Jess Ruliffson Brings You 10 Weeks of Intensive Comics Study

At A Glance

When: For 10 weeks starting Saturday October 8, 2022 at 11am to 1pm Eastern

Where: Online via Zoom

Level: Intermediate to advanced.

Cost: $279

Materials: See below for required course texts

In Detail

Week 1 (October 8) - Writing With Clarity, Some Basic Guidelines for working with words

Week 2 (October 15) - Sifting Through and Going Deeper with Existing Material

Week 3 (October 22) - Workshop I

Week 4 (October 29) - Dialogue in Comics

Week 5 (November 5) - Workshop II

Week 6 (November 12) - Editing large scripts and adaptations 

Week 7 (November 19) - Pacing 

(Note: Break November 26 for Thanksgiving)

Week 8  (December 3) - Workshop III

Week 9 (December 10) -  Writing for Comics

Week 10 (December 17) - Q&A on Writing for Comics, How to Find Artists to Collaborate, Pitching Comics to Publishers, and other industry topics of interest

Calls will include live discussion and exercises. 

Class videos, audios, chats and transcripts will be saved and archived

Course Texts Include:

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

American Born Chinese by Gene Yang

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

Maus by Art Spiegelman

City of Glass by David Mazzucchelli (Paul Auster adaptation)

Excerpts from writing books including: On Writing Well by William Zinsser, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor, On Writing by Stephen King and others.


You Don't Have to Reinvent the Wheel

This course is intended for mid-level to experienced students who are interested in improving the clarity of the words in their story. By examining texts and analyzing how cartoonists have used the unique tools of comics to enhance narrative flow, dialogue and story pacing. All students will have the opportunity to workshop their comic script during sessions, with frequency depending on enrolment. 

This course is less concerned with drawing ability, although image clarity and intentionality will be discussed. 

By the end of the course, students will have a final draft of one or several comic scripts. 


FAQ

Q:  Is your reading/writing course any good for those of us who draw/write or is it mainly geared towards writers? 

A: It's good for any writer or artist wondering about the "words" of comics and storytelling. So if you are an artist using words in comics, or a writer without drawing skills, this would be a good place for you! 

Q: Will there be exercises and assignments and feedback in your course? (Or 'only' reading, dissecting and discussing?)

Each week we read and discuss a section of one of the listed texts (I'll present a bit on what the focus is and we can have a dialogue around that theme.) We'll have an exercise in each class (any class that isn't a crit) that plays with the theme and work discussed--aka trying our hand at what we see. 

Students will also be working on scripts outside of the in-class exercises that they can bring in for critique (depending on the number of students I think there would be three critique classes within the ten week class, with everyone in workshop reading each other's work.) It's a lot of reading BUT I think this is an excellent way to level-up your writing, by reading the work of your peers (so says the haggard, recent creative writing MFA grad...)


Q. Do we need to get the reading list to procure books before the class starts?

A: I am going to make all the excerpts available on the course page the week or two weeks or so prior to each discussion. That way students who can't get copies from the library or buy them can still look at the materials! But if you happen to have copies or prefer to have a book-shaped-object in hand, that is ok, too!

Watch Jess's Free Friday Night Comics Workshop

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About the Instructor

Jess Ruliffson is and award-winning cartoonist currently interviewing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars for a full-length graphic novel. She’s given lectures and workshops at The Drawing Center, The Center for Cartoon Studies, and The Sequential Artist Workshop. She recently completed artwork for The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan by Bryan Doerries, available April 2016 from Pantheon Books. Other clients include The Boston Globe, Wilson Quarterly, Oxford American, E-Line Industries, Columbia University School of Journalism, Medium.com, PEN America, The NYC Police Foundation, Symbolia Magazine, The Cartoon Picayune, and So What? Press.

Jess Ruliffson

Instructor