Monday, July 15, 2019

My Favorite Drawing Tutorials

Here's a selection of some of my favorite drawing and art tutorials from my Youtube channel.  These have been carefully curated to further explore topics covered in my From Stick to Figure and Manga Madness classes at the St Charles Parish Public Library.  These are a great place to start if you're interested in learning how to draw your own comics, or are looking for great art tutorials.

Constructive Drawing/Drawing Basics

Think In 3D: Volumetric Drawing
Building a Figure Using Constructive Anatomy

Basic Figure Drawing/Figure Construction

Constructive Anatomy Demonstration
Sketching Silhouettes- Capturing Gesture and Movement
Constructive Figure Drawing Tutorial

Drawing Manga Faces/Cartoon Faces

Making Faces- Easy Drawing Tutorial
Drawing Fun Cartoon Faces: Expression Tutorial
Drawing Chibi Faces in Multiple Styles
Draw a Face Three Ways
Cartoon Face Turnaround Demonstration

Intermediate Figure Drawing/Figure Studies

Figure Drawing From Reference- Multiple Figures
QuickPoses One Month Figure Drawing Challenge
Figure Drawing for Comics
Drawing and Inking Workshop
Drawing a Head from Different Views- 360 Head Turnaround

Drawing Characters for Comics

Drawing Cartoony Figures
Figure Construction: How to Draw Cartoony Characters
Constructing a Figure- Child
Constructing a Figure- Woman
Constructing a Figure- Man
Chibi Drawing Using Figure Construction

Perspective and Environments

One Point Perspective: Improvement Hell
Intro to Comic Craft: You Need Perspective
Improvement Hell Challenge 2 Point Perspective

Comic Creation

Let's Make a Comic Concept to Scripting to Thumbnails to Roughs
Intro to Comic Craft: Thumbnailing Your Comic
Hourly Comic Day Demonstrations
Character Design in Colored Leads
Generating Thumbnails for Illustration
Intro to Comic Craft: Costume Design

Character Design

Character Design Walkthrough
A Little Princess- Character Design Prompt
Steampunk Maid Character Design Walkthrough
Night Terrors: Character Design Prompt
Lonely Kittens ?!: Character Design Prompt
Operatic Vampires- Character Generator Challenge
Don't Shoot the Messenger- Character Design Challenge
An Orange Flower in Fair Hair- Character Design Challenge
Anne of Green Gables- Cartoon Face Walkthrough

If you've enjoyed these videos, make sure you subscribe to my channel- I update at least twice a week, and I always have something neat to show or share!

Materials for Teaching Comics Classes

These are my preferred materials for teaching comic classes, and I think it serves as a great starting point for schools or libraries that want to offer comic programs.

If you enjoyed this post, found it helpful as a resource, and would like me to continue making content like this, head on over to Patreon and join the Artnerd community, supporting me in work like this!

Per Student

  • Pencils- I prefer mechanical pencils as we can switch out the leads- two per student
  • Non photo blue lead (can be wooden pencils, Col-erase,clutch pencil leads, mechanical pencil leads)
  • Graphite Pencils- HB, B (same as above)

Communal Must Have

  • Bristol board (11x17) or inexpensive watercolor paper (like Canson XL Watercolor) (students generally use about 8 pages from a 15 page pack)
  • 2 reams of printer paper (useful for printing class handouts, class materials templates, thumbnails, and roughs)
  • 1 Bottle of sumi ink 
  • 1 per student- Fine Line Pens- .5 and .8
  • Brushpens-1 per student- I'm a fan of the Sakura Pigma Professional 3 packs
  • 1 Jar Dr PH Martin's Bleedproof White ink
  • White vinyl erasers
  • Rulers
  • Nibs- Crowquill, G-Nibs, Spoon nibs
  • Nib holders

Classroom Requirements:

  • Projector or large monitor for presentations and demonstrations
  • Tables for students to work at
  • Small cups for ink
  • Paper towels
  • Access to a white board or mounted drawing pad for demonstrations

Also Helpful:

Per Student

  • Sketchbooks (students can provide their own)
  • Pentel Pocketbrush brushpens or other nylon bristled brushpens
  • Microns/Multiliners
  • Brush pens

Communal Materials

  • Additional bone folders
  • Additional long arm stapler
  • Nibs for class use (I have enough for 10 students)
  • Nib holders for class use* (I have about 10 I can share)
  • Brushes for inking
  • Drafting Brush
  • Access to tube watercolors, markers, other materials to add color or inspiration
  • Blue tape
  • Scanner
  • Printer or access to a Copier
  • Computer with photo editing software
  • Graphics tablets

My Product Recommendations:

Feel free to mix and match from these categories to suit your classroom needs, or contact me for a curated list.

