I thought I’d explore Comic Strip Creator, which is a program you can use to create comic strips, funnily enough. Here are my initial thoughts:
I found it pretty intuitive to use. I downloaded the manual that comes with this free program, but haven’t fully looked at it yet.
When you start the program you have a choice as to whether to create a single strip or a double strip. You then add your frames, select a background for each frame, select artwork and select speech balloons. It’s fairly straightforward, though it’s disconcerting trying to manipulate a balloon, say, when you have a character selected.
It took me next to no time to create the comic strip below (I know, I know: it shows!), so this program “works” in the sense of letting you make a comic even if you don’t have much in the way of drawing skills.
I know it’s mean to say what you don’t like about a free program, but here goes. It was frustrating having to unzip the program, backgrounds and clip art separately. I’d have preferred to just deal with one setup file that puts everything in the right place. I also don’t much like the fact that you have to register (free of charge) before you can download anything.
Although you can flip frames and otherwise manipulate them, you can’t choose anything other than a standard box shaped frame: no fancy angular lines or borderless frames as far as I can tell.
The clip art is a bit sparse, but as it is just ordinary jpeg files I’m sure you can just create your own.
Being a comics fan, I’d have liked to have been able to create those text boxes that say things like “Just then…”. I’ll paly around a little more to see if I can simply create them as clip art and import them in.
OK, so a few niggles, but it’s a great program to use, and there’s a nice array of backgrounds. I’m not sure whether you can install it on a network though.
A nice touch is the fact that you are prompted to insert your copyright details, which I think is important. When you’ve finished making your comic strip you save it by exporting it as a jpeg. I believe there is a means of sharing your creations online, but I haven’t explored that yet.
You can download Comic Strip Creator from here: Comic Strip Creator
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Dang! It turns out that my comic strip story (above) wasn't quite as original as I thought. It turns out that there is a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon involving cloning of oneself to get out of chores. Not quite the same, but similar. Oh well. Thanks to John Miers for pointing this out. John is undertaking a PhD about comics, so I'm not surprised that he knew about the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. John's website, which is pretty interesting, is here: johnmiers.com
John also told me about another comic strip maker called Bitstrips, which I hope to try out and review in due course.