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Learn How to Write Comics & Graphic Narratives

Have you ever read a comic or graphic narrative and thought, “Hey, I want to do that”? You grab some paper and face the blank page. From here, you hope to fill this page and others with an engaging story—and if you illustrate, too, eye-catching art.

If Eve Ewing can pull us into the world of Riri Williams as Marvel’s Ironheart, why can’t you? If Harvey Pekar could expand the potential of comics to beyond fantasy-adventure without the ability to draw himself, why shouldn’t you turn your nonfiction or poetry into a graphic narrative? If Randall Munroe can create the hilarious and witty webcomic xkcd and bestselling books with stick figures, are your drawing skills really holding you back? Or maybe you’ve inked more panels than you can remember, but you still feel like you want to learn more about how to write comics in the best way possible.

The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program offers its MFA in Comics & Graphic Narratives to teach current and aspiring comic book writers the foundations of writing craft. Whether you’re a skilled artist or a writer who wants to enter the world of comics writing, this concentration can help you improve your storytelling within a supportive community of faculty and peers.

What if I know how to write, but I can’t draw?

Just like many screenwriters leave the visual work up to directors and producers, many comics and graphic novel writers focus on the text. In fact, it’s also akin to how many picture book writers work with illustrators. Plus, writers from various genres have taken to writing comics, such as the aforementioned Ewing as well as Roxanne Gay, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Yona Harvey, and Nnedi Okorafor writing Black Panther and World of Wakanda stories.

Our curriculum features courses that can improve your knowledge of what makes an engaging comic book script or graphic narrative. This includes classes taught by our faculty as well as guests, such as The New York Times bestselling novelist/illustrator Marika McCoola and her course on graphic novel scripts and comics instructor Sophie Goldstein and her course on worldbuilding.

If you do have an interest in illustrating your own work but need some help with your art, we’ve got you covered. With a curriculum that teaches you the craft of comics and graphic narratives, you’ll have a better sense of when you might want to use a page panel versus a two-page spread and more. Not to mention, our award-winning faculty can offer a few pointers as you improve your illustration skills.

What if I know how to draw, but I can’t write?

You know how to fill the blank page with images, but you’re coming up short on the words to write a comic book. Not just the dialogue in the speech bubbles—you want figure out how to create an engaging narrative that marries your visuals with a gripping set of events and characters.

Our program stresses story. In workshops, classes, and semester-long mentorship, you can learn advanced strategies for leveraging scene, plot, and more in your work. Plus, you can receive instruction on the creative and technical aspects of the comics medium as well idea generation, script creation, character development, and other topics.

Solstice also encourages cross-genre study by letting you take classes in any genre during the residency. Whether your visual narratives incorporate poetry, nonfiction, young adult, or fiction, you can acquire in-depth knowledge of craft to mold the stories that live in your illustrations.

How do I get started to earn my MFA in Comics & Graphic Narratives?

You’re amped up and ready to write. What can you expect in Solstice’s C&GN concentration?

Here’s what the concentration’s founding faculty member Josh Neufeld had to say:

“As a teacher/mentor, what I most enjoy is helping cartoonists find their voice, and identifying their strengths as writers/artists. I’m excited to support the next great group of cartoonists in reaching their goals.”

With foundational texts like Scott McCloud’s Making Comics, workshops, and one-to-one mentorship, Solstice is here to support you in creating the best version of the visual story you want to tell. So the next time you’re reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Joel Christian Gill’s Fights, or the latest issue of Marvel’s X-Men, don’t just wonder if you have what it takes to write a comic book or graphic novel. Discover how to craft your story, and contact us to learn more.

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