Note:  On products with Amazon listings, I see a small bounty per purchase.  This adds no additional cost to your order, but does allow me to continue producing posts like this.  Blick and DollarTree listings have no such bounty.



Blick Studio Sketchbook
Various sizes
100 sheets each
Various prices on Blick

Strathmore Spiral Bound Sketchpads, 200 series
Various sizes
100 Sheets
Various Prices on Blick

Other Types:

Amazon Basics Copy paper
8.5"x11", 500 sheets
$6.69 on Amazon

Pacon Tracing Paper
9"x12", 500 sheets
$26.28 on Amazon

Art Paper 

Strathmore Sequential Bristol Board, 200 series
11"x17", 24 sheets
$12.22 on Amazon
$12.66 on Blick

Strathmore Sequential Bristol Board, Vellum surface, 500 series
11"x17", 24 sheets
$27.87 on Amazon
$25.03 on Blick

Canson Comic Book Art Boards
Pre-printed with non-repo blue lines
11"x17", 24 sheets
$23.70 on Amazon

Canson XL Mixed Media Paper
12"x18", 100 sheets
$24.95 on Amazon

Canson XL Watercolor Paper
11"x15", 30 sheets
$14.96 on Amazon

Canson Montval
10"x15", 12 Sheets
$14.90 on Amazon


Colored Leads

Pilot Color Eno, Mechanical Pencil Lead
Soft Blue
3 Packs
$6.77 on Amazon

Pilot Color Eno Mechanical Pencil Lead Set
.7mm, 8 color set
$16.50 on Amazon

Papermate Clearpoint Color Lead Mechanical Pencils
6 count, 6 lead refills, 6 erasers
.7mm, assorted colors
$31.83 on Amazon

Prismacolor Col-Erase Erasable Colored Pencil
Light Blue
Set of 12
$15.29 on Amazon

$1.09 each on Blick, bulk pricing available

INC Colorpoint Pencils
$1 per pack of 4
Min order- case of 24 packs 
$24 for 24 packs on DollarTree:

Note:  Just select one of these, or mix mechanical pencils and wooden pencils to suit your class' needs

Graphite Pencils

Amazon Basics Pre Sharpened Wooden Pencils
#2 Lead
150 Pack
$10.90 on Amazon

Pilot G2 Mechanical Pencil with Contoured Rubber Grip
36 pieces
$39.99 on Amazon
*these can be filled with lead of any hardness or color, so long as it's .7mm lead

Dollar Tree INC Side Cliques Mechanical Pencils
$1 per pack

INC Soft Scripts
$1 for 6
Sold in a case of 36 packs
$36 on DollarTree

Bic Velocity Max
12 Count
$18.99 on Amazon

Bic Velocity
12 Count
$9.13 on Amazon


White Stroke, box of 18
$10.49 on Jerry's Artarama
White Stroke, Box of 3
$3.29 on Jerry's Artarama

Mono Plastic Erasers, 10 pieces
$7.50 on Amazon
3 piece set
$5.05 on Amazon

Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser
Pack of 9
$9.97 on Amazon

Pentel Clic Erase
1 Eraser wtih 2 Refills
$8.98 on Amazon
Pack of 12
$13.11 on Amazon

Note:  Just select one of these, there's no need to buy all



C-Thru Graph Beveled Transparent Ruler
$5.99 on Amazon

Westcott 12" Junior T Square
$4.55 on Amazon

Class Packs:

Safe-T 12" Clear Ruler
Pack of 24
$18.88 on Amazon

Safe-T 12" Clear Ruler
Pack of 24
$12.60 on Amazon

Classmaster 15cm translucent ruler
metric, shatter resistant
pack of 10
$4.99 on Amazon


