Make your book come alive

Is your graphic novel begging to be made? Are you losing sleep thinking about it? Is it biting at you, tugging at you, making you crazy?

We know how it is! We've been there before.

You need to put your attention to it. You need to find the focus and tools to say yes to it and make it happen.

The Graphic Novel Development Intensive is what you need.

In this course, you'll find 5 distinct actions to take: Choosing Your Idea, Exploring Forms and Formats, Structuring Your Idea, Gaining Steam and Sharing and Publishing. 

Course curriculum

  • 01
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    • Welcome!
    • Video Welcome from Tom and Emma
    • Video - How to Navigate this Course
    • A brief outline of comics making process
    • Course PDF Packet
  • 02
    Honing in on your idea
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    • From the PDF - Your Idea(s)
    • Some methods for deciding. Fiction and non-fiction
    • Honing in on your idea
    • Tom and Emma discuss Honing in on Your Idea
    • Your Idea(s) - Questions to Answer for the Group
  • 03
    Parameters and Formats
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    • From the PDF - Parameters and Formats
    • Finding Your Personal Form
    • Emma and Tom discuss Parameters, Forms and Formats
    • Personal Forms and Formats - Tom's Story
    • Exercise - put it into three different formats.
    • From pure images to pure text. The range of word/picture forms.
    • Some Amazing Formats
    • A note on style
    • Parameters and Formats - Questions to Answer in the Group
  • 04
    Story, Form, and Structure
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    • From the PDF - Structure, forms and unity
    • Starting with Structure
    • Structure - Non-Literary Structure
    • Putting Your Ideas and Story on the Wall - Tom's Example
    • Video - Tom Hart's Hutch Owen notebook in progress 1994
    • Tom's Story - Structure of 5 Different Books
    • Steve Martin on Using Everything to Create Your "Performance" (2 minutes)
    • Tom's Story Structure - Emotional Arc in Rosalie Lightning
    • Structure - Video Example from Storytelling Vinyasa
    • Structure APPENDIX and WORKSHEETS
    • Story, Form and Structure - Questions to Answer for the Group
  • 05
    Gaining Steam and Keeping Going
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    • From the PDF - Keeping Going and Gaining Steam
    • Keeping Going
    • Tom and Emma Video on Keeping Going
    • Accountability Contract - SIGN IT! - Post in the Group
    • Video - Sketches, Pages and Planning - Midway Working on Rosalie Lightning Book
    • Tom's Story - Rosalie Lightning Process Pages and Finished Art
    • Humorous Video - William Kentridge on Making and Self-Critiquing
    • Seth Godin- Just Ship It - 6 minutes
    • Some advice from Jessica Abel
    • "You are making your soul grow" - A letter to high school students about creating, from Kurt Vonnegut
    • Gaining Steam - Reminders
    • Seth Godin - Give yourself the benefit of the doubt (1 minute)
    • Danny Elfman on Insecurity (We all have it.)
  • 06
    Planning for Finishing
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    • From the PDF - Making plans to finish
    • Seth Godin on What Makes a Professional? 3 minutes
    • Concerns about Finishing to Share in the Group
    • Keep track calendar
    • Project checklist
    • Managing Your Workflow with Beth Trembley
    • Danny Elfman on "The Big Board"
  • 07
    Printing and Sharing
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    • Publishing and Sharing - From the PDF
    • Printing and Sharing Intro
    • Tom's Story - Publishing - Mini-Comics
    • Tom's Story - Self- Publishing and Distributing
    • Tom's Story - Small Publishers and Being Seen
    • Tom's Story - An Agent, A Big Publisher and More Self-Publishing
    • The Simpsons - Damn! That felt like a sale. (30 second video)
    • A Literary Agent’s Guide to Querying Your Graphic Novel
  • 08
    Wrap Up and Reflection
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    • From the PDF - Reflection
    • Tom and Emma on Reflection
  • Tom Hart + Emma Jensen

    Instructors Bio:


    Tom Hart is a cartoonist has been the Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop, a school and arts organization in Gainesville, Florida since 2012.

    His 2016 memoir, Rosalie Lightning, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and was featured on many Best-Of-2016 lists.

    His Hutch Owen series of graphic novels and books, were nominated for all the major industry awards. His The Collected Hutch Owenwas nominated for best graphic novel in 2000. He was an early recipient of a Xeric Grant for self-publishing cartoonists, and has been on many best-of lists in the Comics Journal and other comix publications. He has been called “One of the great underrated cartoonists of our time” by Eddie Campbell and “One of my favorite cartoonists of the decade” by Scott McCloud. His daily Hutch Owen comic strip ran for 2 years in newspapers in New York and Boston, and his “Ali’s House”, co-created with Margo Dabaie was picked up by King Features Syndicate.

    He was a core instructor at New York City’s School of Visual Arts for 10 years, teaching cartooning to undergraduates, working adults and teens alike. Among his students were Dash Shaw, Sarah Glidden Box Brown and other published cartoonists like Leslie Stein, Jessica Fink,Josh Bayer, Brendan Leachand many others. He has taught comix and sequential art at schools and institutions all around New York City for more than 10 years, and has conducted week-long workshops from Maine to Hawaii. He also teaches sequential art in the School of Art and Art History at UF.

    His website is

    Tom Hart

    Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop

  • Tom Hart + Emma Jensen

    Instructors Bio:

    Emma Jensen is an Australian artist and editor based in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Masters in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing, including a major creative work in graphic form titled, ‘What We Don’t Speak Of’. Since graduating she has worked as a comics educator for various Australian organisations including the State Library of Victoria, Yarra Youth Services and Express Media. During that time she also worked as an editor for independent and educational publishers, and as art editor for youth magazine, Voiceworks. She has been publishing and exhibiting comics regularly since 2015, with her work most recently included in kus #37 ‘Down Down Under’ and Ink Brick No 10. She joins SAW as an instructor after coming to Gainesville to attend the year-long intensive program in 2018-19. You can read collections of her past work at

    Emma Jensen


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