Storytelling Flow with Tom Hart

Storytelling Flow

Loosen up and flow through your own ideas and images. 8 session, 6-Week Class beginning Feb 6.

Watch Intro Video

Feeling stuck?

Tense? Like you can’t figure out which way to turn?

Not sure which idea to build on?

Are you overwhelmed or underwhelmed by your own ideas?

Loosen up and follow your story ideas from beginning to end in this real-time 6-week course.

Learn to trust your voice and your storytelling

In this course, we'll start with nothing, dream up some ideas and images and follow them through in a single, 6-week Vinyasa-like motion. At the end, we'll have stretched our imaginations and surprised ourselves with stories that were waiting to be released.

I've been there.

When I was starting out, I saw people around me filling sketchbooks and telling stories- unique, personal often funny stories that seemed to flow right out of them. For whatever reason, I couldn't do that. I had to start from scratch. I had to start with one idea or image, and build on it. I had to learn how to attach ideas to it, but also how to stay a step ahead of my critical mind, -wolves and alligators- which always wanted to stop me.

But I also needed to learn about story, which added structural strength. Soon I began making stories...

I'm Tom Hart. I'm a New York Times #1 Bestselling graphic novelist whose been making work tirelessly since about 1993. I've published thousands of pages of comics, and I'll be honest: some of it is excellent, some of it is good, and much of it is lousy.

(photo by Rachel Damiani)

But everything I've done has helped me become a fuller artist and human being.

If you're like I was, you’ve got too many scraps of notes, too many half-started stories, or pictures with nowhere to go.

For years I've taken that frustration and learned to not give a damn.

I turned that panic into an engine to keep making comics, and from 2001-2011 I taught trusting your voice and following your vision learning your craft at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

In 2012, I founded a school on the belief that anyone can access their imagination and empower their artistic lives.

These famous cartoonists had this to say about my teaching:

Argh! I Didn't Know Anything

When I was a beginning student... I had NO IDEAS. I was the worst possible cartoonist. I’d stare at a blank page while the cartoonists around me would fill up pages and sketchbooks with funny and original stories. I had no idea how they did it. It was so sad.

I didn't know what material mattered to me, I didn't know how to follow it through. I didn't know what skills I would need to complete it.

Eventually, slowly, I came to realize I had to start one piece at a time, and eventually I came to understand how I needed to work:

Start with an idea or an image, and build on it, step by step.

This is what I’ll show you how to do.

In Storytelling Flow, we'll learn how amazing it can feel to have nurtured and expanded an idea, and also to have been surprised by it.

We’ll catch an idea or image, see it all the way through then look back and reflect.

We'll learn how to develop something and be interested in it.

We'll learn how to revise it and be proud of it.

At the end, we'll learn how to reflect and work even better and make it more personal next time.

Tom created a teaching environment that fostered open discussion, unbiased attitudes and a love for understanding how comics work and the kind of work we wanted to make. - Jess Fink

Tom's approach to education and guidance offers sensitivity and candor in equal measure. He offers technical insight across genre boundaries, adapting his criteria to each student's goals and aesthetic preferences. - Dan Strauss

Tom is a magical teacher and all-around great guy. He did not just help my brain understand how to create a good comic, but also opened my eyes to tons of great cartoonists, provided advice outside of class time, helped me find a thesis advisor, lent me fantastic books, etc. (the list goes on.) - Jess Worby

You make comic stories, storytelling so exciting and fun. I know I came to you with a crazy idea of writing a story. I don't think I'd have embarked on such an ambitious journey without your enthusiasm, boundless optimism, and most importantly, a belief in the story - Anna Kim

is a class built on methods I've used for 20+ years and taught for more than 15.

I've used these same methods in our popular low-residency workshops at SAW, and I'm happy to share them online. I've used them to make comedic work for years, and quite serious works since 2011.

Storytelling Flow is designed to get you finding your own images and following them to a new incarnation, hopefully creating a new you in the meantime.

Art should change you.

This is the course to learn what that feels like.


When does it start?
Feb 6, 2017

How long is the class?
8 sessions in 6 weeks.

Material from the classes will be available for download about once a week. Most sessions we'll have a week to look over the material and do the work. In some sessions, it will just be a few days, but those are simpler sessions.
The schedule is as follows:
  1. Monday Feb 6 - Intro and 01 - Gathering Ideas
  2. Monday Feb 13 - 02 Developing Ideas
  3. Monday Feb 20 - 03 Expanding the Idea
  4. Monday Feb 27 - 04 First Iteration
  5. Thursday Mar 2 - 05 Structure
  6. Monday Mar 6 - 06 Script
  7. Thursday Mar 9 - 07 Final Iteration
  8. Thursday Mar 16 - Reflection

Is this a self-guided course or is there a cohort or community aspect?
This course is designed at present to create a community of students all working at the same time and helping each other out.

Where will the community be contained?
Google+ at this address. You will be added automatically.

But I will create a second Facebook group for people as well, if that's desired.

How much input will Tom have each session?
I plan to be involved as much as needed, probably an hour a day, plus at the premium rate, I will work with each person one-one-one for one hour.

I see a lot of funny pictures up there. Is this only for humorous work?
I don't see any reason why this can't be for humorous work, serious work, fiction, non-fiction, anything. It designed to get you short-circuiting your Holding-You-Back-Brain and getting you to respect your own ideas, regardless of type. I've used it for all kinds of storytelling, including sci-fi/fantasy, and for my very straightforward and serious memoir.

What materials will I need?
  • Pens, pencils, whatever you’re comfortable with.
  • A very small notebook, hand-sized. Larger if you prefer.
  • Printer paper or sketchbook.
  • Index cards or printer paper ripped into fourths.
  • Paper and pencils/pens for final work.
  • Anything you are comfortable with is fine.

I write better than I draw, or I draw better than I write. Will I be ok in here?
I find that everyone has a strength in regards to writing or drawing. I lean towards writing and jotting ideas down first and foremost, and for me, drawing from a blank slate is hard. You may be this way or not.

If you find it more comfortable to do some of the drawing exercises as writing, or the writing exercises as doodles, then by all means do.

In the final product, play to your strengths and let the other parts grow slowly.

What's the final outcome of the course?
I want everyone to create a short, multi-paged comic story that would be just right for printing in a self-contained mini-comic.

Is this similar to what you do at SAW?
I would say it's similar to what I do in my single day workshops at the Low-Residency Workshops at SAW, but a more deliberate pace at each step. Also, in both cases, in person and online, I tailor it as I go.

Is this similar to How To Say Everything?
A little bit. Beginning with images and "attaching" ideas and images to them are the keys. There probably isn't as much character work, since that book arose out of a lot of work specifically in comic strips, which needs an array of characters to keep moving. But we can touch on anything in the community and especially in one-on-one sessions.

(How To Say Everything, is a book I wrote in 2009 about starting from nothing and staying engaged in your medium. It remains 95% finished, and is available affordably here: )

Will You Run This Class Again?
Probably, but maybe not until summer!

Any more questions, email

What's included?

5 Videos
21 Texts
12 PDFs
6.0 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

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