PNCA Portland workshop 4-day comics writing syllabus

photo by Erika Moen

As I promised last week when I posted 2008 Portland workshop follow up, here’s the syllabus we followed for that class. Looking back on it now, it seems like we probably could have put more detail in there! But the group was so dynamic, and with our (then) new textbook in hand, we never felt like we were winging it.

So, to recap, Matt and I taught a 4-day segment of a 10-day Graphic Novel Intensive.) at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Because we were following other teachers, we didn’t need to cover everything in this class, so we focused on the structure of comics, and then writing a 6-page story in thumbnail form. We stopped before getting to layout and penciling. As such, this little lesson plan could be easily adapted to a comics writing course. No virtuosic drawing required.

This was also the first time we had DWWP available to us for classroom use, so we knew (well, we hoped) we could send students off with it and let them finish the work on their own. As I noted in that earlier post, 2008 Portland workshop follow up, the students surpassed any expectations we may have had as far as their enthusiasm and work ethic. They not only finished their stories, but they self-published them together in their anthology Intense, and several of them continue to work together today.

Jefferson Powers interviewed me about the program last week, and he posted the interview today.

4-day writing-intensive workshop syllabus

Goal: teach students how write and edit stories in words and pictures by creating thumbnails for a 6-page comic

Four daily classes: six hours w/hour break

Day 1

Guided jam comic and revision/discussion
Lecture on brainstorming and creativity (Matt)
Assign 6-page story and have brainstorming session (one hour)
Lecture on story structure (Jess) [DWWP chapter 9]
Reading assignment? (short story and/or short comic)

Day 2

Crit of story script/sketches
Lecture/demo: thumbnails, rough sketching (use textbook sidebars)
Discuss reading
Comics Jumble

Day 3

Crit of thumbs
Work on revisions in class
Demos of layout, lettering, inking

Day 4

Final crit of thumbs
Discussion/lecture: what’s next? [i.e., form a group to continue working on these stories, and think about how to continue making comics independently]


Leave a reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

By submitting a comment here you grant Drawing Words Writing Pictures a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.