"Comics work the way the brain works. Pictures-signs mixed with little bits of language. Past, present and future all scrambled and butted up against each other—the perfect medium for depicting memory." – Art Spiegelman
Why are comics—the playground of super heroes and furry friends—so hospitable to writing true, personal stories? In this six week course, we will explore the unique way comics map memory in order to tell stories about the past. Together we will learn and “borrow” the graphic storytelling techniques of genre bending comic masters to tell our own stories. You may come with a story you’re dying to tell, or you may discover one through this course.
Emphasis will be on process, exploration through guided exercises, and imitation of established styles. Each student will be formally workshopped once, and informal sharing of work in process will occur throughout. Students will leave with one draft of a graphic essay, or the first chapter of something longer—and a sense of where that work might lead.
Previous students are welcome back to the workshop! New students may be writers and artists of all levels. Even if you have very little experience with drawing, you're encouraged to enroll—there are many ways to tell stories with pictures.
- One-on-one meeting for individual conference
- One draft of a graphic essay, or the first chapter to a longer work
- Learn tools and skills from graphic-storytelling masters
- A better understanding of visual narratives and how to apply those techniques to your own work
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
- Reading peer drafts (two peers per week, beginning in the 2nd or 3rd week of class) and coming to class with written notes to share
- Drafting and submitting one graphic work-in-progress
- Optional: Take-home reading (published graphic work)
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 was awesome. I’m not a visual artist but she was so welcoming and encouraging. She focused on important aspects of the medium (composition and narrative) to tell a story."
“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.”
“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.”
"Amy’s class became a really comfortable place to share stories without fearing judgment."
"FLYING COUCH is a moving, intricate story of identity and family history."
"I read FLYING COUCH in one sitting, without moving, literally laughed and literally cried."
"Amy Kurzweil’s moving debut is a story of trauma and survival, and a search for identity and belonging. Fluctuating, in words and images, from the bubbly to the intense, this graphic memoir exposes the complicated and powerful ways we are shaped by the histories and relationships that anchor us."
"FLYING COUCH is perfect. It’s perceptive, emotionally on point, surprising and funny in its details, told in an intuitive way that’s completely direct, and about something that matters. This is an important book."