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Visual Storytelling and Comic Arts

Certificate

Refine writing and drawing skills, and learn to combine the two in this rigorous and accessible approach to the sequential arts.

Sequential art is featured in film, book publishing, web design, video games and advertising, and the medium’s range continues to grow. There is no conceptual limit to what is possible in the comic arts; the form holds as much possibility as the human imagination, from children’s stories to visual journalism to narratives on education and health.

The Visual Storytelling and Comic Arts Certificate is a flexible and accessible program that can be completed in under a year. Classes are small and taught by skilled comics practitioners, and students progress toward a focus that suits their vision.

Structure & Highlights

Students may take classes at their own pace, in any order they choose. To complete the certificate in 9 months requires taking two classes in each 7-week session.

  • Fully online
  • High profile, emerging, local and national/international visiting artists
  • Development of an individualized portfolio
  • Eight 7-week classes earns the certificate (6 required; 2 chosen electives)

Sign up for our mailing list to learn when Fall 2024 classes are open for enrollment.

Students may take classes at their own pace, in any order they choose. To complete the certificate in 9 months requires taking two classes in each 7-week session.
2023-24 Session DatesClass Name
Fall 1: Sept – OctIntroduction to Comics and Visual Narrative: From Panel to Comic (Required)
Fall 1: Sept – OctCartooning and Narrative Illustration 1 (Required)
Fall 2: Nov – DecNon-Fiction and Memoir Comics (Required)
Fall 2: Nov – DecIntroduction to Comics and Visual Narrative: Character Design and World Building (Required)
Fall 2: Nov – DecReading Comic Books (Elective)
Spring 1: Jan – MarCartooning and Narrative Illustration 2 (Required)
Spring 1: Jan – MarComics and Speculative Fiction: Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Imaginative Graphic Storytelling (Elective)
Spring 2: Mar – MayColor and Form: Colors, Letters, Comic Systems (Elective)
Spring 2: Mar – MayComics Journalism (Elective)
Spring 2: Mar – MayGraphic Publishing: From Comics to Video Games (Required)

Students who complete the Visual Storytelling and Comic Arts Certificate demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

Concept and Message
– Produce original, finished comics, short and long form
– Understand the relationship between text and image: page design, narrative          structures, and script development, along with cartooning, comic book genre and visual style
– Use research to inform non-fiction and fiction storytelling.
– Appreciate art historical links to comics and popular graphic storytelling

Personal Development
– Understand the creative and design process
– Build verbal and written communication skills
– Practice effective time management
– Conduct self with professionalism

 Critical Thinking
– Recognize the influence of major comics and publishing trends
– Evaluate work of self and others with a critical eye
– Understand production process from scripting, to pencils, inks and book design

 Technical Competency
– Develop and understand page design, flats, spot blacks, using analog and digital tools, in both color and black & white
– Work effectively with industry standard software, including: Illustrator, Photoshop, Procreate, and InDesign

Industry Awareness
– Understand book festivals, comic conventions, mainstream publishing industry and fine art book market
– Acquire market understanding through genre and audience research
– Connect through internships and project collaborations 

Presentation

– Create professional graphic novel proposals, short-form comics, and comic books that reflect individual style and knowledge of genre within the medium as well as reading audiences

– Understand design principles from panel to page to book design

– Produce a personal style of cartoon drawing, based on available genre and through personal exploration– created both by hand and on digitally-drawn computer programs

– Produce a body of work

– Produce short form comics/anthologies and book proposals for submission to professional publications in both traditional comic book publishing and online platforms

How do I enroll in the program?
Choose “Workshop and Enroll in Certificate Program” on any Comic Arts class page to both register for the class and join the certificate program.

Do I have to pay for the program all at once?
The program is “pay as you go,” so when you register for a class, you will pay for just that one class. 

How much does the program cost?

Each class cost: $550
Total program cost: $4,400
Books and supplies: $50-$100

Is there financial help?

Unfortunately, there are no loans or scholarships available for this program.

What if I can’t follow the 9-month schedule to take the entire sequence?
You don’t need to follow the 9-month schedule. Take classes on your own timetable, and in any order you wish. To complete the certificate, you will simply need to complete six required classes and two electives.

What if I need to take time off during the program?
Students are allowed up to one calendar year of time off during the 9-month sequence. Please contact the Program Director if you have a situation that requires you to take frequent time off.

How much time is required outside of class for the program?
Comics are a fluid medium. Some people choose to explore the vast range of possibilities of form and content, for which comics as a medium allows and invest time into these explorations. Others find that they can achieve wonderful results within the time they have available to them weekly. Different instructors have different requirements for their courses, but an average is 3-7 hours per week.

Program Directors

Heide Solbrig

Visiting Lecturer, Visual Storytelling and Comic Arts
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621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000