Safe-T Blue Compass, classroom set
Set of 12
$9.95 on Amazon

Safe-T Bullseye Compass, classroom set
Set of 30
$31.86 on Amazon

Mr Pen 15 Piece Compass Set
Swing Arm Protractor (6"), Geometry Set for Students, Geometry Set for School, Divider, Set Squares, Ruler, Protractor, Compass Math, Compass and Protractor, Eraser
$9.99 on Amazon

9 Piece Drawing Template Set
$14.59 on Amazon


Everything listed here is waterproof and alcohol marker safe

Class Sets:
Sakura Pigma Micron Fineline Pen Artist Set- 59 pieces:
Contains Pigma: Brush (9 pc); Graphic: 1mm (4 pc), 2mm (1 pc), 3mm (1 pc); Micron 005 (8 pc), 01 (9 pc), 02 (4 pc), 03 (4 pc), 05 (15 pc), 08 (4 pc)
$79.88 on Amazon
$85.98 on Blick

Sakura Micron 05 Felt Tip, Pack of 8
$16.80 on Amazon
Packs of 6, various sizes, also available on Blick

Individual Sets:

Sakura Pigma Sensei Manga Drawing Set:
Pigma ink pens (0.3 mm Ultra Fine Plastic Tip, 0.4 mm Plastic Tip, 0.6 mm Bullet Fiber Tip, and 1 mm Bold Fiber Tip), a plastic eraser, and an illustration guide.
$12.04 on Amazon
$11.94 on Blick

Sakura Manga Comic Pro Set
8 Piece set
1 each pigma micron 005, 01, 02, 03, 05, 08, 1 each graphic 1mm all black, 1 each 0.7mm fixed sleeve mechanical pencil
$15.07 on Amazon

Sakura Pigma Microns, Set of 8:
Contains eight Black pens in various sizes, including 005 (0.20 mm), 01 (0.25 mm), 02 (0.30 mm), 03 (0.35 mm), 05 (0.45 mm), 08 (0.50 mm), Pigma Brush, and 1.0 mm Pigma Graphic.
$15.98 on Amazon
$10.49 on Blick



Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens:
3 size set- FB, MB, BB
$7.11 on Amazon
$10.19 on DickBlick

Individual Sizes
Set of 2 pens
Various prices on Amazon: $7.11 on Amazon
$3.43 on Blick, bulk pricing available

Pentel Pigment Brush Pen Extra Fine
$6.50 on Amazon
Medium Tip
$5.93 on Amazon

Pentel Arts Color Water Brush Box Set
Black, Grey, Sepia, and waterbrush
$17.88 on Amazon

Not Waterproof:

Pentel Arts Pocket Brush
1 pen, 2 refills
$8.19 on Amazon
$10.86 on Blick
3 sets, 6 refills
$29.90 on Amazon
Pocket Brush Refills
12 refills
$9.90 on Amazon

Kuretake Fudegokochi Brush Pen
Pack of 3
$8.35 on Amazon


Tachikawa G Nibs
$1.20 each on Paper and Ink Arts

Tachikawa Spoon Nibs
$1.79 on Amazon

Tachikawa Nib Holder
$7.98 on Amazon

Zebra Comic G Model Chrome Nib
10 Nibs
$7.94 on Amazon
20 nibs
$15.76 on Amazon
30 nibs
$23.18 on Amazon

Tachikawa Comic Pen Holder Set- 2 holders, pack of Zebra G Nibs
$18.99 on Amazon

Nikko Manga Nib Set
4 types
11 total pieces
$19.90 on Amazon

Deleter Manga Starter Kit
Nib holder, three nibs
$9.00 on Amazon

Speedball Nib Holder
$5.33 on Amazon

Standard Pen Holder
$.59 on Blick

Rubbing Alcohol
for cleaning nibs/removing oil from nibs

99% Isopropyl Alcohol
Pack of 2, 16FL oz
$9.99 on Amazon


India Ink
Note: India ink is not waterproof unless the bottle says waterproof.  India ink is not alcohol marker proof, regardless, as it is shellac based

