The SAW Single-Year Intensive Has Been The Premier Program For Affordable, Personalized Comics Instruction For Over 10 Years

We currently won't be offering the In-Person Certificate Program in the 2022-2023 school year but if you're a Gainesville-local, feel free to reach out to hear more about our local programs.

The SAW Single-Year Comics Certificate Program

Maximize Your Learning

The SAW Single-Year Comics Certificate Program


  • Online Only

    A program of 9 core classes, community accountability and personal mentoring to help you achieve your goals and reach the target. Optional classes at additional price.

    Sliding scale: $1,500-$4,000

  • Full Immersion

    Come to Gainesville and live, breathe, and sleep comics. Full access to online courses, week-long low-residency workshops and classes with our Gainesville teachers, mentors, and community.

    Sliding scale: $2,500-$13,000

    Opening again for 2021.

What's Included?

Online Only

What's Included?

  • Nine 6 week professional level classes

  • 6 week- professional mentoring in cohorts

  • Access to the SAW online reading Folder

  • Access to streamed video interviews and talks with comics professionals

  • Grading: failing/passing/excelling

  • Online mentoring via calls and community with Tom, Justine and other SAW personnel

  • Optional capsule classes: 60-75% off public price)

  • Comics Certificate for passing/excelling grades

Click to learn more about the Online Only Option
(Begins Sept 6, 2021)

Is online only right for you?

Full Immersion Option

Includes all the above PLUS

  • 2-4 in-person class sessions per week

  • In-person interaction with our three resident artists, Andi Santagata, Casey Nowak and Melanie Gillman!

  • Full 24-hour access to SAW library and studio

  • In-person community experiences (nature trips, movie nights, UF partnership programs, etc.)

Our 2021-22 Resident Teachers

September  6  to October 15, 2021 - Andi Santagata!

Andi is a cartoonist, writer, and artist who makes funny jokes and makes you sad at the same time, like a sandwich made of real human tears. They grew up in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the Southwestern US (and lived most of their adult life in Los Angeles). They have a graduate degree in Comics from the Center for Cartoon Studies (class of '18). 

You might know them from their (critically acclaimed!) webcomic Trans Man Walking, and Jed the Undead Universe, and/or enthusiastically talking about cartoons and ska music at barcon at 2am. INSTAGRAM @suitteddevil.

October 25 to December 10, 2021 - Casey Nowak!

Casey Nowak is a multiple Ignatz Award-winning and Eisner-nominated cartoonist best known for their popular graphic story collection Girl Town (2018). Their work focuses on the delicacy and power of human thought, mystery, identity and intimacy. They are currently writing and illustrating two different sci-fi epics, one titled Bodyseed, the other, Bravo. In 2018 they were proud to join the newly-founded independent comics label, Diskette Press, where they assist with logistics, production and fulfillment. TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @ignatzhaderach.

January 3 to April 1, 2022 - Melanie Gillman!

Melanie Gillman is a cartoonist who specializes in LGBTQ books for kids and teens. They are the creator of the webcomic and graphic novel, As the Crow Flies, published in 2017 by Iron Circus Comics, and winner of the 2018 Stonewall Honor Award. They are also the author of Stage Dreams, published by Lerner/Graphic Universe in 2019. In addition to their graphic novel work, they are also a senior lecturer in the Comics MFA Program at the California College of the Arts. 

Applications now being accepted to the 2021 Full Immersion program

Scroll to bottom for application!

SAW is what you need right now to take your comics-making knowledge and skills to the next level.

What do our 2020 students say?

Online Only Testimonials

Our online students love SAW

Beth Drummond

5 star rating

“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...”

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“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.”

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Jamie Eby

5 star rating

“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...”

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“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! ”

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Karlo Antunes

5 star rating

“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!”

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Here's What's Included


Four Six-Week Online Sessions

For All Students

We understand how race and gender-based privilege can exclude women, gender-diverse and BIPOC from creative communities.

Opportunities for financial support for the online certificate program are available.

We seek to shift that balance by encouraging and supporting women, trans, non-binary and People of Color who apply to our online and in person programs.

This year we've introduced up to 5 new financial support opportunities: 3 full scholarships will be awarded to African American students and 2 partial scholarships are available to People of Color and students who identify as female, transgender or non-binary. 

These scholarships will cover the cost of tuition for the Online Certificate Program and will be offered on a recurring basis at the beginning of each school year. 

Everyone, every story is welcome at SAW. To apply, fill out our short questionnaire. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly. 

