Open-Genre | Seminar

1-Day Open-Genre Seminar: The Art of the Cartoon

Ever open The New Yorker, read all the cartoons, and think: "I could do that," or rather: "I could never do that"? In either case, this is the class for you. Some say single-panel cartoons are the poetry of comics, and whether you aspire to cartooning, graphic storytelling, or another creative endeavor, this workshop will impart skills relevant to all storytelling arts: precise observation, concision and clarity, and creative iteration. 

Three New Yorker cartoonists will introduce you to their processes for generating and producing high quality cartoons, lead you in the production of your own "batch" of cartoons, and reflect on how these skills might transfer to other art forms. Be you a novelist, a humor writer, a sequential artist, or a master gag cartoonist, this class welcomes you. Basic writing and drawing supplies will be provided, but bring your favorite pens, pencils, and paper if you’d like. Requires no art training at all, but if you are an aspiring cartoonist, feel free to bring work to receive private review with one of the instructors. 


- You will learn to marry your unique point-of-view to the gag cartooning tradition. You will learn the rules and history of the form, and when and how you can break them.

- You will learn various techniques for idea generation for cartoons and/or other humor pieces, a process of creative iteration that explicitly lets go of precious attachment to your work.

- You will learn how word and image work best together to tell a very short story, avoiding redundancy and letting each skill do its part. These lessons are applicable to all who use visual images in their writing, and also to writers of fiction and nonfiction whose writing contains descriptions of images.

Guest instructor Jason Adam Katzenstein is a cartoonist and writer for print and television. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and MAD Magazine, and on Cartoon Network. He is the illustrator of the graphic novel Camp Midnight for Image Comics, with writer Steven T. Seagle. He was a visiting professor at Wesleyan University.

Guest instructor Ellis Rosen is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. He is the illustrator of a children's chapter book, Woundabout, from Little Brown, and a contributor to the Eisner-nominated graphic anthology Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land.  

Amy Kurzweil

Amy Kurzweil is a New Yorker cartoonist and the author of Flying Couch: a graphic memoir (a New York Times Editor's Choice and a Kirkus Best Memoir of 2016). Her writing, comics, and cartoons have also appeared in The Believer Magazine, Longreads, Lit Hub, Wired, Moment Magazine, Catapult, and many other places. She teaches widely and lives in Brooklyn.


“Amy’s class became a really comfortable place to share stories without fearing judgment.”

former student

“My relationship to writing and drawing has changed significantly. I am now able to better express myself through words and use symbolism in my visuals to convey a message.”

former student

“Amy was truly one of the best teachers I've ever had. One thing I'll remember is how well she was able to communicate and breakdown concepts. She taught us to look even closer at language and illustration.”

former student