Speedball India Ink
Quart Bottle
$12.66 on Amazon

Winsor and Newton India Ink
30ml, with dropper
$8.21 on Amazon

Sumi Ink
Generally not waterproof

Yasutomo Black Sumi Ink
12 oz
$14.26 on Amazon


Alcohol markers

Brush Tipped Markers:

Blick Studio Brush Markers
Individual markers:
$2.96 each on Blick
Set of 24:
$64.18 on Blick
Set of 96:
$199.16 on Blick

Copic Ciao Markers:
Individual Markers:
$3.59 on Blick
Set of 24:
$86.16 on Blick
Set of 72
$258.48 on Blick

Bullet tipped markers:

Arrtx Alcohol Markers
80 pieces
$59.99 on Amazon

Watercolor markers/watercolor brushpens

Arrtx Watercolor Markers
48 markers
$31.80 on Amazon

Arteza Real Brush Pens
96 colors
$69.98 on Amazon



MozArt Komorebi Watercolors
40 full watercolor pans
$24.99 on Amazon

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Set of 12
$12.63 on Amazon

Dainayw Watercolor Paint Set
42 colors, compact
comes with brush pen
$16.69 on Amazon

Sakura Koi
12 color set
$14.99 on Blick

Tube watercolors can be portioned out into palettes, and are often more economical for class groups.  Really, only need 12 basic colors, can mix the rest

Recommended Colors:

Quin Magenta or Alizarin Crimson
Pthalo or Prussian Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Transparent Yellow
Lemon Yellow Hue
Dioxine Violet
Yellow Ocre
Burnt Sienna
Sap Green
Carbon Black

Recommended Brands:
Grumbacher Academy

Winsor and Newton
Qor watercolor



Graphics Software:

Medibang Paint Pro (Windows, MacOS, iPad, Android)

Krita (Windows, Linux, MacOS)
Recommended for school/libraries! (Windows only)

Pixia (Windows)


Clip Studio Paint (iOS, Windows, iPad)
Two versions:
Pro- $59.99 on Amazon
Ex- $229 on Amazon

Paint Tool Sai (Windows only)

Affinity Photo (Windows/Mac/iOS)
$50 one time license fee

mdiapp+SE (Windows)
Good software, but primarily not in English

Layout Software:

Affinity Publisher (Windows/Mac/iOS)
$50 one time license

For more in depth reviews of the software mentioned above, I highly recommend you read through Kabocha's reviews:  Kabocha also has a list of free drawing software that may be useful for your students.


Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablet
Software included
$49.95 on Amazon

HUION 1060 Plus Graphic Drawing Tablet
$62.24 on Amazon


Brother MFC-J5330DW
A large format printer/scanner/fax that is ideal for printing bluelines and scanning full size comic pages.  This could be shared amongst teachers or kept in the library for common use.
$144.99 on Amazon

Please check out this post for my complete recommendations

Stand Alone Scanners

Large Format 
Epson Expression 11000XL (large format scanner- this is the one I've used for several years)
$3,514.24 on Amazon

Small Format
Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner:

$88.00 on Amazon

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Two New Classes for Artnerds

Hey friends!

As you guys know, I just finished teaching a series of six comic classes in South East Louisiana.  Two of these classes are brand new- From Stick to Figure, and Manga Madness are never before presented classes.  Between the two, there are over a hundred demonstrations and walkthroughs- these are pretty hefty presentations!

Cheat Sheet from From Stick to Figure

Cheat Sheet from Manga Madness

I know many of you would like to attend these classes but can't- that's why I'm sharing them with my Artnerds over on Patreon.  If you like my videos and classes, now would be a great time to join the community, so you get Backer Exclusive access to these classes, as well as all the classes (videos, handouts, and more) in my Making Comics class series.  There's a lot of really great stuff I share with Artnerds that's never released to the public, including printable monthly miniprints, a monthly wallpaper, monthly Patron sketchbooks, access to presentations and demonstrations, and early access to videos!  Your support on Patreon enables me to continue to dedicate time to updating this blog, creating new content for Youtube, and creating convention recaps to share on How to be a Con Artist.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Overwork and Burnout

For the past month and a half, I've been on the road.  It began with A2CAF (a library con aimed at kids and teens in Ann Arbor, MI) in May, and finally ended with the East Regional Library Comic Con in Destrehan.  In between, I taught a whopping six comic classes in Louisiana, with class sizes that ranged from 3-20, and ages that spanned 5-15.  As I land in Nashville, I'm preparing to start another six-week Making Comics session with Nashville Community Ed and resume teaching Copic and Comic classes through PlaZa Art.  Before I left, I was teaching PlaZa Copic marker classes every couple weeks, and my last Nashville Community Ed Making Comics Class ended in February.

