Develop your understanding of comics with a survey of contemporary graphic narratives

The comics that we read have a way of insinuating themselves into the work that we make. Whether it's your childhood love of Peanuts or your teenage obsession with Batman, the themes, characters and page dynamics return to us. 

In Modern Comics Exploration, develop a critical eye and practice the language of comics through weekly readings, online discussions and a short essay response to questions about the unique art and literary form that is comics! 

What's included

  • Weekly critical and creative readings

  • Online discussion forum

  • Direct feedback and engagement from Instructor

Course curriculum

    1. Course details

    2. Welcome to Modern Comics Exploration

    1. Week One: Intro to Comics

    2. Week one handout

    3. (Required) What is a Graphic Novel by Jessica Abel

    4. (Optional) How to Make Comics and Cartoons by Liana Finck

    5. (Optional) Norman Eights Left Arm by Theo Ellsworth

    6. (Optional) A Feeling by Chris Ware

    7. (Optional) Sleep Walk and Other Stories (extract) by Adrian Tomine

    8. (Optional) Mister O by Lewis Trondheim

    9. Week 1 Video Archive and Chat Log - 2020-10-27

    1. Week Two: Comics as Literature

    2. Week two handout

    3. (Required) The Long Weekend in Alice Springs by Josh Santospirito

    4. (Optional) Long Weekend in Alice Springs Essay by Craig San Roque

    5. (Optional) PS by Miranda Burton

    6. (Optional) Waiting for Something to Happen by Pat Grant

    1. Week Three: Drawing Time and Space

    2. Week three handout

    3. (Required) Raw Feels (extract) by Leonie Brialey

    4. (Recommended) The Making of Here by Richard McGuire

    5. (Recommended) Raw Feels (Part One) by Leonie Brialey

    6. (Recommended) Raw Feels (Part Two) by Leonie Brialey

    1. Week Four: The Comics Form

    2. (Optional) Kindling (extract) by Xia Gordon

    3. (Optional) From Abstract Comics (Part One)

    4. (Optional) From Abstract Comics (Part Two)

    1. Week Five: Autobiographical Comics

    2. (Required) The Infinite Wait by Julia Wertz

    3. (Optional) I Never Liked You by Chester Brown

    4. (Optional) Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant (extract) by Roz Chast

About this course

  • $69.00
  • 33 lessons
  • 0 hours of video content

Emma Jensen

Instructor 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