Three Low-Residency Intensive Weeks in Gainesville

As well as our online courses, we have three low-residency workshops throughout the year

A week of comics-making

In-Person Week 1 of 3

Comics + Zine Making
Traditional Drawing with Justine
Hands on History
Conversation with Tom + Justine
Movement + Performance
Drawing Trip to Florida Springs

Visiting Artist Week

In-Person Week 2 of 3

You will help decide on a visiting artist to bring for a solid week of training and inspiration.

A week of celebration

In-Person Week 3 of 3

Critiquing and Workshopping
Comic and Zine Making
Art Show and Live Comics Reading

Classes, Community Events and Studio Space in Gainesville

And Then... For Full Immersion Students

Storytelling Classes in Gainesville

Our core storytelling class will meet twice a week to build on the materials found in the online courses.

Visiting Artist Talks and Workshops

Leslie Stein, Dash Shaw, Gabrielle Bell, Julia Gfrorer, and John Porcellino are just a fraction of the amazing artists who have come and taught at SAW.

Figure Drawing Sessions

Sidney Davidson will lead figure drawing and other intensive classes.

Community Art Events

From oral storytelling to arts fairs to gallery shows to experimental music to karaoke, we will be a part of a vibrant, queer-friendly arts community.

Hands on History

You will touch comics and magazines more than a hundred years old, comic strip pages from the 1900's, original printings of classic undergrounds.

That's SAW

For 10 years the SAW Single-Year Intensive has been the premier program for affordable, personalized comics instruction...

This is your year to say YES to your art, your passion and vision

SAW's focus on personal vision is unique in online and comic arts education.

Avoid the pyramid schemes of grad school programs!

Don't get destroyed by expensive art schools!

Step out of the machine and step into the spot where you were meant to be.

Go to the school that was founded by artists, for artists.

The SAW Single-Year Comics Certificate Program is waiting for you to jump on, either in person or online!

What Have Others Said?

We've ushered hundreds of students into graphic greatness!


I learned so much in such a short amount of time from some of the most dedicated, compassionate people I've ever met, with 9 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.”

More Testimonials

Click for more testimonials


  • You already have online classes, how is this different?

    The low-residency year-long program isn’t simply ‘online classes’. By transitioning to a mixture of online and in person classes we’re expanding the material and faculty students have access to.

    Our current online classes are limited to short periods of time with restricted access to the instructors. The new low-residency program includes online classes (a mix of existing and new materials), as well as the option to join our three weeklong in person workshops or move to Gainesville and access the SAW studio and community.

    This new program is also our first certificate program.

  • If I’ve taken 6 online courses and come to three lo-res weeks so does that mean I get a full-year certificate? Is there a lot of overlap in the content?

    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.

  • What’s the difference between the Online Only, and Full Immersion options?

    The biggest differences between the two 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 workshops are designed to supplement the core online classes and create the opportunity for students to meet in person. 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.

  • What online platform will you be using for the online classes? Is there Tech Support? And will I have access to the classes after the year is up?

    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.

  • How many hours of study/work per week are people committing to? Will people be able do the program while working full-time? And are there any adjustments for people who want to do the program part-time?

    We ask that our online 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.

    We encourage our full-immersion students to take advantage of the unique opportunity to be surrounded by artists and the SAW resources by being in the space and making as much as possible. There is no specific time expectation.

  • How much does this cost? What is your refund policy?

    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 organisation, and helps us in our commitment to make comics available to everyone.

    Our refund policy is to return payment within two weeks of the beginning of classes.

  • Are there any live components to this course? How can you help me stay engaged and complete the course at a distance?

    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 also know that there are students from all over the world, across many different time zones so we will have live zoom calls for different subjects that aren't compulsory but do come highly recommended. On top of that 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!

  • I’m ready for the full immersion, how much time each day is spent in classes? Would it be viable to have a part time job alongside it, or would I have to save up enough money to support myself the full year?

    There are approximately 9 hours of compulsory class contact time over the course of the week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), as well 6 hours of expected studio time (Tuesday and Thursday), meaning it is definitely viable to have a part time job alongside our SAW classes.

    We’ve had students from all over the world come and live off saved money during their time here and greatly benefit from the opportunity to only focus on comics for a year, while we've also had many students balance part-time work.

    We do expect that all students attend all classes. Community is built on showing up for your peers and your teachers. That means coming to class, as well as completing homework tasks and honoring your commitment to comics by working on your own projects.

  • I've still got questions!

    We're here to answer them. First check out our general FAQ over at or send us a message via the chat box!

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At SAW we believe in diversity, inclusion and anti-racist policies. We have limited funds to support people from underrepresented communities. Click below to learn more about scholarship opportunities.