Why using Professor Garfield?

Professor Garfield is an amazing website that allows you to create the funniest comic strips ever. You can even invent your own characters and make them interact with each other through speech bubbles. This website is very appealing to students of all ages, as they are empowered to adapt everything to their own preferences. Yang (2003) quotes some authors as he explains some benefits of comic strips in the educational field: "Comics, being composed of "pictorial and other images" (McCloud, 1993, p. 9), is a fundamentally visual medium. Brocka (1979) sees this as comics' primary advantage over other literary forms." He also adds that "McCloud (1993) describes this quality in another way: "In learning to read comics we all learned to perceive time spatially, for in the world of comics, time and space are one and the same" (p. 100)"

How to use Professor Garfield

To create your own comic strip through Professor Garfield, you have to follow these steps.

1) Access the following site: http://www.professorgarfield.org/pgf_comics_lab.html# . Click on "Log-in" to create your username.


2) Once you have created your username, click on "Done". All your comic strips will be saved under that username, and you will be able to access them later on by logging in.

3) Click on "Comic creator" to start designing your comic strip. There, you will be able to start editing the panels of your comic strip by clicking on each of them. First of all, click on the arrows over "Background" to choose the one you like the best. Once you have selected your favourite one, click on "Done".

4) Click on the arrows over "Characters" and check the different options until you find the ones you want to include in your panel. If you drag the upper right corner of each character, you can change its size. If you click on the arrow in the middle of the image, you can flip your character. Otherwise, if you change your mind and want to delete your character, click on its upper left corner.


5) You can also add speech bubbles and props. When you are pleased with the results, click on "Done".


6) Click on "Expand Character Builder" to design your own characters. It's a lot of fun!

7) There, you may first select the skin tone from the different options. Then, click on the arrows to change the head, eyes, mouth, ears, nose and body. Finaly, click on "Save the character" when your character is ready.


8) In the tab "My characters", the ones you have designed will appear. If you click on the numbers which appear on the left (from one to four) you can see your different comic strips. You can create up to four at the same time! If you want to download your comic strip, click on "Save as Jpeg" on the bottom right corner.


9) By clicking on the tab "Create" and choosing the option "Comic creator", you will access to a different section in which you will be able to select other type of characters, props and speech bubbles. Try them all!


Check the following sample of a comic strip created with Professor Garfield!:

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Let's work with Professor Garfield!

Group: 6th form
Age group: 11-12

Let's create a comic strip using Professor Garfield!

tutorial 5.jpg

You will use Professor Garfield to create a comic strip showing Garfield's routine.

At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will show you and your classmates some flashcards about the daily routine of a little boy. While raising each picture, she will describe the action that is represented. Afterwards, a class discussion will be held, in which some students will describe their own daily routine.


At this stage of the lesson, you will work in the computer lab.

1) Create a Word file, in which you will write a first draft of Garfield's daily routine. Your teacher will correct it and, once you feel ready, you can start woking on your comic strip.
2) You will have to make a comic strip with Professor Garfield representing Garfield's daily routine. First of all, visit the following website: http://www.professorgarfield.org/pgf_comics_lab.html# and create a username.

3) Edit each panel and adapt them to your preferences. Select the background, characters and props. Edit each character: remember that you can change their size and flip them.

4) Insert speech bubbles and write everything you want. You are supposed to narrate Garfield's routine in first-person singular. Include all the details that you prefer, and bear in mind that you can also create your own characters to make them interact with Garfield.
5) When everything is ready, save your comic strips (remember that you can create up to four) as .jpeg files. E-mail them to your teacher, and include the Word file in which you wrote Garfield's routine.

What's next

After the teacher has given you feedback and marked your work, you will share your comic strip/s with your classmates. You will present it (or them) standing in front of the classroom and explaining what Garfield does in each panel. You can even try to imitate Garfield's voice and narrate his routine as if it was yours! Finally, the students will decide on which the most original and funniest presentation was.

Evaluation Criteria· Choice of appropriate characters, props and text in speech bubbles.· Language control in your presentation/Word file.· Originality in the presentation. Attitude and enthusiasm.· Task accomplishment: work handed in in time and form.

Done by Belén Ordóñez (2015)