a comic is not always about drawing the most realistic or complicated picture. The important thing when making a comic is telling a story and taking the reader easily from the beginning to the end. Sometimes the simplest drawing is best. Some of the best artists are not the best storytellers while some of the best storytellers may not be great artists. That’s Ok. Just tell the story to the best of your ability. This is not a competition, it’s a chance for you to help conservation by inspiring people with your story and message.
Last but not least, the most important part is to have fun! If you’ve never made a comic, give it a try. If you have made comics before, then maybe you’ll want to use this as a chance to try it in a different way. There is no wrong way to make a comic. We’re looking forward to enjoying your stories and creativity!
Technical Instructions for making the comic
- The template needs to be printed at 100%. Don’t let the printer shrink to fit or the proportions will be off when you fold it. See templates below.
- We recommend that you fold up the comic first and then draw it. However, if you choose to draw your comic before you fold it up, you should be careful that you follow the page numbers and orientation so that it will line up properly when it finally gets folded.
- Here is a useful video about folding the comic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21qi9ZcQVto (external link)
- It helps to write the words that are being said first before drawing the pictures. That way you can make sure to have enough room available.
- Make sure other people can read your comic. Use good handwriting and don’t write too small.
Teachers and Parents – Authorization and Mailing Instructions
- Students may provide only the following information: First name, Last initial only, Name of School, Grade, State, Country.
- Teacher, school administrators, parent or guardian must download, print, sign and submit by mail the authorization form below.
- Include all the comics of your students / children and the authorization form in a single envelope.
- Only a single authorization form is necessary per envelope, i.e. you do NOT need to submit a separate authorization form for each comic submitted.
- Mail the envelope containing comics and authorization form to the address below. Use return address of adult or institution that is authorized to submit on behalf of student(s) or child/children.
C/O Lauren Ward – Conservation Comics
PO Box 37012
Washington DC 20013
Files For Download
- Authorization Form
- Sample Comic
- Blank Comic Template with border boxes
- Blank Comic Template with no border boxes
Please email any questions to EOSummitContest@si.edu