With all these cons and classes, you'd really think I'd just be rolling in the dough.  This is what I've worked so hard for, this is what success looks like, right?  People see my tables at conventions and ask for advice on becoming a professional artist, and while I try to come up with something honest yet uplifting, the whole time I'm doing mental gymnastics.  Do I tell them the truth?  Do I encourage them and hope that things are different in five years?  Is it actually helpful, or am I just venting my spleen?

The reality is, I work hard, I juggle a lot, I travel frequently, and I can't seem to scratch a living.  Classes provide somewhat reliable income, but most of the venues I teach through pay by the head, rather than a set class fee.  Although I stand to make a lot more money, I've come to really appreciate the set fee- at least it's something I can depend on.  Pay by the head definitely incentivizes self-promotion, but that only gets me so far- my Twitter and Instagram currently read as a constant shill for classes, with no time left to make art, let alone share it.  While these venues benefit from butts in seats, promotion is usually left squarely on my shoulders, along with class content generation, handout generation, and actually teaching the material.

Recently, I asked friends on Twitter how they handle burnout, short of taking an extended break or walking away forever.  The answers varied- warm baths, relaxing walks, awesome creative hobbies, reading favorite books.  A small investment of self-care and relaxation, if applied regularly, can pay big dividends, and often we forget to reinvest when we're in times of crunch. I'm absolutely guilty of this- I've spent very little time reinvesting in my own mental hygiene while I was in Louisiana.  If I wasn't actively teaching classes, I was prepping for the next class, if not doing class prep, I reviewed Dollar Tree art supplies, if not reviewing Dollar Tree art supplies, I ran errands with family, if not running errands, I edited or screened videos to make space on my phone.  I literally never made space for self-care.

For those of us who live hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, just one bad convention away from a serious financial problem, the crunch mentality is all too tempting.  It's tempting to take on boatloads of work, even if it doesn't pay well, to try and build up some savings.  It's tempting to start new projects, hoping that'll be the one that really takes off.  It's tempting to overextend, with the fragile promise that once there's some stability, we'll back off and cut back. 

I don't know how burnout manifests for you, but for me, there's anxiety, frustration/anger, and lots of depression.   Those are not traits positively associated with professional comic artists looking for work, let alone comic artists who teach looking to fill classes.  Those are not traits welcomed in comic communities, even if other artists can identify.  Those are not traits I want to cultivate in myself, and the more I burn myself out, the more I become accustomed to those feelings as my baseline- normal for Becca. 

I really want to end this on a positive note, something uplifting or inspirational, some lesson I've learned that others can take away.  Right now, I have another six-week course of Making Comics ahead of me, and when that finishes, I'm teaching another round of Making Comics and an Intermediate Comics course with NCE in the Fall.  Both classes will be six weeks in length, but they're concurrent.  I also signed up to teach various art classes through PlaZa from now until February.  I have a show in September, and I've just made tentative plans with the St Charles Parish Library system to teach more comic art classes. I enjoy teaching, and I like getting paid to teach even more, and all of these opportunities are paid opportunities.  The challenge lies with me to find a balance and try to make the financials work while avoiding burnout and finishing Volume 2 of 7" Kara. 

