Course overview


Online teaching

We are now offering many of our courses online (over Zoom or similar platforms). No prior experience with these platforms is required. Continue learning with us by taking courses remotely via live distance learning.


This four-week course explores what makes a compelling comic and graphic novel, and will help you take the first steps towards making an original story of your own creation.

Comics and graphic novels are a diverse and powerful form with a huge presence in popular culture. From Marvel to Manga to Maus, comics are as varied as the individuals who create them. Through this course, you will learn the fundamentals of communicating stories through pictures, how to simplify and clarify ideas, create consistent recognisable characters, and take those characters on a journey through comic panels.

As a comic creator, you will learn to draw on the resources that we all share, the dreams and experiences of our every day, the special events in our lives, and the world we observe all around us. The course will build towards the creation of a two-page original story, with practical workshops exploring different aspects of comic-making each day.  

Themes explored will include: 

  • Making legible and consistent artwork
  • Planning and constructing stories in panels
  • Scriptwriting for comics
  • Interpreting comic scripts
  • How to work with reference for inspiration
  • Planning and completing longer narratives
  • Approaching publishers and finding a market for your work.

You will also be encouraged to create a comic of your own, and have the opportunity to discuss your story in depth during a half-hour one-to-one tutorial with Alexis Deacon.

The course is open to participants with all levels of writing and illustration experience. Classes are held online over Zoom. The teaching style will be interactive and hands-on, and the course will feature weekly exercises for participants to work at in between classes.



Booking information

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible. 

Please note our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

Sign up to be notified when new dates become available.


If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses ( .

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Tutor information

Alexis Deacon

Alexis Deacon is a multi-award-winning author and illustrator with twenty years’ experience in the Industry. His first book, Slow Loris, was named one of the hundred best children's books of all time by Time Magazine in 2015. He is the author of the graphic novel series “Geis”, and winner of the 2014 Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize for his comic “The River”.  He has worked as a teacher of Illustration for over a decade on industry-leading programs in the UK and Europe, notably on the BA Graphic Storytelling course at The Animation Workshop in Denmark and the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at ARU.


Course structure

Week 1 - Introduction to Comics

Morning workshop – Consistent and recognisable characters
Afternoon workshop – Storytelling with pictures, stripping an image down to the essential

Week 2 -  Plotting, Planning Pacing

Morning workshop – Stretching and squashing time, how to edit comic panels
Afternoon workshop – Storyboards and thumbnails, illustrating a comic script

Week 3 - Finding Your Voice

Morning workshop – Playing with methods and materials
Afternoon workshop – Using observation and experience

Week 4 - Completing Projects

Morning workshop – Second draft, refining and improving your work
Afternoon workshop – Character or Plot, expanding and developing ideas into longer projects

Learning outcomes

This short course will teach you the following:

  • Improved skill and efficiency in drawing
  • Understanding of comics as a medium, and how to communicate through them
  • Confidence to write and illustrate longer works in panels
  • Knowledge of the industry and how to approach comics publishers
  • Improved prospects of successfully taking a graphic novel or comic to publication

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