Skyping with Stephen McCranie

Skyping! Skyping! I’m SO glad someone invented Skyping!



    Today Ms. Holder’s library class skyped with author Stephen McCranie. Stephen is the author of the Mal and   Chad graphic novel series.

   Instead of having the author come to our school, we visited with him virtually.

  A  few weeks ago Mrs. Hembree found out on Twitter that Stephen was offering to skype with teachers and librarians. She signed up and our school is one of over 70 schools Stephen will “virtually” visit this fall.



During the call we watched him draw on his computer. First he taught us that comics are stories + pictures.

Then to develop our own story, he had us answer two questions:

  1. What does my character want?
  2. What is preventing my character from getting what he or she wants?

We decided that our character, Tara, wanted to own a bakery, but her family wasn’t very supportive of that idea. She ran away, met a baker and learned how to become the baker she always wanted to be.

After that we had a quick demonstration on how to draw a picture. We learned it’s easy if you use shapes like circles, squares or triangles. As Stephen drew on his computer, we tried to guess what famous characters he was drawing!

In the last portion of our visit, Stephen asked us to start a story. Then before our eyes, he drew a scene from our story.

While he was drawing, he also answered our questions.

We found out that he has loved comics since he was about 5 years old. He drew his first comic strip for a school newspaper in college. He likes comics because they are a great way to express yourself. They are an artform with a lot of potential.

He reads lots and lots of books and really enjoys the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Stephen said he believes that creativity is like a muscle in your head. When you practice you get better over time. If you want to get better at drawing , you need to draw and practice every single day. The tools for drawing don’t really matter. Pencils, crayons, pens – use whatever you want and draw, draw, draw.

His favorite book is the new one coming out on December 6th!

We will be sure to buy a few copies for the library! After about 30 minutes, our time was up! It was a great first Author Skype experience! Thank you Stephen for visiting the Bulldog Readers! If you are looking for Stephen’s books, here they are.  We have both available for check out in the library. You can also link to his Mal and Chad website here.



What do you think our story was about?

Have you ever skyped with anyone? Do you like it?

What is your favorite graphic novel or comic series?













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4 thoughts on “Skyping with Stephen McCranie

  1. Dear Mrs.Hembree

    I loved skyping with Steven McCranie I especially loved when he said that ideas where a musle and you need to practice them all the time. I can’t wait until his new book comes. I am going to get it because when Ms. Holder read me and the class Mal and Chad I LOVED it.

    From your dream team friend and student Josa

    • Dear Josa,

      I agree with you. His comment that creativity is a muscle what needs to be practiced is one I have never heard before. However, it makes sense. Being able to create things takes time and energy. The more you do, the better you get.

      I’m so glad you came to our first Dream Team meeting. I am going to write a blog post about it soon. Do you have any suggestions that I should include? The naming/log group came up with an awesome name and logo! I can’t wait to show it to everyone so you can decide if it’s what you want! Next meeting is next Thursday.

      Your smiling librarian,
      Mrs. Hembree

  2. Dear Mrs Hembree,

    That is awesome you were able to skype with such a amazing author. I really never thought of been creative is a muscle that needs to be practiced I need to take that on board.

    I have not skpyed with anyone but was able to skype once with Mrs Morris and her students as a class with Mrs Yollis. It was awesome!

    Stephen McGranie books sound like a wonderful read. My favourite comic book when I was growing up was Charlie Brown. As a matter of fact I picked one up just the day. I loved re reading it. 🙂

    Happy Reading!

    From you pal down under,

  3. Dear Mrs Hembree,
    That is a wonderful you got to Skype with an author, you must have been very excited. Stephen Macranie’s cartoons are very funny and look really interesting.

    I learned a lot in your post about Characters and what they do. I remember Skyping with you Mrs Hembree that was a wonderful day. My favourite Graphic Novel are comic books I am not really fussed whether it’s super heroes or not.

    From your pal,


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