In the end, I may end up burnt out.  I may end up making the same mistakes.  I may end up making my Summer and Fall a slog of work.  This may be my failstate- falling back into nasty old habits that make me mentally ill.  Or my failstate may be even worse- I may fail to accomplish any of my goals, or I may end up making life-altering poor choices, or I may have to make difficult choices out of financial desperation.  These are all possibilities.  I may also figure out a way to balance everything- I may figure out how to make some sacrifices (workwise) to spare my body and my mind.  I may learn how to prioritize what's really important to me (finishing Volume 2) with what's necessary (earning a living).  This can be an opportunity to forge new habits or a chance to fall back into old bad ones.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Why Teaching a Comic Craft Module is Perfect for Your Classroom

As a comic artist, I am a huge advocate for comics.  I believe that there is a comic genre and an art style for every reader, and I want to help non-comic readers find a comic they can love.  I adore the juxtaposition of art and text and feel that comics are the perfect medium.

Unfortunately, comics are still not taught in many classrooms and are still frequently treated like a second-class form of literature (if they're treated as literature at all).   Comics are not a replacement for novels, poetry, short fiction, or nonfiction- it is a unique medium on its own.  In some way, shape or form, comics have been with us since the dawn of time- sequential art is an important part of human history.  From cave drawings to stained glass, from altarpieces to hymnals, we have used sequential art and storytelling to convey information to those with varying degrees of literacy.

Today I'd like to share with you why comics are a great fit for many classrooms, and why you should consider teaching a module on comics.  If you need guidance or additional resources, don't hesitate to email me, I'm happy to help!

The focus of this post is to encourage teachers and librarians to teach comics as a method of storytelling, and not necessarily as an industry to enter.  Comics as an industry is in a constant state of flux- the industry of today is not going to be the same industry your students enter as professionals.  And within the comics industry, there are many paths- webcomics (self-published online), self-published books, working as an independent creator on a creator-owned project with an indie press, working on a creator-owned project with a large press, working on an existing IP for a publisher, and each path is different.  The one constant throughout all these paths is a need to communicate visually, to convey stories, and to utilize visual media and the written word to tell a story.

This ability to communicate visually is a valuable skill that is underutilized and sets students and employees apart, regardless of your students' interest in creating comics outside of the classroom, or their ability to draw.  Even stick figures can be an effective medium for storytelling, as evidenced by the Kingdom of Loathing and West of Loathing games, as well as by the popular webcomic XKCD.

Comics, and comic storytelling has application far outside the art sphere.  Comics are cross-discipline and can be useful for conveying information about history (The Warren Commission Report, The Crogan's Adventures series), science (:01 Second's Science Comics series), math (Economix, What If), music (Hip Hop Family Tree), computer science (Wizzywig, xkcd), philosophy (The Unflattening), geometry and design (The Acme Novelty Library) and more.  Comics are a useful platform for creative writing, encouraging students to tell stories visually.  For struggling and emerging readers, comics also provide visual support for literacy and can be useful for children and adults with emotional development disorders learn important socialization skills.

English/Writing/Composition Classes
  • Comics is a form of storytelling- story composition, story construction, three-act structure, crafting dialogue, creating engaging characters and believable settings
  • Comic craft, as a broader topic, also involves the ability to write a synopsis, create a pitch, craft a story with a beginning, middle, and end
  • Analyzing comics- short and long- for what works, what doesn't work
  • Teaches students to think about story both in a written form (script) and in a visual form (final comic or final thumbnails)- storytelling is taught in two dimensions
  • Comic drawing and reading provide hands-on engagement- this engages multiple senses
  • Works well for various types of learning styles

  • Scripts can be loose or follow a very strict format- from plotform (which just describes the actions on the page, if that) to a structured script that includes setting, shot and stage direction, character acting and motivation, and descriptions of clothing and facial expression.
  • Can focus on just getting them to the thumbnails stage-still strong focus on visual communication, less emphasis on drawing technical skills
  • Students who enjoy it can earn extra credit for additional levels of finish

  • Collaboration- communication and cooperation- comic process can be broken into discrete stages and distributed amongst a 'studio' or group of students- writer, editor, penciler, inker
  • Practice positive and useful forms of critique- aimed at making the product better at every stage
  • Almost any professional writer or artist needs peer review and editing, so these are valuable skills that translate to other industries as well, including programming and engineering

Even within the framework of an English class, comics are:

