School’s in for comic book studies across Canada

Summer has come to a crashing halt as students of all ages go back to school. But don’t despair comic book fans. You don’t have to hide your comic books in your history textbooks any more. 

back to school with comic books2

There are plenty of options for students to learn about comic books. Whether it’s a literature class or hands-on art class or an after-school program, there’s something for everyone to keep on enjoying the education about reading and making comic books in Canada.

Here at True North Country Comics, we’ve been lucky to chat with students, former students and educators about the craft of making comic books.

David H. Ross provided an overview of the Sequential Arts diploma program at Max The Mutt College of Animation. Here’s the link to the interview:

Hannah Bronwicki talked about being a student at Sheridan College studying animation.  Here’s the link to her interview:

Speaking of Sheridan College, here are two panel sessions featuring famed alumni from the illustration courses at the institution: Kagan McLeod, Jeff Lemire, Ramón Pérez and Chip Zdarsky

Marshall Geddes started Drawing House – a studio and art supply store in Barrie, Ontario and also, he teaches cartooning, life drawing and anatomy at the Maclaren Art Centre and throughout Simcoe County. His interview is available here:

And if you want to read a few comics about going to school, you need to check out:


Here’s just a small sample of the classes and programs starting this fall for students. For more information about each offering, please click on the link to the website.

Ty Templeton’s Comic Book Bootcamp – Toronto, ON
If you’re interested in making comics, webcomics or graphic novels, or you just want to learn to write and draw, award winning comic book creator offers hands-on training that he calls “quite simply the best place in Toronto to learn how”.

Classroom Cartooning Workshops for Kids – Hamilton-Niagara region and Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario
Professionally trained educator Mike Cope offers cartooning workshops hosted at public libraries and schools. The cartooning workshops can be adapted/modified to suit children, teenage or adult audiences and are designed to be fun, interactive and hands-on.

Art Barn School – Toronto, ON
Sep 29 – Nov 24
Ages: 8-12
Taught by a professional animation artist, this fun course is designed to build on fundamental drawing skills such as proportion, perspective, character design and environment design in order to help the students achieve a quality comic book. By the end of the class each student will have a short comic book in hand that will encompass all the necessary skills to keep on creating high quality comic art. The materials used in class are pencil on paper, ink and markers.

Graphic Novel and Comix – Langara College – Vancouver, BC
Continuing Studies
The extensive Graphic Novel & Comix Certificate Program (GCCP) is aimed at individuals who wish to pursue a career as graphic novelists and comic book illustrators. The program consists of 12 courses that include traditional and digital mediums. As well as working with digital applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Manga Studio software, students will also learn about lettering, layout and colour applications as apply specifially to comic book art. Students will examine critical business issues such as publishing, self-promotion, copyright, and contract laws for graphic novelists.

From Comic Books to Graphic Novels (EAC323) – Seneca College – Toronto, ON
Fall 2018
This course examines the vitality and energy of comics (comic strips; comic books; graphic novels), demonstrating how they no longer appeal to nerds but, instead, have become one of the most significant art forms for our time. Join us and gain an appreciation of this ever-expanding genre as we explore the amazing stories in ‘comics,’ follow its evolution as an art form, and delve into the wondrous interaction of visual and written content – the visual words.

The Graphic Novel (LSO312) – Seneca College – Toronto, ON
The graphic novel emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century as a complex narrational medium, powerfully combining telling and showing. From its antecedents in comic strip and comic book, the graphic novel evolved, through a sequence of thematically, narratively, and semiotically challenging comics, into a full-fledged narrative art form. This course surveys a range of graphic novels, both mainstream and independent. The emphasis, however, will be on the independent graphic novel. Secondary readings in history and criticism will help students understand better the context from which the graphic novel emerged, and to grasp more firmly their visual and textual aesthetics.

The Graphic Novel (ENG235H1) – University of Toronto – Toronto, ON
An introduction to book-length sequential art, this course includes fictional and nonfictional comics, with a focus on formal properties such as narrative layout and text/art hybridity. Themes vary but may include superheroes; auto/biography; the figure of the outsider; women in comics; alienation and youth; and war reporting.

Comics & Graphic Novels – Camosun College – Victoria, BC

Fall 2018
In this program, you’ll develop a wide range of visual storytelling skills, including scripting, storytelling layout, pencilling, inking, lettering, and colouring techniques (both traditional and digital), life drawing, character design, and perspective. You will also learn the essentials of publishing to help manage your career as a visual storyteller, and on graduating you will have created and published a full-colour comic book to exhibit at a comic arts festival.

Advanced Studies in Comics (ENGL422) – University of Calgary
Winter 2019
Considers the role and nature of comics (comic strips, comic books, graphic novels) as a distinct form. Topics may include the influence of comics genres; the relationship of comics to other art forms (including literature); major authors; and distinct historical or national cartooning traditions.

Comic Book Culture: From Pulp Fiction to Post Modern Legitimacy (MIT 3282F/G) – Western University – London, ON
Fall 2018
This course will run along three parallel tracks: it will examine the history of comic books and how they engaged such political issues as World War II and the cultural revolution of the 1960s; it will show how comics have crossed over into other popular media, mainly film; and it will look at comic books as a serious aesthetic medium, trying to understand them as a form of sequential art.

