Finished craft. Newspaper comics blacked out with white paper, black pen, and yellow tape.

Artist Tony Lewis loved Calvin and Hobbes when he was a boy. Inspired by a love of the “funny pages,” his artwork repurposes old comics into poems.

[time] 30–45 minutes
[skill level] Advanced
[topic] comics and poetry

Tony Lewis, The Dreaded, 2016 . Pencil, graphite powder, and correction fluid on paper and transparency . 11 x 8.5 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Tony Lewis, The Dreaded, 2016. Pencil, graphite powder, and correction fluid on paper and transparency. 11 x 8.5 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

LOOK CLOSELY

Look at the artwork. Can you see what it used to be? How did the artist change it?

Tony Lewis used comic strips and his imagination to make something new. If you were going to write a poem, what would you write about? If you don’t know where to start, that’s okay! Grab a newspaper and use it as inspiration for this project.

Tony Lewis. Courtesy of the studio. Photo: Mark Poucher.

Tony Lewis. Courtesy of the studio. Photo: Mark Poucher.

Tony Lewis (b. 1986) is an American artist based in Chicago. Lewis is one of many contemporary artists whose work explores combining different art forms. His collage poems were inspired by the Calvin and Hobbes comics he read growing up. Using the comic strips as the foundation, he developed the collage poems by drawing on, erasing, and repositioning the original comics to give them new meaning.

MAKE IT

Craft materials. Newspaper, tape, paper, glue, crayon, and pen. Craft in progress. Newspaper comics with blocks blacked out and paper glued on top.Finished craft. Newspaper comics blacked out with white paper, black pen, and yellow tape.
  1. Gather your materials. You’ll need some comic strips, a pencil, and a material for covering content (a marker, masking tape, strips of paper, or white out will all work).
  2. Read the comics. Select and circle the words you want to use in your poem. For kids who are  just learning to read, select favorite pictures instead and create a visual poem.
  3. Block out images and words you don’t want. Use a marker, paper or other material to remove the images and words around your circled words.
  4. Share your collage poem! Read the poem out loud to a friend or family member. Share your creation with the world #hirshhorninsideout.