Online | Nonfiction | Workshop

6-Week Nonfiction Workshop: Creating Graphic Nonfiction Narratives

In this course, we will explore nonfiction comic-making, from memoir to journalism to explainer comics. We’ll read both short- and long-form work from artists like Gabrielle Bell, Art Speigelman, and Leise Hook and discuss from the perspective of comics form, with questions like: what is the balance between narrative and information in a piece? How does the layout impact pacing? How does visual style affect tone?

We’ll also create short work of our own based on a series of prompts and workshop one another’s work. By the end of this course, students will have a strong understanding of the vocabulary of comics, a body of completed short works, and a good foundation for exploring longer-form or more ambitious projects.

Experience with comics is not necessary for this course, but students are expected to be comfortable with drawing.

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- Deeper understanding of how to craft strong narratives

- Experience using the vocabulary of comics– that is, text and image in concert– to create dynamic, compelling work

- Finding joy and play in your work

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

Reading will vary from between 30 minutes to 2 hours per week. Students will be creating 1-2 page comics each week, which may take an additional several hours. We will be workshopping all student pieces each week, so students should expect to engage critically each week with peer work and provide constructive feedback.

COURSE SKELETON:

Week 1: Introductions

Week 2: Lynda Barry Daily Diary

Week 3: 6-Panel Piece

Week 4: Visual Storytelling

Week 5: Adaptation

Week 6:Making it Personal 

Sofia Warren

Sofia draws and writes. She has been contributing cartoons regularly to The New Yorker since 2017, and her work has also appeared in MoMA Magazine, Catapult, and Narrative Magazine, among others. Her graphic memoir, Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator, was published by Top Shelf Productions in 2022. Her animation and/or illustration clients include Cartier, HBOMax, Phillips Auction House, and Squarespace. She is a visiting professor at Wesleyan University, where she teaches molecular biophysics… no, that’s not right. She teaches comics. She is based in Brooklyn.

Photo credit: Jordan Kenna

Testimonials

“Professor Warren is extremely likable and I wouldn’t change anything about the way she ran this course. It was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had in a course [at Wesleyan].”

former student

“The instructor was very respectful and gave each student specific guidance for their work, while also going over concepts that were helpful for the rest of the class. Can’t think of any weaknesses.”

former student

“Professor Warren was extremely knowledgeable and super passionate about the subject and also always asked really engaging and helpful questions!”

former student

“What kind of politico embeds a cartoonist in her office for a year? Well, a remarkably savvy one, it turns out, and the payoff is Sofia Warren’s beautifully-rendered account of a rookie’s initiation into state politics: an exhilarating baptism of fire, and a sorely-needed love letter to the power of public service.”

Garry Trudeau creator of DOONESBURY

"Radical smoothly blends memoir, political reporting, and activist toolkit into an engaging read. Warren brings her strong NEW YORKER black-and-grey cartooning to bear, inviting the reader in... Younger readers—and many millennials—are likely to relate to the coming-of-age experience of learning while doing and may be heartened to learn that they aren’t alone in not knowing how everything in government works (or doesn’t)."

BOOKLIST

"With confident character design and effective symbolic graphics... the result is part Schoolhouse Rock!, part participant-journalism, connecting a winding but hopeful thread between what Salazar’s team refers to as 'deep organizing' and substantive change. For comics readers raised on the MARCH series who may be contemplating voting for their first time (or considering their own political futures), Warren offers grounded inspiration."

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY