Assignment list, compartive presentation of "how do I tell this story?" techniques, state-of-the-art production methods, a collection of templates and external resources.


All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the designated date, unless otherwise noted. Late assignments and make-up work will be accepted up to one week after the due date for half credit. Assignments may not be submitted electronically, except by prior arrangement with the instructor. All writing assignments must be typed.

Email the Instructor

This is your first assignment, due within 48 hours of our first session

  • Send from an account you check frequently
  • Send to
  • Subject line:
    Art of the Comic Book - Summer 2011 | YourName
  • Answer these survey questions:
    • What is your experience with comic books?
    • What is your major and/or career?
    • How did you hear about this class?
    • What are your favorite comics
    • Who are your favorite writers/artists
    • What comics have you done?
    • Are you involved in any comics-related groups/activities
    • Anything else about yourself that you want

My Day

3 Pages of Plot + Art. Write and draw a story of your day (morning, noon, and/or night.) Focus on personal details unique to you.

  • Phase 1: Thumbnail + Research
  • Phase 2: Pencil + Lettering (Ames 3.5)
  • Phase 3: Inking
  • Phase 4: Sign-off

Folk Tale part one: Script

Write a detailed Full Script, in Microsoft Word, for 3 pages of story. Do whatever it takes to make it your own (alternative time periods, personal details, experimental techniques, a "lost ending" approach, etc.) Provide research, setting + character notes.

  • Phase 1: Research
  • Phase 2: First Draft
  • Phase 3: Sign-off

Folk Tale part two: Art

3 pages from a Full Script. Follow the script as tightly — yet creatively — as possible.

  • Phase 1: Thumbnail + Research
  • Phase 2: Pencilling + Lettering (Ames 3.5)
  • Phase 3: Inking
  • Phase 4: Sign-off

Your Story part one: Writing

Plot and thumbnail three pages of comic book continuity. Genres can be historical, personal, spiritual, or any combination. Even spectulative and adventure work must be grounded in our shared reality.

  • Phase 1: First Draft
  • Phase 2: Second draft
  • Phase 3: Sign-off

Your Story part two: Art

Draw and letter three pages of comic book continuity. Follow the approved script as tightly while improvising for visual media.

  • Phase 1: Pencilling and lettering (Ames 3.5)
  • Phase 2: Inking
  • Phase 3: Sign-off

Zip's Last Day

3 pages from a Full Script. Follow the script as tightly — yet creatively — as possible.

  • Phase 1: Thumbnail + Research
  • Phase 2: Pencil + Lettering (Ames 3.5)
  • Phase 3: Inking
  • Phase 4: Sign-off

Marvel Method part one: Plot

3 pages of Story. Writers and Artists team up to plot a new story. No editorial parameters.

  • Phase 1: Team A Brainstorm
  • Phase 2: Team B Brainstorm
  • Phase 3: Homework - Everyone pencils all three pages loosely

Marvel Method part two: Pencil

3 pages (Continued).

  • Phase 1: Writers put in copy "Marvel Style"
  • Phase 2: Finish pencilling the story
  • Phase 3: Homework - Finish pencilling all 3 pages

Marvel Method part three: Ink

3 pages (Continued).

  • Phase 1: Letter (Ames 4.5)
  • Phase 2: Inking
  • Phase 3: Homework - Finish inking all 3 pages


While your work is traditional ink-on-paper, print media is exclusively produced with digital tools. Photoshop has been the industry-standard tool to this end for more than 20 years.

Make Raw Scans

To get each page done in one pass, you'll need a tabloid flatbed scanner. Resolution paramaters:

  • 400 ppi
  • 100%
  • Grayscale

Save each page as a TIF with the naming convention of YOURNAME-STORYNAME-PAGENUMBER (example "davidmarshall-zipslastday-01.tif")

Budget approximately 5 minutes to scan each page. For instance, scanning 20 pages took me 90 minutes.

The files will most likely be too large for email. Therefore, a long-term cost-savings tool is a portable USB hard drive. This one, for instance, holds 320 Gigabytes for $110.00.

Photoshop Production

  1. Save scan as Photoshop
  2. Trim and rotate (as needed)
  3. Retouch up with "Image/Adjustments/Levels"
  4. Scale to 60% at 400 ppi
  6. Print, compare to original. Adjust if necessary.

Photoshop Format

  1. Copy scaled art, paste into "page-400ppi.psd"
  2. Convert from RGB to Grayscale
  3. Hide all other layers, Flatten image

MassArt's Tabloid Scanner

Location: Tower T308 | Make/Model: Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL

Storytelling Process

Page Builder

  1. Artist writes and draws directly on the Page
  2. No Script, Layout or concern for Page Count

Panel Builder

  1. Artist decides what each Panel should look like independently (accounting for Copy and Art), with no regard for Page Design
  2. Artist puts planned Panels on a Thumbnail page (adjusting the Copy placement), deciding Page Design as you go along
  3. Artist applies this Process one page at a time, with no regard for Page Count or Pacing

Full Script

  1. Writer creates a Full Script, with Page/Panel descriptions, keeping track of Page Count and Pacing
  2. Artist thumbnails entire story, accounting for Copy and Art

Marvel Method

  1. Writer creates a Plot Synopsis
  2. Artist thumbnails entire story, indicating preferred placement of Copy
  3. Writer adds Copy to the finished Pencil art

Design Method

  1. Artist or Writer makes a Page Layout
  2. Artist fits the story into this Page Layout, accounting for Copy and Art

Kurtzman Method

  1. Writer creates Thumbnails with final Copy
  2. Artist follows the Thumbnails

EC Method

  1. Writer writes a tight Plot
  2. Artist breaks plot down into Pages/Panels
  3. Writer writes Copy
  4. Letterer letters and borders the Pages
  5. Artist draws on the pre-formatted Pages

Art Supplies

Drawing Tools

Technical Tools

Required Computer Supplies

  • Access to Tabloid Scanner
  • Adobe Photoshop or similar (Scan Editing)
  • Microsoft Word or similar (Script Writing)
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro or similar (Making PDFs)


Production Template

  • Photoshop template of a mainstream American standard comic book, accounting for bleed, trim, and 6" x 9" live area

History + Techniques

  • Highlights of the historical, philosophical and technical insights in Powerpoint form

Art of the Comic Book media demos on Youtube!

  • Step-by-step video demonstrations of ink and drafting tool related to comics, filmed in my classic "one shot, one take" style. This library of rare media techniques is ever-expanding.
  • Media techniques, drawing demos, and interviews from legendary artists, including John Buscema, Moebius, Trina Robbins, and more!