Multi-Discipline- comics require math (multiplication, measurement, geometry)
Science- observation, and analyzation
Computer skills- research, digitizing and correcting finished comic pages, website building and maintenance
Collaboration- Students can opt to work together to complete a single project, or may exchange editing and critique skills to improve their personal projects
Public speaking comes into play if your class hosts a mini comic or zine exchange- students can practice summarizing and pitching their comic projects to classmates, then present the project to the class

  • Comics support literacy and social skills through a combination of text and imagery.  Children who struggle socially may find comics provide cause and effect scenarios that combine dialogue, facial expression, and body language
  • While comics are great for struggling students, it is not JUST for those students- comics are for everyone and can be as simple or as complicated as you wish

Art Classes

  • Comics are a natural fit for art classes and would make a perfect collaboration between art and English/fiction classes
  • Comics teaches cartooning- the distillation and processing of visual information.  It requires more critical thinking, but less technical skill than drawing from reference, and students may find cartooning far preferable to more realistic drawing
  • Cartooning is also an excellent opportunity to teach figure drawing, perspective, drawing from reference, drawing clothing, drawing hair, understanding folds- basically comics can be a great way to encourage students to draw outside their comfort zones
  • Cartooning allows more room for creativity and imagination
  • Cartooning still teaches valuable art skills- students still need to understand anatomy, develop systems for drawing, need to understand observation, perspective, and composition.  Cartooning just presents this in a format that is more palatable to many artists, with skills that are more relevant to their daily lives
  • Cartooning and comics do not take the place of learning traditional art skills- these skills are useful for comic artists
  • GOOD COMICS DONT HAVE TO HAVE GOOD ART! This can be an easy entryway for timid artists to develop artistic motor skills and build confidence
  • Many of your students already enjoy comics, anime, and manga, so you're utilizing an existing interest to teach them new techniques

When Contacting Artists
  • Please only contact artists who are open for such contact-this type of help is time-consuming and frequently unpaid.
  • Many comic artists willing to do classroom visits or Skype visits
  • Loads of resources available online, Google around before you email a specific question
  • Consider tipping (Paypal, Ko-Fi, Patreon) comic artists who are willing to help

Any educator who needs resources for teaching comics, please feel free to email me

About me

I'm a comic artist and illustrator with an MFA in Sequential Art and a BA in Fine Art.  My Master's thesis explored how the comic page layout affects a reader's comprehension and focused mainly on younger readers.  While working on my thesis, I became convinced that comics were a perfect medium for readers of all ages, particularly younger readers and struggling readers.  Many teachers and librarians at the time believed that comics hindered reading, but even then, there was sufficient research that proved the opposite- comics are an excellent addition to picture and prose books and reinforce not only reading skills, but also social and spatial skills.  This research inspired me to pursue kidlit comics as my focus, and my comic, 7" Kara, combines beautiful watercolor art (reminiscent of children's picture books) with comic craft.  Now I spend my time teaching comic workshops, leading comic community ed classes, and creating kidlit comics.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Summer 2019 Making Comics Class

I'm offering another round of Making Comics, my six week comic class through Nashville Community Ed, this Summer.  This one is special- I've listened to your requests, and am offering Making Comics at a special timeslot more accessible to teens and younger artists.

Making Comics is an affordable art class for all ages offered through Nashville Community Education.  For $69, you receive six weeks of comic instruction that covers everything from writing your comic story to basic figure drawing, creating backgrounds, laying out and assembling your comics, and ending with a zine exchange!

This is a great opportunity to get started on your own comic project or a great summer class for an arty teenager!  Each class runs for 2 hours, allowing for plenty of individualized critique and encouragement.

  • It's $69 for all six classes (so about $10 and some change per class) 
  • Classes is 2-4PM  on Tuesdays at the Cohn School in Room 112
  • Classes begin July 9th and end August 13th  
  • Class ends with a minicomic and zine exchange.
  • You can register through Nashville Community Ed here.
  • NCE now has scholarships available!  Learn more
  • Anyone 16 and older can take the class with parental consent, anyone 13 and older can take class if a parent is also registered for Making Comics.
Making Comics 2019 Student Zines

If you've always wanted to learn how to make your own comics, or are interested in learning more about visual storytelling, Making Comics is a perfect introductory course designed to get you producing comics.  

