Comic Book Characters Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 5 to 7

Author: Adapted with permission from Snakes and Snails, by the Toronto Board of Education.

media representation

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students learn how shapes are used in character design in comics and animation and look at how male and female characters are depicted in comic books. Using a Comic Book Analysis sheet, students will record the attributes of male and female comic book characters. As a class, students will record common patterns  and discuss what messages about men and women are communicated. Students then design a comic book character that uses shapes to communicate what they think a real hero is.

Learning Outcomes

Key concepts:

  • Media are constructions
  • Each medium has a unique aesthetic form
  • Media have social and political implications

Students will: 


  • characteristics of comics and animation as media forms
  • recognize how comics and animation artists use shapes in designing characters
  • list the ways that shapes can communicate character


  • recognize that the media construct reality
  • analyze recognize that media have social and political implications
  • analyze how character designs communicate and imply character
  • identify how gender perceptions are affected by media representations


  • critique gendered character designs
  • design a character that demonstrates their understanding and analysis
  • justify their design decisions

Click here to download the Comics and Cartoon Characters slideshow.

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) is available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit