Take Your Comics from Good to Great
The SAW Online Comics Certificate Program 2023-2024
Returning in 2023
We think so! The main thing you need is drive and dedication.
There is a lot of work. Each 6 weeks has a new 6-page assignment, due in 2 weeks, and at the end is another final 6-page assignment. There are also non-mandatory exercises, not mandatory, but useful.
It is an intensive course. And a beginner can't learn everything in a single year or 9-months I'm afraid, but you can definitely get a good good head start. That's what we would hope to do for a newcomer.
Yes, we will have weekly Zoom calls with Tom and/or Emma and a vibrant community in the Mighty Network. Hope to see you there!
For our online programs we recommend students use whatever medium they have available to them and are comfortable using. Our preference is for students to work using traditional, physical material like brush, ink and paper. There will be specific classes (like Justine's inking class) that will require specific materials such as a Windsor Newton Series 7 size 2 brush (a comics industry standard tool), while other classes (like Tom's storytelling class) won't have any specifications so it will be up to the individual student. Our classes won't be addressing digital artmaking directly so we wouldn't recommend buying a digital art pad for this particular program.
We ask that our students commit a minimum of one and a half hours per class each week.
That having been said, this is comics! It’s an all consuming pursuit that is very easy to get lost in! If you have the time and flexibility the material and homework can be expanded for a much greater time investment.
There are three classes per six week block, with additional classes available for people who have the time and means to expand their study. We are not currently offering this program part-time.
You will have two weeks to finish each assignment at the end of the three six-week sessions.
You will have more than 8 weeks to finish the final assignment.
There are no mandatory LIVE components, but new content is released each week for about 6 months. We go at this weekly pace, and ideally everyone keeps up week to week. There's a lot of content, but also lots of time to catch up every 6 weeks.
We do expect to have periodic Zoom calls.
Here's what's involved:
For the three sessions, about 2-4 hours a week of learning
About 1-3 hours a week of exercises (not mandatory).
Honestly, if you put more like 10 hours in, you'll get a lot more out of it, but we know that can be hard.
Finally, a two-week open period to finish the mandatory session assignment.
After that, a fourth session of about 6-8 weeks to work on an open synthesizing assignment.
If you have more time for exercises and extra reading and engagement in the community, you'll get a lot more out of it, but we think the above is a pretty good assessment of what you could get away with if you were on limited time.
We're here to answer them. First check out our general FAQ over at https://www.sequentialartistsworkshop.org/faq-year-long-intensive/ or send us a message via the chat box!
We're closing the doors in...
You will join a cohort of like-minded creators in 3 x 6 week classes over 3 semesters
In the final semester you will be designated a small group to work personally with a professional cartoonist as you complete your final assignment
Every month you will have access to live and recorded events with professional cartoonists hosted in the SAW Community Network
Your end-of-quarter assignments will be graded: failing/passing/excelling
You will have a private, personalized video response by Tom Hart or one of the leading instructors, to each of your quarter's assignments.
You will be guided through the learning materials through weekly live calls with SAW instructors
You will receive discounts to join optional classes 60-75% off public price
Your final work will be reviewed by a committee of professional artists
You will receive a certificate of completion if you finish the course with passing or excelling grades
Want to know more?
Click to watch our live info session with Q+A --> (Or find it on YouTube!)
This is the 2022-2023 school-year schedule. 2023-2024 will be similar.
The course curriculum is divided into 4 x 6-week sessions with additional 2 weeks after each for assignment completion.
Session 1: Sept 5 - Oct 14, 2022: Storytelling, Drawing for Comics and Hidden History of Comics
Optional week-long retreat in-person at Gainesville HQ, Oct 24-28, 2022.
Final assignment for this session is due Oct 28
Session 2: Oct 31 - Dec 9, 2022: Ideas and Vision, Background and Environments and Modern Comics Exploration
Final assignment for this session is due Dec 23.
Session 3: Jan 2 - Feb 10, 2023: Comics Frontiers, Finishing Comics and Professional Practices
Final assignment for this session is due Feb 24, 2023
Session 4: Feb 27 - April 7, 2023: Cohort Mentoring.
Final assignment for this session is due April 30, 2023
Work is sent to our certifying team on May 15 and certificates are mailed out in August 2023.
The Class Community will remain open for you to engage with your fellow students through August 2023.
The Online Certificate Program is offered at sliding scale based on your income: if you can pay more, please do. It goes towards supporting students who wouldn't otherwise have access to the program.
$349 for 9 months
$7500 institution pricing
$4999 institution pricing
We believe that everyone should have access to affordable, quality comics education. We offer a limited number of partial and full scholarships to people who have been historically excluded from comics and arts education. The deadline for scholarships closes August 1.
Sally Cantirino, our first student.
Angeli Rafer credits the SAW Certificate Course
We've ushered hundreds of students into graphic greatness!
“SAW WAS EVERYTHING I NEEDED.
I learned so much in such a short amount of time from some of the most dedicated, compassionate people I've ever met, with wonderful classmates.”
“I never could have been published without SAW. You are the best friend and mentor a young artist could have!”
“I think back on my time at SAW almost every day, the amount I got out of my year there is amazing… I’d probably have quit comics without Tom and Justine’s guidance. I think a lot about how much I’d get out of taking the full-year program again.”
1. Do you want significantly more skills to be able to do comics "right"?
2. Or do you just want to make your graphic novel happen ?
*We put "right" in quotes because we believe everyone can make something stunning with what they have if they have the will and a support system.
The Year Long Certificate Program: When you really really want to up your skills to something more akin to what you see in the graphic novel aisle of the bookstore or library you go to. We teach an amalgam of skills including anatomy, landscape drawing, composition, color/value placement, character design, etc.
This will help you find your voice to create your own comics from start to finish.
After that, we often recommend the Graphic Novel Intensive for: Wisdom, project management, working skills, and mentorship- that's what the Graphic Novel program is about.
Of course your path may be different. We've had people do only one of them. We've had people do them in reverse order.
We're here to help you get YOUR comics made!
The year-long certificate program isn’t simply ‘online classes’. This new low-residency program includes a structure of 4 six-week sessions designed to be taken in order, to bring you to a full synthesis of your learning after 9 months (the last 3 months are for your own peer-to-peer sharing and learning in the group.)
Each session has a drawing component, an idea generation component and a context component. All of these complement each other, and each session has a single, shared assignment.
While past classes won't be credited to the certificate program, we want to make sure that every student is receiving new and engaging learning opportunities that meets their needs. Contact us and together we can figure out the best approach for you!
Our online courses are a kind of 'best of' teaching resources from our faculty so there may be some cross over with past class content. If that's the case, we have a growing catalog of alternative classes that can be substituted for any student who feels like they're repeating a class they've already taken.
The biggest differences between the three options is the availability of resources, price and time commitment to study.
The online only includes, A program of 9 core classes with unique SAW course material, community accountability and personal mentoring to help you achieve your goals and reach the target, optional classes at additional price.
The Low-Residency program includes these things as well as, 3 intensive weeks at SAW. 2 out of 3 of these workshops are required, with the third Visiting Artist Workshop optional. During these 3 weeklong intensives students have direct access to instructors and faculty.
The Full Immersion program includes access to all of the above as well as, 24/7 access to the SAW studio, classes with our Gainesville teachers, mentors, and community, with ongoing extracurricular programs throughout the year.
NOTE- due to COVID-19 we are suspending our Low-Residency and Full Immersion options until April 2021.
Our online classes are run through Thinkific. Each student has access to the course material through a personal portal. Our online forum operates through The Mighty Network. We already have a thriving community there, with a mix of free and pay walled resources.
As to tech support, we’re still just two people - Tom and Emma - who are an email or direct message away. Whatever issue you’re having, we will respond within 24 to 48 hours.
And yes, you will continue to have access to the course material through Thinkific when the program is completed.
The classes are pre-recorded and released each week and remain available to you for as long as you need.
The interaction in the community with Tom, Emma and other instructors is available 24/7 in our network.
There will be weekly Zoom calls with Tom and/or Emma and at least one one live Q+A with each of our individual instructors.
Emma Jensen and Tom Hart will be the main proctors/guides/instructors in this program and one of them will be available in the Mighty Network nearly every day.
Our other instructors, namely Justine Andersen and Sidney Davidson will be in and out during their sessions, based on their schedule.
Each will provide one Zoom call at the end of the session.
Online classes can be hard to stay engaged with, we know that! Facing a computer each day, it can be difficult to feel like you’re part of a community. We have a three fold strategy for keeping students engaged.
Number 1. A pass, fail system for classes. If you are unable to demonstrate your engagement with the course materials and homework tasks, you are unable to move on to the next set of classes.
Number 2. The low-residency weeks are intended to bring students together to put faces to the names of the online community and function as a goal during the semester while students are working independently.
Number 3. Our Mighty Network group is active 24/7, wherever you are in the world. Not only do you have access to your classmates, but you have access to other comics lovers. Each week there will be discussion opportunities, as well as work sharing not only with your peers but with the course instructors.
We believe being able to work independently and motivate yourself is a huge part of being a professional artist. Our goal is to give our students the tools and inspiration to leave the classroom fold and continue to create comics for themselves!
What you pay depends on the program you’re taking, and how much you earn.
SAW currently operates on a sliding scale payment option. Payment is based on your yearly income and is tied to which program you choose to engage with. That means, depending on the program you’re in, we ask you to pay what you can, over and above our minimum tuition fee.
This system is really important to us as a non-profit organization, and helps us in our commitment to make comics available to everyone.
We have scholarships for Black, POC and other previously underserved communities. If you would like to reach out concerning a scholarship, please email of message us below.
Our refund policy is to return payment within two weeks of the beginning of classes.
More online testimonials
“This is fantastic course! If you have ever wondered how sequential storytelling works and if you could use it to tell your own stories - this is the class for you. Tom Hart provides a very solid introduction to this unique form of communication a...”→Read More
“This is fantastic course! If you have ever wondered how sequential storytelling works and if you could use it to tell your own stories - this is the class for you. Tom Hart provides a very solid introduction to this unique form of communication and through well thought out assignments you get an opportunity to put this new knowledge into practice. By posting these assignments to the dedicated Facebook page you will also get supportive feedback from fellow students. There are many online classes out there that promise much more than they deliver ( I know having taken more than a few!) this class was the opposite - I learned much more than I expected! I highly recommend it.”→Read Less
“I loved everything about this class--the premise, the weekly reading assignments and exercises, the video intro to each week, the Google Communities format, and the enthusiastic and thoughtful fellow students. I learned so much--how exercises with...”→Read More
“I loved everything about this class--the premise, the weekly reading assignments and exercises, the video intro to each week, the Google Communities format, and the enthusiastic and thoughtful fellow students. I learned so much--how exercises with constraints can help and guide us, and even push us in directions we might have explored otherwise. I learned how to draw faster so I could turn in work every week. From the readings, I learned about new artists that I'm excited about. I appreciate how much work and thought must have been put into creating this class. Each week built on the week before, and the exercises were unique, challenging, and fun. I can't say enough good things. Thank you Tom! ”→Read Less
“This class helped me think about inking and line work in a whole different way. I used to be really afraid of inking my pencils, but now my inks look even better than my pencil work because I'm more comfortable with inking. It's awesome!”
“This class helped me think about inking and line work in a whole different way. I used to be really afraid of inking my pencils, but now my inks look even better than my pencil work because I'm more comfortable with inking. It's awesome!”→Read Less