Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Use Pixlr Express to Make Comics

This has been a popular post on this blog! Unfortunately I haven't updated it recently and Pixlr Express has been updated. I'm not sure how accurate the directions below are. If you are interested in the process I now use for making comics from real life photos, see my ebook Creating Comics with G Suite Apps. It is $3 from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Pixlr Express can still be used for this activity, but they recently updated the app.e menus are different now, so the pictures below aren't exactly what you'll see.

Also, if you're interested in using the iPad for comics, see this post on my other blog for how to make comics with Google Slides.


This tutorial was designed for a specific assignment. Learners would create a comic that communicated tips or advice for success. Ideally I like to make comics using Google Drawings, but there's no doubt Pixlr Express is a great free app that works for any device. It can be found online here and with links to the mobile apps. It will get the job done for a good comic formed from photos.

Here's an example I created from pictures I took on a PD day at our school.

And here are the basic steps:

1)  First you will make the layout using the Collage feature.

2)  Choose a layout first. It's suggested you only put 3 or 4 images in each collage (essentially you are creating just a page at a time, not necessarily your entire comic as one picture).

3)  Tap in each square of the layout to fill them with your chosen pictures. Zoom and position each as necessary. Use the other tools to set the background color, proportions and borders as you like.

3) Select Finish in the upper right when it looks how you want it. 

4)  Just to avoid having to start over on the layout due to editing mistakes, save it using the Save options in the upper right. Save as Current Size.

5)  Now you will add speech or thought bubbles to each frame. Go into the Stickers menu and select the Comic stickers. It will have to download the first time you select it.

6)  Scroll through the Comic stickers until you find the different word or thought bubbles. When you pick one, it will appear on your picture. 
  • Move and resize it as necessary. Be sure to make it large enough to hold the text you will put in it. 
  • Tap Apply when it's positioned how you want it. Once you tap Apply the only way to change it is with the Undo button. Be sure you're happy with it before moving on to the next one.
  • Repeat for all bubbles in your comic.

7)  Next, use the Text features add the text to each bubble or to a frame (for a caption or title). On the app, I found it's easiest to work in this order:
  • Choose your font.
  • Type your text. Keep it brief so it will fit in the bubbles.
  • Change the color as necessary.
  • Resize it and position it.
  • Tap Apply.
  • Repeat for each bubble, caption or title on that page.

8)  When all the bubbles and text are done, save the image by tapping Save in the upper right. To make sure the image is not too large, choose the resize option. Pick the one that's close to 720 x 540.

9)  Repeat the steps for another page as necessary until all your frames are done.

10)  Ideally you need to get all those pages into a single PDF. If there's any way you can use a computer for the final step, import the page images in order into a Google Document and download as PDF.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, nice tutorial. Thank you very much for sharing. Pixlr is very good app indeed. You may check out this tool too. I'm sure it will be great alternative.


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