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8-Week Graphic Novel & Comics Workshop: Story Meets Design

This class is a deep-dive into the visual medium that is exploding today bringing to life everything from superheroes, to political narratives, and personal memoirs. Through lectures, exercises, and readings this class aims to help you bring your own idea to life, tracing through the important steps of brainstorming, crafting a story, drafting, and designing layouts—even if you have no skills as an illustrator. Our lessons will take us from that first spark of inspiration to the grueling realities of bringing a graphic novel to life.

Together, participants will explore the graphic novel and comic landscape, be encouraged to critically think about their own work and analyze that of others, to conduct exercises to think of new character perspectives and plot elements, and to be challenged to dig deep into socially relevant themes. With guidance from the instructor, participants will jump into the scripting process paying close attention to the nuances of craft before communicating that vision to an illustrator (or illustrating that work themselves).

This class is designed for beginners and intermediate creators, in mind for those doing only the writing or both writing and illustrating. Those doing only the writing will still be encouraged to draw to understand the craft and design principles.

While there are no required readings, some class time will be discussing and analyzing works within and outside of the genre regularly during class (something that is highly recommended for those committed to bringing a story of their own to life). Students may want to purchase some texts before the class begins, including: Making Comics, Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love, and Bird by Bird.

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:

- A deeper understanding of graphic forms

- Knowledge of how to brainstorm, draft a visual story, and design it

- Students will flesh out a story synopsis and will write 4-6 pages of scripts and 4-6 pages of panel layouts and designs 

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

The class is workshop oriented towards the second half of the sessions where we will be discussing and critiquing the work developed in the first few weeks. Homework and exercises build directly into a student's project and the more they are able to develop during their own time the more they will be able to present, and thus gain back from the feedback.

COURSE SKELETON:

Week One- Introductions, Backgrounds, and Storytelling Fundamentals

Week Two- Going from Idea to Story: Plot and Character Oriented Approaches

Week Three- Visual Storytelling Nuances: Captions, Layouts, and Designing Panels

Week Four- Scripts for Comics and Graphic Novels

Week Five- Laying the Scene: Nitty-gritties of Panels and Making it all fit; Workshop

Week Six- Character Design, Environments, and Referencing; Workshop

Week Seven- The Troubles of Creating / Importance of Editing and Revising; Workshop

Week Eight- A Primer on the Publishing Industry and Being an Author; Presentations

Varud Gupta

Varud Gupta is the award-winning author of the graphic novel Chhotu: A Tale of Love and Partition (Comic Con India “Best Writer”) and the travelog Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan: Food of the Gods (Gourmand award for “Peace”). His words have also appeared in America’s Test Kitchen, National Geographic, and Mint Lounge.

His career as a writer began after quitting a short-lived career as a management consultant to travel and eat his way across the globe. When not writing, he is usually experimenting in the kitchen, collecting Instant Noodles, or playing Dungeons & Dragons. He received his bachelors in Finance from New York University and teaches the Indian Institute of Art and Design, Gotham Writers, and 826NYC.

Photo taken by Vidur Gupta

Testimonials

"Like the hero, it’s a modest little gem. "

India Today for CHHOTU

"Stylishly wry humour and depth. "

- The Hindu for CHHOTU

"Art at its evocative best. "

Deccan Herald for CHHOTU

"An ideal read for today’s divisive times. "

Scroll.in for FOOD OF THE GODS

"Deft, poignant and stirring. "

The Hindu for FOOD OF THE GODS

"Guaranteed to make an impact in the world of Indian cuisine. "

Outlook Traveller for FOOD OF THE GODS

"Varud's Graphic Novel & Comics Workshop exceeded my expectations. It was a very helpful class. I found that the class provided structure and tent poles enabling me to write the first chapter of my story. I also think it's really important and illuminating when Varud spoke about his publishing experience." -

Student

"I appreciated how Varud tailored the class based on our feedback to be more of a writer's room for us to share our ideas. Yet he also kept the conversations focused, provided goals, and shared many fantastic insights on how to improve our stories. I really liked how each homework assignment was designed to help us craft a pitch doc and presentation. I now have a rough draft that I can refine and pitch to a publisher."

Student

"This class exceeded my expectations. It was so beneficial to talk about other people's work, and to give and receive feedback. The exercises where we drew other peoples comics was great. For me personally, I found learning about themes was really useful in improving my work. And, it was good that the classes were scheduled for a time that I could come to them even though I live in Australia."

Student