Online | Open-Genre | Workshop

8-Week Open-Genre Workshop: Comics for People Who Can't Draw

Comics are great! They’re enjoyable to make, quick and easy to read, and people love to share them. But when I talk to writers who are interested in comics, they often point to the same roadblock that keeps them from experimenting with this fun and innovative form.

“But,” they say, “I can’t draw!”

I’m here to tell you that your fine art skills have very little to do with your aptitude for making comics. And how you (yes, YOU!) can make comics without any drawing ability at all.

In this class, we’ll look closely at work from lots of different comics creators from stick figures to clip art and everything in between. We’ll also talk about the fundamentals of using art as communication and identify and practice ways you can leverage what you have to create a readable style that’s uniquely yours. We’ll write and share our own original comics in weekly workshops to identify strengths we can build on, and offer each other advice for the journey ahead.

This course is for anyone with an interest in comics, and no special equipment or drawing skills are required! You’ll have an opportunity to practice fiction and nonfiction comics and comics journalism.

Students will read published comics, participate in focused discussions on the craft of sequential art, complete short generative assignments, and submit their own work for workshop. We’ll end with a conversation about finding markets and submitting and publishing our comics.

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.  


-A deeper understanding of the fundamentals of sequential art

-Three workshopped fiction or nonfiction comics

-Knowledge of the current market for comics and how and where to submit your polished pieces

-10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will be expected to read several published comics to prepare for class discussion each week and to complete short, generative exercises to practice elements of craft. Students will also submit their original comics for workshop and provide written and verbal feedback on their peers’ work.


Week 1: Introductions and Expectations: What Does Drawing Have to Do With Making Comics?

Week 2: Less is More: Scripting and Thumbnailing

Week 3: Telling it Like it Is: Research and Comics Journalism

Week 4: The Content Mines: Finding Stories in Your Own Life

Week 5: You Wouldn’t Believe It If I Told You: Graphic Stories

Week 6: Avoiding the Problem Altogether: Clipart and Stick Figures

Week 7: Using What You Have: Style and Color

Week 8: Submitting and Publishing: A Practical Guide

Aubrey Hirsch

Aubrey Hirsch is a current NEA fellow and the author of WHY WE NEVER TALK ABOUT SUGAR, a short story collection, and THIS WILL BE HIS LEGACY, a flash fiction chapbook. Her stories, essays and comics have appeared in The New York Times, American Short Fiction, Black Warrior Review, Vox, The Nib, The Florida Review, TIME, Hobart, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She has taught creative writing courses to undergraduate and graduate students at Oberlin College, The Colorado College, the University of Pittsburgh, Georgia College and State University, and Chatham University.


"Aubrey Hirsch is a bright shining star of a writer and the stories in her flawless debut collection, WHY WE NEVER TALK ABOUT SUGAR, are a little disturbing and a little strange and a little sweet but always a lot to hold on to. Hirsch shows us the charm of her imagination and how carefully she will break your heart. This is a book you will keep coming back to, the one you won t be able to stop talking about because it's that damn good."

Roxane Gay

"In WHY WE NEVER TALK ABOUT SUGAR, Aubrey Hirsch posits an uncertain world, offering us her characters at their most confused, frightened, obsessed. As protection against their troubles, these men and women cling often to science, and also to story and if these two ways of seeing cannot always save them, then still they might provide some comfort, some necessary and sustaining faith, the mechanisms of what greatest mysteries might await us all, when all else is stripped away.

Matt Bell

"Each story in WHY WE NEVER TALK ABOUT SUGAR is a Petri dish, a distinct world in which a particle is discovered, a lake vanishes, but the narrative microscope never forgets that what really matters are the characters. This fiction is lyrical and wicked smart, reminiscent of Aimee Bender and Miranda July. So, here's my hypothesis: Aubrey Hirsch is a bright new voice in American fiction"

Cathy Day

"Aubrey's workshops not only enlivened my work and my spirit, they gave me tangible, usable tools that I have been able to incorporate into my daily creative practice. She has the unique ability to encourage imagination and to help a writer learn how to deploy their imagination out there in the "writing world." I think of prompts and feedback from Aubrey every time I sit down to write, and I find that my writing - and my whole self, really - is better having had her as a guide. "

Mike McClelland author of GAY ZOO DAY

"The environment that Professor Hirsch fostered led to more trust and risk-taking than I had experienced in most of my courses, but my greatest takeaway was watching how she encouraged, guided, corrected and refined us all. I realize she was teaching us by example how to do the same, as the expectation was that we were supposed to be growing because of one another, rather than alongside."

Nick Barletta

"When I taught with Aubrey at the University of Pittsburgh, we'd occasionally talk about the writing assignments we were giving our students. Aubrey's assignments were always so imaginative and fun. I often stole them, and they were always big hits. Students loved and got a ton out of them. I've seen her give craft lectures and talks at conferences, and I often found myself wishing I could take a class with her. Even after I published a couple books."