SVA this summer: Hothouse

I’m teaching an intensive course in comics this summer along with co-teachers Tom Hart and Keith Mayerson at SVA. It’s a great group of students, and I hoped to post a video of an intensive critique of one student’s page–but the sound was too bad to salvage (need a new video camera!). Here’s the page, by Adam Munger, in any case (some pencil marks on there are mine, done as we discussed the page.

The critique method, by Keith Mayerson, is interesting: he has students photocopy their pencils for everyone in the group. He reads the page out loud. Then each person in the group has to give and “attribute” (a positive observation) and a “nitpick” (a critical observation) on the page. Finally, Keith (and in this case, I, since we’re co-teaching) weigh in. It’s very thorough! The crit of this one page took an hour, and we all liked it. No crit that day lasted less than 20 minutes. Fortunately, the class is six hours long.


Week One

Jessica, Tom, Keith


story development: each discuss own methods,

Jessica review work organization ideas, story structure, narrative arc

Field Trip to MoCCA (time permitting)


-Obtain materials

-Read chapters 1-3 of Understanding Comics

– thumbnails for your 8-10 page comic: make 5 sets of photocopies.

read DWWP chapters 5, 6, 7 (penciling, layout, lettering)  9, 10 (narrative arc, characters)

Week Two

Jessica, Keith

small group crits: thumbnails

Keith: Composition Basics: The Gag Cartoon,

McCloud discussion

Jessica: Lettering/layout demo (chs 6-7)


-revise thumbs fully

-Create first penciled page, Xerox for class members, Keith & Jessica

-read the rest of Understanding Comics

read DWWP chs 8, 13 (inking)

Week Three

Keith, Jessica

First group critique of page 1 pencils


Make corrections of first penciled page, ink page, and create 2nd- 3rd penciled page

Week Four

Keith, Tom

Critique of 1st inked, 2nd -3rd penciled page


Make corrections of second-third penciled pages, ink pages, and create 4th penciled page,

Xerox new pages for group critique for all class members and instructors

Week Five

Tuesday, June 29

Tom, Keith

Third group critique


Make corrections of 4th penciled page, ink page, and create 5th penciled page

Week Six

Tom,  Jessica

group crit follow up

Inking demo

“Master drawings” (inked copies)


Ink page 5, pencil 6-7


Week Seven

Jessica, Tom

Page 4, 5 Critique


Ink page 7-8, pencil 9

Week Eight

Free week – finish p 9, pencil p 10


Week Nine


Page 8 Critique

Lesson on how to make minicomics


Ink page 10

make mini comics for class final critique

Week Ten

Jessica, Tom, Keith

Final Critiques


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