Comic Strip Competition

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About the competition

The “Don’t let your dreams go up in smokes…” comic strip competition has been developed to assist teachers and people working with young people between the ages of 8 – 14 to engage students to think about the impacts of smoking in their lives and how it can affect their dreams.

The comic strip competition incorporates characters to help young people to create their own stories about smoking and share messages without making it personal.

It can be undertaken as an activity in class and complements current education curriculum and resources provided on the resource page.

The competition is run by Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia as part of its campaign to work with young Aboriginal people to tackle smoking and live healthy lifestyles. It builds on the award-winning Rewrite Your Story project, which included an English-based curriculum activity developed by the South Australian Aboriginal Sports and Training Academy and the Drug and Alcohol Service South Australia.

Why undertake this activity? 

The comic strip competition is a fun and relevant way for young people to think about and share their own thoughts or stories about cigarette smoking. The ‘Don’t let your dreams go up in smokes…’ campaign builds on the stories of 16 local Ambassadors in Adelaide who shared their stories about how smoking has affected their lives.

It can be difficult for some young people to talk about issues like smoking and how they feel about it, especially when family members, older peers or influencers are smokers. In this activity, students create their comic strip based on one of the characters provided. By featuring a character, students are able to tell a story in their own words without making it personal.

It complements other curriculum-based resources such as the Rewrite Your Story english teaching resource (developed by SAASTA) and the SA ‘The truth is out there…’ teaching resource.

What is the ‘Don’t let your dreams go up in smokes…’ campaign?

‘Don’t let your dreams go up in smokes…’ isa new campaign by Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia to prevent the uptake of smoking among young Aboriginal people in Adelaide. The campaign builds on the successful Rewrite Your Story project – winner of a 2013 Deadly Award!

The campaign encourages young people to have their say about smoking. It is about learning from our young people, and empowering them to make good choices about smoking early on. Throughout the campaign we’ll be sharing stories, videos, photos and illustrations on what young people think about smoking, why it is harmful, even when you’re young, and what dreams can be achieved by being smoke-free. Look out for us online, on Facebook and in schools!

The competition

Nunkuwarrin Yunti will run the competition during term 3 of the South Australia school year.

Submissions to the competition must be provided by 5.00pm 13 September 2014.

Submissions can be sent via email to:

Or in hard copy by post to:

Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia
c/o Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle team
PO Box 7202
Adelaide SA 5000

*Please note: entries will only be accepted from participants living in South Australia

By entering the competition, schools must confirm consent of the students for their comic strip to be featured online (identities may not be disclosed). 

Classes may wish to undertake the comic strip competition and not enter the competition, or hold it as a competition within their own school or class. Nunkuwarrin Yunti will still support the activity by providing resource materials and prize packs. 


Comic strip entries will be judged by a panel including Nunkuwarrin Yunti staff and our campaign partners.

FIRST PRIZE: The winning comic strip entry will be made into an animated video and promoted online and through social media, and press (including nationally). The entrant/s will also receive a prize pack.

RUNNERS UP: Runner up entries will be promoted as static comic strips online and through social media. Entrant/s will receive a prize pack. 

Judging criteria:

Submissions will be judged based on three broad criteria:

1. Alignment with theme (dreams and smokes)

  • How well does the comic strip align with the theme of dreams and smokes, and the campaign slogan ‘Don’t let your dreams go up in smokes…’?

2. Creativity

  • How creative is the storyline in representing both dreams and smokes?
  • How well is the comic strip drawn or digitally created

3. Story and messages

  • Does the comic strip tell a story?
  • How have the characters been used to share a message with young people?


Before you start the comic strip competition, ask students to visit and the links at the Resources section of this booklet.

Students can participate in the competition in small groups, pairs or individually.

Provide your students with the comic strip frames. The frames can be downloaded from the web at: or are at the end of this booklet. They don’t need to use all the frames. To be eligible for judging, comic strips can be anywhere between four and 12 frames.


The comic strip should tell a short story (think Peanuts) and incorporate the competition themes – “dreams” and “smokes”. Comic strips will be judged on how well the story aligns with these themes.

A good way to make sure the themes are included is to ask students to first write down three dreams (what they want to be or achieve) and see if they can incorporate one of these into their story.


Two characters (boy and girl), each in six different poses, are provided for students to use in their comic strip. These characters feature throughout the “Don’t let your dreams go up in smokes…” campaign.

At least one of these characters should feature in the comic strip.

Students are encouraged to come up with their own names for the character/s they use.

Students are also encouraged to create their own characters to feature in their comic strip. Characters might include people, animals, a superhero or an evil nemesis!

The characters can be downloaded individually at, or they may be hand-drawn or copied by students.


You may like to base the comic strip on a scenario, which could be created and agreed by the class or provided by the teacher. Some examples of scenario are:

  • Your character is faced with a difficult decision – whether or not to take their first puff.
  • Smokes are infiltrating the skatepark so it’s closing down – what can you do to save it?
  • It’s halftime in the footy or netball grand final – what happens when someone in your team is offered a smoke?

Creating the comic strip

There are two ways to create the comic strip:

  1. Digital: Students download the comic strip frames onto their computer to create their comic strip digitally, using graphics and typed text.
  1. Hand-drawn: Print or photocopy the comic strip frames provided for students to hand draw their comic strip.
    • Students may like to trace the outline of the characters, cut out and paste the characters or recreate them using their own imagination.

Prompt questions

Ask students the following questions to help them create their story:

Question Assists with:
Q. Which of the characters do you relate to the most? Choosing characters to feature in their comic strip.
Q. Where would you like to set your comic strip? (ie at school, at home, at the skate park, in space) Setting the scene for the comic strip story
Q. Think about one of your dreams and how it might be affected by smoking? Starting their comic strip and aligning in with the theme.
Q. What are some reasons why wouldn’t smoke, even socially? Making decisions at key points in the story.
Q How could you say no to a puff of a cigarette without losing face with your friends? Making decisions at key points in the story.
Q. How could you influence your friends to give up smoking? Develop a solution as part of the story.
Q. What will the moral to your story be? Complete the story.

Key messages for young people [PDF]

Resources for tackling smoking with young people


Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia
Ph: 08 8406 1600

Drug and Alcohol Services Council
Ph: 08 8274 3333 

Quit SA
Ph: 08 8291 4141

Department for Education and Child Development – Drug Strategy 

South Australia Aboriginal Sports and Training Academy

Useful websites:

For young people