Certificate Program

Graphic Novel Writing & Illustration Online Program

Program Description

Emerson College's Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Online Program offers the perfect opportunity to develop your writing and illustration skills and adapt your creative talents to the exciting graphic-novel medium. Through the program, you will explore your interest in picture books, novellas, and comic strips in courses designed to chronicle the literature and artwork of graphic novels.

You also will delve into the world of graphic-novel writing and illustration through a course of study focused on specific story-writing and image-creation techniques. Participants who complete four core courses and the final Portfolio Project course from the non-credit graphic novel and illustration series will earn the Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Certificate.

Who Should Enroll

The Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Program is open to creative writers, graphic and fine artists, graphic-novel aficionados, and individuals who would like to develop writing and illustration skills to create a graphic novel. Each program participant may enroll in one or several multi-session courses to match his or her personal objectives and schedule.* The certificate, however, will be awarded only to participants who successfully complete all components of the Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Certificate Program.

* Participants must hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to enroll in graphic novel writing and illustration courses and workshops offered by the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs.

Core Courses

Participants may enroll in one or several of the following core courses, to broaden their knowledge of graphic novel writing and illustration techniques. Note: Candidates who wish to earn the Certificate in Graphic Novel Writing & Illustration must successfully complete four of the core courses and the Portfolio Project course.

CE0351 Introduction to Comic Art - online course
Ten-session course, offered fall semester, $695.00
(Required for certificate candidates)
Participants will focus on an in-depth survey of the continuing evolution of comic art over the past one hundred years. With an emphasis on the influential cartoonists who have mastered the ability to communicate though sequential illustrations, participants will learn to see beyond what they expect from a graphic novel, in order to discover new possibilities.

CE0352 Graphic Novel As Literature - online course
Ten-session course, offered spring semester, $695.00
(Required for certificate candidates)
This course is an in-depth study of the nature and content of graphic novels. Through discussion, participants will examine each author's approach to storytelling, character development, and the use of images. The reading list will represent the various genres of graphic novel (memoir, fantasy, fiction, social criticism, and history) and a variety of authors such as Eddie Campbell, Alan Moore, Marjorie Satrapi and Joan Sfarr.

CE0353 Writing the Graphic Novel I - online course
Ten-session course, offered fall semester, $695.00
(Required for certificate candidates)
Writing the Graphic Novel I is a workshop designed to guide participants through the early stages of writing a graphic novel. Participants will learn to create engaging, active characters; develop coherent narrative around those characters; write a detailed, scene-by-scene story outline; and begin scripting through such graphic-novel formats as page breaks and panel descriptions. This course is beneficial to artists as well as writers.

CE0354 Illustrating the Graphic Novel I - online course
Ten-session course, offered spring semester, $695.00
(Required for certificate candidates)
In this intensive workshop, participants will progress through the early stages of developing the look to a graphic novel, character designs and the overall visual style. Participants will choose a story or have their own idea of one that they wish to illustrate. By the end of the course, participants will be able to develop model sheets for the main characters; find all visual reference necessary (i.e., locales, props); storyboard/block-out four pages of the story; and script and draw four pages of the story. This course is beneficial to writers as well as artists.

CE0357 Graphic Novel Portfolio Project - online course
Six-session course, summer semester $475.00
(Only certificate candidates may enroll in this course, which is required for such participants.)
Certificate candidates will rewrite, refine and present their graphic novel concept for critical review. They also will develop strategies to complete their work and promote it for publication, whether through self-publishing or through a publisher. Participants also will discuss such professional practices as searching for an artist (writer or illustrator) to collaborate with, developing a support group, fan base and more.

Summer Intensive Courses

CE0356 Illustrating the Graphic Novel II: Advanced Theories and Techniques - online course
Six-session course, summer semester $450.00
No longer simply comic books grown up, graphic novels can push the envelope in style and technique through creative use of digital and traditional elements. This course will help you expand your artistic horizons as you begin or continue your graphic novel. Illustrating the Graphic Novel II is appropriate for participants who wish to further what they have learned in Illustrating the Graphic Novel I or individuals who want to begin exploring the many possibilities of this storytelling genre.

CE0358 Producing the Graphic Novel - online course
Six-session course, offered summer semester $425.00
With today's technologies, producing a graphic novel for the print market is no longer the only option open to creative individuals. In this course, review methods to prepare your work for distribution in the print, web, and e-book markets, as well as cost-effective ways to grow your audience. Areas of discussion will include promoting the work via the web and social networks, finding methods to produce limited print runs of the graphic novel, and various methods of financing. Participants will be exposed to a variety of resources and will be encouraged to develop a custom strategy to publish their work.

CE0355 Writing the Graphic Novel II: Advanced Theories and Techniques - online course
Six-session course, offered summer semester $450.00
Participants will focus on rewriting their graphic novel or develop new work. This course will help you evaluate and refine story structure, characterization, and thematic consistency while elevating your use of the graphic novel form by identifying and incorporating sophisticated visual narrative techniques.

