Mathematics for Everyone
Comic Challenge

This year’s creative challenge is to create a comic with mathematics. Everyone is invited to participate!

  • Don’t use any words or text in your comic. Use drawings combined with mathematics (a universal language) so people worldwide can understand your comic.
  • Incorporate mathematical elements or ideas in the story, in the art, or even in the format of your comic.
  • You can write any type of story or idea you want. If you need ideas, you can take inspiration from our current and past themes, like:
    • Mathematics for Everyone,
    • Mathematics Unites,
    • Mathematics for a Better World, or
    • Mathematics is Everywhere.

Remember that mathematics is much more than numbers!

  • Geometrical shapes,
  • patterns or sequences,
  • formulas,
  • tesselations,
  • fractals,
  • and many other things!

Here are some examples:

A 9-panel comic. A cartoon arrives homeless to a row of infinite houses. Each house is occupied. The cartoon asks every inhabitant to move over to the next house. This makes the first house empty, and the cartoon can move in. Then an infinite row of cartoons arrives. How can they find a home?

Based on Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel. It shows that a fully occupied hotel with infinite rooms can accommodate new guests. Even an infinite number of new guests!

A single panel cartoon: dromedary (single-humped camel) + camel = a three humped camel-like animal

What other things can you add, subtract or multiply to get surprising results?

A 10-panel comic. An archer shoots an arrow at a target. Each panel shows the arrow getting closer and closer to the target, with a caption that reads "1 - 1/2", "1 - 1/4", "1 - 1/8", etc. In the last panel we see the archer fell asleep waiting for the arrow to reach the target.

Based on one of Zeno’s Paradoxes. The infinite geometric series ½ + ¼ + ⅛ + … approaches but never reaches 1.

You can send us your comics until March 10, 2023. We'll share the best ones we receive in a gallery.
Follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter for future announcements.

Everyone can participate. Share the challenge in your school or university. Team up!

Submit your comic
The challenge ended.

Rules of the challenge

  • The challenge is open until the end of March 10, 2023.
  • Create and submit a comic that:
    • does not use any words or text (you can use mathematics), and
    • incorporates mathematical elements or ideas.
  • Avoid using violence or adult themes. Your comic should be appropriate for all ages.
  • Avoid using existing characters (for legal reasons) or real people who have not consented to appear in your comic.
  • You can send more than one comic, but they should be independent. Comics can only be one page long.

Technical details

  • File format: JPEG (up to 5MB).
  • Resolution: No more than 4000 pixels on the larger side.
  • Technique: All techniques are allowed. You can create your comic through drawing, painting, collage, digital images, etc. You can also create your comic using photos instead of drawings!

You can use any of these formats:

Comic book style: One single page with multiple panels.

Sample of a comic with 9 panels laid out in a grid.

Comic strip style: A strip with multiple panels.

Sample of a comic strip: a single row of panels.

Cartoon style: A single panel.

Sample of a cartoon: a single panel.

Tutorials and Inspiration

Creating a comic may seem challenging, but you can use any technique you feel comfortable with.

  • The popular webcomic xkcd is based on simple stick figures and line drawings.
  • Many webcomics, like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, or webcomic_name, use simple drawing styles to share very smart, profound, and funny ideas.
  • You can also use photos instead of drawings. Photo comics have been popular in different countries throughout the years.
  • Famous superhero comic artists like Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko experimented with combining collage and op art with their drawings. These are good ways to use complex geometric renderings to create comics.
Cover of "Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art" by Scott McCloud.

If you want to learn more about comics, their history, and how they work, you can read “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art” by Scott McCloud (1993), one of the most popular books on the subject (which is also, itself, a comic). It’s available in many languages.