Your Guide to Graphic Novels 2019

About This Event


Have an idea for a graphic novel or comic book? Join us to learn about the narrative style of this highly engaging genre. Writers and writer/illustrators welcome.

Through paneled format and fast-paced plots, graphic novels grab hold of readers from young to old. If you’ve considered creating a graphic novel, let us give you the tools needed to shape your idea into a working, full-length book.


What You’ll Learn

Creating the story:

Learn the difference between scripts and stories when writing a graphic novel.

Hear faculty sessions on narrative structure, pacing, and panel breakdowns.

Complete writing exercises that will strengthen your story.

Get help refining your character choices and crafting your characters.

Combining story and illustration:

Participate in sketching exerises.

Learn to create dynamic panels and add drama.

Explore art medium technique.

Spend time on your process:

Have daily creative time to write, draw and revise.

Receive valuable feedback on your project during one-to-one mentoring sessions with faculty.

Get multiple perspectives on your work from faculty.

Learn about publishing:

Explore the possibilities of working in the field of cartoons, comics, and graphic novels.

Learn about options for packaging your content.

Study submission procedures, including how to submit just your writing.

Who Should Attend

This course is open to beginner, intermediate and advanced authors, illustrators and author/illustrators.

If you have an idea for a graphic novel or have just begun framing your story, this course can help you learn about and work within the graphic novel format.

If you are an alum of our 2017 Graphic Novel workshop, please feel free to return! This year’s course will have added content about scripting your graphic novel.

If you have taken one of these other workshops, you may find this course of special interest: Crafting a Picture Book Dummy; Your Guide to Graphic Novels, Picture Book Illustration: From Conception to Birth; Illustration Intensive; Super Children’s Book Boot Camp


Here is our preliminary agenda:

Day 1


Arrival & check in

Orientation & optional tour of Highlights Foundation


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

Welcome, introductions and graphic novel sharing, all faculty & all students

Day 2


Breakfast and optional sketching exercise, Merrill Rainey

The interplay between script and story, Lila Weaver



Twenty minute one-on-ones/Free writing time

Optional Show and Tell with Art Supplies, Nidhi Chanani, Lila, and Merrill


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

After dinner: Fireside Q/A with faculty

Day 3


Breakfast and optional sketching exercise, Merrill

Panels, Pacing, and Technique, Nidhi

Editor presentation



Writing Time and Informal Meetings

Character choices and consistency, Colleen AF Venable, followed by Q/A

Optional Panel Showcase set-up


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

A Brief History of Comic Books

Day 4


Breakfast and optional sketching exercise, Merrill

Revision Collective, all faculty

Submission Process and Tips, all faculty including Colleen

Final Q/A, Final Comments


Lunch & farewells


Make Room for Graphic Novels

Matt Phelan: Writing Pictures

From Idea to Sale: A Graphic Novel Journey

Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box

The Graphic Novel Is a Perfect Teachable Format

50 Must-Read Middle Grade Graphic Novels


“I just wanted to let you know that I gained so much knowledge from the Graphic Novel workshop a few years ago, and I recently sold my first graphic novel, One In a Million“–Claire Lordon

Read more from Claire

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
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