Over six weeks, you'll learn
  • Scripting
  • Planning and Designing Characters
  • Environments
  • Drawing within the panel
  • The Comic Production Process
  • Traditional Inking Techniques
  • Assembling your printed comic into a mini

For students interested in a deeper dive, there are additional materials for the course from the instructor available online via blog posts and Youtube videos.

In past classes, Nashville Community Ed has provided

  • Sketchbooks
  • Mechanical Pencils
  • Red and Blue leads
  • Graphite leads
  • Bristol board
  • Technical Pens
  • Brushpens
for students to use to make their own comics and zines.

I augmented this by bringing in loads of amazing art resources- zines, comics, how to draw reference books, printing out student bluelines, providing ink, brushes, and nibs during our inking demonstration, as well as laying out and printing minicomics and zines for the zine exchange. For Making Comics, I hope to offer the same range of materials and hope to improve the overall class experience by spending more time on demonstration, less time on explanation. For students interested in a deeper dive, I have resource lists, art books, and tutorials on hand to augment each class.

During this class we’re going to cover:
  • Storytelling and plot pacing
  • Scripting
  • Basic Human Anatomy for cartooning
  • An Introduction to perspective for backgrounds and environments
  • An Exploration of traditional inking materials

Students will have the opportunity to plot, plan, write, draw, ink, and assemble their own mini-comics and zines using materials provided by Nashville Community Ed, myself, or their personal tools of choice.

Even if you're already making comics, this class provides an excellent opportunity to meet other comic artists, create comics in a friendly setting, hone your skills, and seek critique.   Feel free to work at your own pace in a welcoming environment, or work along with the structure of the class.

Ok, so what can I expect?

  • Basic class materials- pencils, paper, pens- will be provided for you, but you're welcome to use whatever you're comfortable with!  
  • Instructor will provide brushes, nibs, inks, and various papers for students to experiment with
  • Expect to produce 8 pages of content- either a comic, a zine, or a combination of the two.  More is great, but we're aiming for 8 pages.
  • Expect to keep a sketchbook during class
  • Be prepared to share your work in class and online for feedback and comic/resource recommendations (if you are not comfortable doing this, please let me know.  You're still welcome, I'll just make a note not to ask you to share your work in class)
  • Access to a large library of zines, comics, and art resource books available to borrow
  • Instructor (me!) will handle printing materials, so you don't need access to a printer, but access to a scanner will be helpful.  No scanner?  Let me know- we can arrange something
  • Class ends with a Zine exchange- myself and NCE are still discussing how we'd like to handle our THIRD! zine exchange together.
  • Join the Nashville comic/zine community- students stay in contact after class has ended

The Zine Exchange

Zine Exchange, Spring 2019, hosted by The Groove

After our six weeks together, we celebrate all the hard work with a Zine Exchange!  Every semester, we've done something special to celebrate completing our zines and minicomics.  Every student who completes a zine or minicomic will receive copies to exchange with their classmates and take home to share!  Friends and family are encouraged to attend and help us celebrate!  

Not an artist?  Fear not--this class is geared to be useful for beginners as well as more experienced artists.  If you need additional help or resources, I’m available via email during the semester, and there’s a Facebook group to facilitate critique and growth during and even after class. Classes are recorded and uploaded to Youtube, then shared with students after class, in case anyone missed class, or missed some of the material covered.

About Me
I hold an MFA in comics from SCAD, have almost a decade of experience teaching comics in classes, workshops, panels, over Youtube, and through my blog, have made comics for over two decades, and have work in nearly a dozen anthologies.  I've self-published the first volume of my watercolor comic, self-distributed it, released it as a webcomic, and am working on finishing up the second volume for a Kickstarter release, and make new zines every year as part of my Inktober project. You might know me from Nashville-area comic cons such as MTAC, Handmade and Bound, or some of the local library shows.  I've taught comic workshops all over the country, and hope to continue to share my love and enthusiasm for this medium with Nashville.

My work:
7" Kara- my watercolor webcomic

This class is a continuation of Making Comics and Making Comics and Zines, classes offered through Nashville Community Ed in the past. If you're interested in viewing last semester's class materials, or have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me via email. Registration for Making Comics is still open!

Low on funds but want to apply?  NCE has scholarships available