Comics for Writers with Tom Hart

Comics & Visual Storytelling for Writers

Ready to make the jump from prose to graphic novel? This continuous running, self-paced course teaches you how you can turn your written story into sequential art.

Watch Intro Video

You can make your graphic novel ideas come alive.

Most people write words and put pictures to the words. Words, picture, words picture. 

The picture is merely what the words are saying and It results in boring, sad, unimaginative, undramatic comics.

It doesn't lift off the page.

Maybe it informs, but it doesn't inspire...

You want to inspire!

This is the story you've been working on for years, or have dreamed about or lived!

Yes, you can learn to make your graphic novel soar!

Comics For Writers is a complete curriculum designed for scholars, historians, memoirists, journalists, storytellers and writers of all kinds looking to expand into graphic novels or short-form comics.

This is an online, continuous-running, self-paced course taught by Tom Hart, New York Times #1 Bestselling graphic novelist and founder of SAW—the Sequential Artists Workshop—in Gainesville, Florida.

If you have a story that you’d like to tell graphically, Comics for Writers will teach you what you need to know to make the transition!

Start any time and proceed at whatever speed works for you. Receive feedback on your work from Tom as you go.

You've got an idea...

or a whole story or project, already mapped out, maybe even written.

I've seen potential students at this point lose their way, feeling more lost and alone in their quest to find the vision in their story.

They settle for pictures of what the words already say.

They settle for boring their readers.

They settle for just putting pictures what they've written inside little boxes.

I won't let that happen to you!


I'm Tom Hart, a New York Times #1 Bestselling graphic novelist who has been creating comics tirelessly since about 1993.

Despite my decades of drawing, it took me years to figure out that I'm a writer first, and now that I have, I have made it my passion to help people tell their stories. 

Some of my favorite graphic novels and memoirs succeed on the power of their writing, with the images serving the ideas and story. Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother? And Art Spiegelman’s Maus come to mind. 

My Memoir

When I needed to make my most important book, my book about my fabulous daughter, I knew I didn't have the visual skills to make you believe it was happening in front of you, and that's not what the book was about. It was an internal book. To work, it needed to rely on honesty, concepts, and language.

My memoir, Rosalie Lightning, relies on the power of the thought and emotion behind it, not on the skill of the drawings.

Every work I create starts with copious notes, and pages and pages of free-writing. From there I try to find the magic combinations of words and pictures to let the ideas soar.

I know where writers like you are coming from—and I know how to make the jump from prose to image.

Comics For Writers collects what I’ve taught for 16 years and tailors it for people like you, who are used to words and ideas, but just starting to work with images, visual narrative and design.

When you join Comics for Writers, you'll have immediate access to hours of seasoned instruction, inspiration, presentations and exercises to get you understanding how comics can be magic and to make that magic  yourself.

You'll use what you're good at—writing—to create good, well-written comics. And you’ll share what you’ve created via a SAW Online Facebook Group.

I won't teach you to draw, but I'll teach you to plan the drawings, (whether those will be finished by you or someone else), to think about your visuals and to craft your story through comics. 

You’ll find your way—and your voice.

NOTE: 2% of the revenue will got to Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, per the recommendation of Sky and Scott McCloud-

This course is self-paced. Start any time and proceed at whatever speed you like.

This course will set you on your way to understanding the medium but also finding your voice in it.


Is this a self-guided course or is there a community aspect?
This course is self-guided but includes access to a Facebook group of people working on this and other courses. There have been lots of great work posted already!

The Facebook group is here:

Tom Hart is very active there and will respond to all relevant Comics for Writers posts through 2017.

Where will the community be contained?
Our active SAW Online FaceBook group, here:

I'm already an artist, is this course for me? 
The course is for anyone who wants/needs to understand how comics works , and how words and images work together. 

In other words, it doesn't teach writing- like story, character, plot, and it doesn't teach drawing- like anatomy, composition, style, it teaches how to think about the words and the pictures so they serve the story you've brought or been given.

What materials will I need?
Pens, pencils, whatever you’re comfortable with. Printer paper or sketchbook. You'll need at least one page of your own prose, or something you'd like to adapt anyway.

What's the final outcome of the course?
You will have adapted in rough form, a single page of prose twice (from my friend Jenny Offill) and one of your own pieces of work into script, then panels and then a page. Additionally, we will have completed at least four other substantial exercises.

You'll be amazed at how much you learned!

