What is Drawing Words & Writing Pictures?

DW&WP is a website and a book (and soon to be two books), wherein we (Jessica Abel and Matt Madden and our crew of busy interns) help you learn to make, read, and teach comics. Our book is for cartoonists and teachers of all kinds, but sometimes the book alone isn’t enough to get you started and keep you inspired, so we’ve built this site to hold all the ancillary, important, interesting stuff we can find or make.

But it can be a bit daunting to figure out what we have to offer you. So to clarify things and get you started, the structure of the site is this:


This is where we post all new content, even if it also belongs in another category, like lesson plans. Follow us on a reader or Twitter or FB, and you’ll see everything we do.

Some of the kinds of things we post:

The book guides

Here we have assistance for teachers and students using DW&WP the textbook. They are divided up by chapter, and include teacher guide notes, student prep guides (to help you make sure you have everything you need for your next meeting or class), and examples of student work with critique notes.

Teaching resources

This section holds a few lesson plans and links to relevant blog posts about making comics, reading comics, writing comics, and drawing comics. There’s good stuff in here, like a 5-day class syllabus, but frankly we’ve found that the structure isn’t working very well for us, so it will be the subject of a redesign in the very near future.


We are active in many different platforms and hope you’ll check us out, follow us, like us and so on—we’ll return the love! And you can always contact us using outdated, pre-millennial technology like e-mail.

To come

As we mentioned just above, we plan a partial re-design of the site in the next few months to make it more user-friendly and intuitive to use. Hope you’ll return and join in.


6 Comments to What is Drawing Words & Writing Pictures?

  • by Laurence

    On May 13, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I have been enjoying reading your book ‘Drawing Words and Writing Pictures’. It’s a good book and very inspiring.

  • by Matt

    On May 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks very much!

  • by David P.

    On May 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Matt and Jessica,

    I check the site regularly and it’s great. My progress through the book hasn’t been as fast as I would have liked but I’ve found myself more and more using it as a reference work and it’s great. I’ve learned so much from your book.

    Apologies if you’ve already covered it, but one topic I would love to see a post on is character consistency — do you have any tips, advice or exercises to help with ensuring that an imagined character looks the same from frame to frame, in different poses, expressions, and from different angles? Without reference photos, this is one aspect I find myself struggling a bit with at times.

    Many thanks and best wishes,


  • by Jessica

    On May 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Hi David–

    You know, we haven’t written about that, in part, I think, because we have no magic bullet. Basically, we’ve found that, while you should design and draw your characters as much as you can before launching into a comic (and you should have some version of a model sheet, where you define for yourself what the particular features of the character are, like nose or jaw shape), there’s nothing like drawing a whole bunch of comics with that character to nail him/her. Certainly if you look at the vast majority of longer comics (strips, GNs), you will see the characters evolve over time, not settling into a steady form until a year or two into the drawing.

    Wish I had more for you!


  • by David P.

    On May 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks Jessica. That’s actually a great response and very helpful. Thanks too for reminding me of the model sheet too – I had completely forgotten about that!


  • by Jessica

    On May 18, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Glad to help! I do wish it were easier…for my sake as well!