Name: Xavier Beiter
School/Grade level: Kent City Elementary School, fourth grade
Passion: Writing and illustrating comic books
Kent City — Fourth-grader Xavier Beiter looks at the people and places he encounters every day and sees the potential for storytelling.
He said his third-grade classroom had two pet guinea pigs, and that even they inspired an idea for comic book characters.
“I’m working on a new comic called ‘The Grinny Pigs,’” Xavier said. “I’m still working on the story, but I think the guinea pigs will hear on the news that pet food is going missing and there is a bad guy, probably a cat, and they have to stop him.”
Xavier started to write and illustrate his own comic books just last year. He draws all the characters and lettering in pencil, and for his final draft he staples the pages together to make a book.
In the past year, Xavier has created several original stories, featuring friends, characters from his favorite books and the front office staff at his school, Kent City Elementary.
‘Doing it now will make it easier to get a job when I’m older. … I don’t want to make the prices too high, so people will actually buy it, but if it’s more pages I can make it more expensive.’— fourth-grader Xavier Beiter
Where do you start when creating a new comic book? “When I make a character story, I try to think of something that I like or I look around, think of something and turn it into a comic. I used to do comic strips, which have three cells and a punchline, but then I got tired of that so I made comic books.”
Where do you get inspiration for your comic books? “I learned how (to draw comics) mostly from the Captain Underpants books. I get my drawing inspiration from the books, like their eyes or facial expressions, but some of the books, I go for a different art style … I don’t want to be too simple.”
Do you have a favorite story that you’ve written and why? “The funniest idea, I got from my friend in third grade. He said I should make a comic book about ‘Gusher Guy’ with goo coming from his hands instead of webs, like the fruit snacks. It was perfect, and funny too.”
How has your school helped you pursue your passion? “Writing is my favorite subject. I think I started to like it when I was writing my comic strips … You can’t have sloppy handwriting when you’re writing a comic strip. “When I finish a comic book, I take it to school and make a copy of it with staples. I bring them to everyone, keep one for the teacher and keep a copy for me.”
Do you plan to pursue your passion professionally? “I want to be a comic book artist. I can do this. Doing it now will make it easier to get a job when I’m older. If I want to become more successful, I could sell merchandise based on my comics to make more money … I don’t want to make the prices too high, so people will actually buy it, but if it’s more pages I can make it more expensive.”
“When I get older, I want to (make comic books) on the computer with color and shadow around the character. They look really cool around the characters and words.”
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