Can I get a refund?
Before 1 week, yes, please contact me at

Is this similar to classes you run at SAW?
I ran this in person at SAW in Feb-March 2017 and it went awesomely. Here we are at culmination celebration!

Any more questions, email

Don't settle for boring your readers...
Don't settle for handing an editor an uninspired manuscript...

Show me the magic!

What others have been saying about this course:


I helped birth these two fabulous books:

The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan by Bryan Doerries (Pantheon, 2016)
and Perpetua's Journey by Jennifer Rea (Oxford University Press, coming in 2017)

"I was fortunate to discover SAW as a resource for working on my graphic history, Perpetua's Journey. Tom Hart was an incredible teacher and our lessons discussed how to make my project, a prison diary, come to life in sequential art. Tom has said that creating comics is all about "writing, drawing, thinking, history, and responding," and we discussed all of these topics during my lessons." - Dr. Jennifer Rea; author of Legendary Rome andPerpetua's Journey (coming in 2017)

From the SAW In-Person Comics for Writers Class:

It’s been many years since [this story] made me sad, but there, in class, as I transformed the words into visual images, I sobbed. - Sandra Gail Lambert

Course Curriculum

What's included?

24 Videos
22 Texts
28 PDFs
1 Audio
8.0 hrs
Tom Hart
Tom Hart
Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop

About the instructor

Tom Hart is a cartoonist has been the Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop, a school and arts organization in Gainesville, Florida since 2012.

His 2016 memoir, Rosalie Lightning, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and was featured on many Best-Of-2016 lists.

His Hutch Owen series of graphic novels and books, were nominated for all the major industry awards. His The Collected Hutch Owenwas nominated for best graphic novel in 2000. He was an early recipient of a Xeric Grant for self-publishing cartoonists, and has been on many best-of lists in the Comics Journal and other comix publications. He has been called “One of the great underrated cartoonists of our time” by Eddie Campbell and “One of my favorite cartoonists of the decade” by Scott McCloud. His daily Hutch Owen comic strip ran for 2 years in newspapers in New York and Boston, and his “Ali’s House”, co-created with Margo Dabaie was picked up by King Features Syndicate.

He was a core instructor at New York City’s School of Visual Arts for 10 years, teaching cartooning to undergraduates, working adults and teens alike. Among his students were Dash Shaw, Sarah Glidden Box Brown and other published cartoonists like Leslie Stein, Jessica Fink,Josh Bayer, Brendan Leach and many others. He has taught comix and sequential art at schools and institutions all around New York City for more than 10 years, and has conducted week-long workshops from Maine to Hawaii. He also teaches sequential art in the School of Art and Art History at UF.

A couple other recent books:
Daddy Lightning
Let’s Get Furious
The Sequential Artists Workshop Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips

His website is


  1. Introduction, We'll quickly learn basic comic terms, and other simple vocabulary.
  2. Assessment - We'll adapt a simple piece of visual prose, by author Jenny Offill.
  3. Simple Actions, Simple Text - We'll create silent comics with simple actions, using Lewis Trondheim's Mr. O as an example. Then we'll add text to replace the images to see what effect it creates.
  4. Cause And Effect - We'll look at a lot more silent comics, then the concept of communicating cause and effect using the Frank comics of Jim Woodring as an example. We'll add text from a character's point of view to create sort of proto-captions.
  5. Panels Through Time -We'll look at how comics moves us through time and space. We'll assemble a comic from time jumps, and then add new panels to that to pad out the disconnects.
  6. Discord and Rhyme - We'll push words and pictures farther and farther apart and examine how they can still work together. We'll look at Chris Ware's I Guess as an example. Then we'll re-imagine our piece with a strengthening visual metaphor to carry the visual weight.
  7. Thinking With Your Artist - We'll examine some main principles of visual narrative communication and create a simple script with panel directions.
  8. Designing The Page - We'll examine the complexity of the page design, looking at lots of examples. We'll take our script and design it in page unit(s).
  9. You Can't Do This in the Movies - We'll be introduced to a few tricks to pull you past prose and into exciting, vivid comics. We'll adapt a good piece of non-visual prose and try to make it lively and visually exciting.
  10. Culmination - We'll adapt our Jenny Offill piece again. Wait til you see what you've learned! Extra credit is to create your own piece from your own writing and post it in our Facebook Group.

Teach me the secrets!

Sign me up!

You may also be interested in...

3 monthly payments of $92
Comics and Visual Storytelling for Writers - Always Enrolling
Hour-Consultation with Tom Hart