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Comics: Course Descriptions and Major Requirements

Last updated on Nov 02, 2022

In addition to the Undergraduate Core Curriculum, the BFA in Comics program includes the following discipline specific courses:

Foundations in Comics & Visual Storytelling 3.0 UNITS

An introductory exploration of the comics medium and its many forms ranging from single-panel political cartoons and three-panel strips to serialized short-form publications and long-form graphic novels. This course features a diverse and wide-ranging reading list intended to reveal the creative possibilities of comics as a storytelling medium. In addition, the curriculum focuses on how time and space are metaphorically represented in two dimensions, panel relationships, text and image relationships, page layouts, and the basics of the thumbnailing process.

Comics Studio: Tools and Techniques 3.0 UNITS

This studio offers the opportunity to explore the basic tools and techniques used by practitioners of the comics medium. From pencils to inks with crow quill pens and brushes, the curriculum will cover both the fundamentals of illustration as well as more advanced inking techniques.

Comics Studio: Drawing for Comics 3.0 UNITS

Creating the visual imagery for comics requires a skill set both related to and differentiated from commercial illustration in many ways. This course challenges students to develop techniques to draw quickly, consistently, economically, in sequence, and from life, memory, and imagination.

Comics Studio: Digital Tools 3.0 UNITS

Digital tools have revolutionized the comic medium and industry. In this course, students will utilize digital tools to create, enhance, color, letter, and design comics projects. The curriculum also covers techniques for high-fidelity scanning as well as file preparation and formatting for both web and print publication.

Comics Workshop: Scripting for Artists 3.0 UNITS

Writing for comics requires a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, outlining, scripting, thumbnailing, visual scripting, and prose adaptation. This course offers students the opportunity to utilize these strategies in various combinations in order to find the ideal creative workflow for the particular kind of comics they aspire to create.

Comics Workshop: Storytelling 3.0 UNITS

Utilizing text and visual scripting techniques that best suit their individual projects, students will examine approaches to creative writing from a storytelling perspective. Through the study and implementation of narrative structure, character development, and engaging dialogue, this course equips students with storytelling strategies that can be applied to both short-form and long-form comics.

Comics Workshop: Memoir, Non-Fiction, & Journalism 3.0 UNITS

Multidisciplinary comics workshop focusing on memoir, journalism, and creative non-fiction. Utilizing comics making strategies, students will have the opportunity to investigate real-world stories and translate them into visually and narratively engaging presentations.

Media History: Comics 3.0 UNITS

This course addressing the history and evolution of comics as an art form and industry, emphasizing key figures, movements, and technologies in the field from antiquity through the present day.

Comics Perspectives 3.0 UNITS

This series of Special Topic courses offer a deep dive into particular comics genres, artists, and craft issues. Examplet topics include manga, underrepresneted voices, world builing, and more.

Comics Publication: Print & Digital 3.0 UNITS

Once the story is written, pages are penciled, lines are inked, and balloons are lettered, what comes next? Focusing on elements of graphic design, book arts, digital tools, and the business of publishing, this course supports students as they prepare their comics projects for publication.

Applied Comics 3.0 UNITS

With its focus on text, image, narrative, and design, making comics is a cross-disciplinary endeavor. This course asks the question: in what ways can cartoonists apply their craft to creative challenges beyond illustrating the traditional comics page? The project-based curriculum will focus on professional opportunities adjacent to the comics industry such as toy design, graphic design, storyboarding, and children’s picture books.

Comics Critique 3.0 UNITS

With increasing opportunities for comics professionals to contribute to the scholarly examination of comics, learning to write critically about the artform is more important than ever. Students will develop essays illuminating their own work as well as articles intended for publication in scholarly journals. In addition, students will explore other avenues for comics criticism including podcasts, video, and public talks.

Professional Practice 3.0 UNITS

This course takes students on a behind-the-scenes tour of the comics industry. With opportunities to interact with editors, retailers, publicists, and distributors, the syllabus focuses on building positive relationships with each aspect of the professional comics community. As part of the course curriculum, all students are required to present and defend their thesis projects to committees made up of comics faculty, cartoonists, and other industry professionals.

Senior Project: Thesis 6.0 UNITS

A two-semester sequence in which students develop and complete a comic thesis project comprising a long-form story or an anthology of short works.