Taking Online Courses at Emerson College

What to Expect from an Online Course
Online courses require the same amount of time and effort as face-to-face courses.
You will need to have basic computer skills: be able to send and receive email, install software, and use web browsers and word processing software.
Your online class may or may not have set class "meeting" times. Some classes will allow you to work entirely at your own schedule. However, all classes will have a set ending date, as well as deadlines along the way that you will need to meet.
You should be comfortable with trying to solve technical problems on your won, and being open to learning new software. Conversely, you should also be comfortable asking for help if needed!
Most communication in online classes will be written. You should be comfortable analyzing and discussing ideas in written college-level English.
Each class will have slightly different requirements. If you have questions, please contact your professor.

Minimum System Requirements
For Windows users: XP or later, with a 1.8 GHz processor
For Mac users: OS X v10.5 (Leopard) or later with a 1.5GHz processor
Memory: 2GB of RAM
Screen: 1028 x 768
Internet connection: High-speed cable, DSL, or LAN (Note: wireless connections are not recommended for viewing streaming video.)
Headphones or computer speakers


Software:
PDF Reader (e.g. Adobe Acrobat or Preview for Mac) 

DOC reader (e.g. Microsoft Word)

PPT reader (e.g. Microsoft Powerpoint)
Adobe Flash Player 10.3 or later

Supported browsers: Mozilla Firefox 20+, Apple Safari 5+, Internet Explorer 9+, Google Chrome 25+ (Note: some screen sharing functions may not be available in Chrome).

Recommended Additions
USB headset (or other microphone)

Webcam

Access to a printer

VLC Media Player

Certificate Program Completion Requirements

Professional Studies participants may choose to work toward a Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Certificate. The following guidelines apply to all non-credit, non-degree certificate individuals at Emerson College:

  • Individuals must satisfy the certificate program requirements published for the term in which they register for the first course toward the certificate.

  • All individuals must complete coursework for a certificate program within a period of three years from their initial date of registration.
  • Only learning activities offered by Emerson College’s Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs may be applied to fulfill the requirements of a certificate program.
  • Enrollment in non-credit, non-degree certificate programs is open to all individuals who have a high school diploma or GED. Prerequisite requirements apply in some instances. To receive a certificate, individuals must submit a Request for Certificate Form to the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs within one year of program completion.

Instructors

Alexander C. Danner, instructor of Graphic Novel as Literature, Writing the Graphic Novel I and Writing the Graphic Novel II

Alexander Danner is co-author of Comics: a Global History, 1968—Present (Thames & Hudson, 2014) and Character Design for Graphic Novels (Rotovision/Focal Press, 2007). He serves as president of the Writers’ Room of Boston, a non-profit organization that provides safe, affordable workspaces to writers in Greater Boston. Alexander earned his BA in philosophy from Lehigh University and his MFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College. Head to TwentySevenLetters and TwoForNo to read Alex’s original comics and samples of his fiction, poetry, essays and articles.

Andy Fish, instructor of Introduction to Comic Art, Illustrating the Graphic Novel I, Illustrating the Graphic Novel II and Producing the Graphic Novel

Andy is the creator of graphic novels The Tragic Tale of Turkey Boy, an American Love Story; Fly, a True Story Completely Made Up; Werewolves of Wisconsin and Other American Myths, Monsters and Ghosts; and Dracula’s Army: The Dead Travel Fast. He has authored and illustrated how-to books (How to Draw Graphic Novel Style, Chartwell Books, London), and has free-lanced for DC Comics and Warner Brothers. In 2004, Andy won an INKY Award for best digital comic book and in 2014 he earned a Pulp Factory Award nomination for his illustrations for Airship 27’s new line of Pulp Magazines. In Spring 2014 Andy participated in a successful Kickstarter campaign to produce art for Geeks and Greeks, a graphic novel set on MIT’s campus. Andy attended the School of Visual Arts and Rhode Island School of Design.

How to Register

Head to our Registration and Payment page to learn more about registration and payment.

Participating in the Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Program

Tuition is due upon registration for all Graphic Novel Writing and Illustration Program courses and workshops offered through the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs. Tuition is calculated per course and individuals must pay tuition in full prior to participating in the courses of their choice.

Students may incur additional course-related expenses. Such additional expenses are separate from tuition costs and payments.

Graphic novel online courses require the same amount of time and effort as face-to-face courses. You will need to have basic computer skills to participate in online courses, and be able to send and receive email, install software, and use web browsers and word processing software. Your online class may or may not have set class “meeting” times. Some classes will allow you to work entirely at your own schedule. However, all classes will have a set beginning and ending date, as well as deadlines along the way that you will need to meet. You should be comfortable trying to solve technical problems on your own, and be open to learning new software. Conversely, you should also be comfortable asking for help if needed. Most communication in online classes will be written. You should be comfortable analyzing and discussing ideas in written college-level English.

At the present time, Emerson College is not authorized to issue I-20’s for study in its Professional Studies and Special Programs (“PSSP”) courses. Depending on an international student’s immigration status and personal circumstances, enrollment in a PSSP course may be permissible or may result in an immigration status violation. Maintaining valid immigration status while in the United States is the responsibility of the individual, not Emerson College. PSSP staff cannot advise individuals about their immigration status. If you have any questions about the requirements for maintenance of your specific immigration status, please contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country prior to enrolling in a PSSP program.

Emerson College reserves the right to change any provision of its programs and courses at any time. The College specifically reserves the right to change its tuition rates and any other financial charges. The College also reserves the right to rearrange its courses and class hours, to drop courses for which registration falls below the minimum enrollment, and to change instructor assignments.