The Superhero (ENGL 108A) – University of Waterloo – Waterloo, ON
Fall 2018
An examination of hero figures, ranging broadly from ancient characters such as Gilgamesh to the modern comic book superhero. Literary as well as nonliterary materials (e.g., film, comics, games) will be considered.

Comics and Graphic Novels Extension Certificate – Mount Royal University – Calgary, AB
Fall 2018
If you are interested in creating a comic book or graphic novel, this program is designed to offer practical, hands-on experience creating comics and graphic novels in this growing industry.  Layout, illustration, character creation, story-telling, editing, self-publishing and marketing will be the key topics covered.

Comics and Manga – Robert Bateman Art Studio and FirstOntario Arts Centre – Milton, ON
9-12 Years
Fall 2018
Think Japanese-style comics with their fantastic stories, colourful characters and scenes are cool? Work with pencil, pen, brush, marker and acrylic paint to build storyboards, animation flipbooks and comic book anthologies.

Comics and Zines for Teens – Nova Scotia College of Art & Design – Halifax, NS
Fall 2018
Students will explore individual and collaborative comic-making and learn photocopy processes that will enable them to create simple but effective zine publications. Cartooning (graphic novels, manga, etc.) will be emphasized through improvised comic jam, a fun and challenging process where the entire class draws one comic simultaneously. Using common and inexpensive materials, such as printer paper, pens, and even dental floss, students will learn simple photocopying and binding techniques through creating two additional comic zines.*ESYP0468A

Comic Books and Cartooning – Ottawa School of Art – Ottawa, ON
Children and Teens
Fall 2018
These courses are for students at all skill levels that need to draw and write seriously. They will learn and practice writing and drawing techniques and discover cartooning and comic book secrets. Students will apply their creativity to the production of comic strips, gag panels, caricatures, illustrations, and the development of personal projects. Each season will include a lesson on drawing hands (realistic and cartoon), tips on writing and storytelling for comic books, and the production of a class magazine collecting original projects by the students.

Cartooning – Avenue Road Arts School – Toronto, ON
Grades 2-5
Fall 2018
Draw your very own cartoon characters, creatures, animals and magical beasts. Using a variety of artist’s tools and materials, including pencil, pen, ink, paint and more, students will design funny faces, outrageous bodies and the many dynamic actions and unique stories that go along with these new characters. Enjoy different projects each term!

Cartooning & Illustration – Avenue Road Arts School – Toronto, ON
Grades 5-8 and Grades 6-10
Fall 2018
Are you interested in comics, cartoons, graphic novels or do you just like to draw? Students of any ability will learn to develop their narrative and graphic abilities through the use of dip pens, brush and ink, acrylic paint, scratchboard and more! Projects can include: trading cards, comic anthologies, animation flipbooks and dozens of other activities developed through the surprisingly complex language of cartooning.

Comic Book Studies – Avenue Road Arts School – Toronto, ON
Grades 3-6
Fall 2018
This program offers students a chance to draw comic books in a variety of different styles, including Japanese manga, traditional super hero, and underground experimental. The class will learn to adapt stories into graphic narratives and complete a finished comic, drawing inspiration from comic books and other forms of art like music, movies, and videogames. Focus will be on colour theory, perspective, dynamic human figure drawing and composition, while students will have the opportunity to create works that represent their ideas using powerful composition, dramatic lighting and expressive design. Heroes, villains, scary monsters, and space aliens that want to take over the world will come to life in this hands-on program.

Introduction to Writing for Graphic Forms (CRWR 208 001 and 208-002) – University of British Columbia – Vancouver, BC
Fall 2018
What happens when you combine words and images in a single narrative? Some would say magic, and they’d be right. But like all forms of writing, comics can be closely examined and analyzed, and we can identify the key elements that make them work. Through lectures on history and craft, readings, discussion and hands on writing/drawing exercises, students will learn how to create their own short comics. Comics studied in class will include a selection of graphic novels, memoirs, comic strips, web comics, manga and more, from the 17th century to 2016, from a diverse range of cartoonists. Be prepared to have fun and work hard at the same time. The focus is on creating compelling narratives by combining words and images: you don’t need any previous drawing or writing experience.

The Graphic Novel (CEGN 120 F001) – Emily Carr University of Art + Design – Vancouver, BC
Fall 2018
In this course, you will learn the necessary tools to tell great stories in the medium of graphic novels, such as character development, narrative structures, body language, passage of time, flow, perspective, and composition. You will learn to develop your own ideas from concept to final product, and have a draft graphic novel on completion of the course.

Advanced Cartooning and Illustration (ART 9077) – George Brown College – Toronto, ON
Fall 2018
Our Advanced Cartooning and Illustration course is intended for senior cartooning and illustration students. Topics will vary by term, but possible topics include the graphic novel, the art of the comic book, editorial cartooning and caricature, production design and storyboarding and advanced illustration.

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