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Graphic Novels and Comic Book Art (Online Short Course)

Graphic Novels and Comic Book Art (Online Short Course)

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Matt O'Dell


Graphic Novels and Comic Book Art is an engaging introduction to the process of creating graphic novel-style sequential art Course topics will include story development, storyboarding, page layout design, inking, lettering and colouring.

You will explore a range of styles and techniques including an introduction to efficient, high-quality digital methods using Adobe Photoshop. At the course finale, you will receive a colour A3 print of your work. Teaching takes the form of class and individual exercises, class critiques and one-on-one discussion with the tutor.

For more information on Online Short Courses please see the below information.

All our Online Short Courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • The same course content and learning outcomes
  • Lesson recordings, for review
  • Access to VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 3 months online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Further details about preparing for your online course, and the equipment you need, can be found here.

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here.

Topics covered

  • Life drawing
  • Creative writing 
  • Storyboarding 
  • Character design presentation 
  • Page layout 
  • Develop your own story
  • Sketching story panels 
  • Inking
  • Colouring scanned work digitally
  • Adding borders, balloons and lettering digitally
Course outcomes
Students will gain a grounding scene composition, page design and character creation for comic books. Students will leave the course with a finished page strip of comic book art, together with a full set of handouts on all topics discussed. This will provide a firm foundation for application to further illustration courses, self-publishing your own webcomic or developing a portfolio for work in related industries such as video games.

Who should attend
Anyone who wants to learn about the process of creating comics, or is looking to build a portfolio of sequential artwork to apply for a longer cartooning course. The general principles of this course apply to manga as much as a superhero, funny animal or underground comics.


Student reviews

'The tutor was very good, constantly working on supporting the students and helping generate ideas to improve the story or pictures.' - Anon

'The general principles of this course apply to manga as much as superhero, funny animal or underground comics. You don’t even need to be amazing at drawing to be on here, everything was nicely paced and incredibly helpful and if I could do this full time I would have stayed forever! Fun tutor, fun course, met the most loveliest and talented people! I would recommend this to absolutely anyone and everyone! ' - Anon

Please note that Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Tutor Description

Matt O’Dell has been teaching the Graphic Novel and Comic Book Art short course for over five years. When not at Chelsea, he works full-time as a Teaching Fellow / Technician at the University of Surrey, where he teaches design, animation and a wide range of Adobe CC and Autodesk software. He previously taught the asset creation modules of the Games Design BA at Brunel University, and has worked commercially as a 2D / 3D video games artist and user interface designer. 
When not teaching he enjoys painting sci-fi scenes on his Wacom tablet, and increasingly, an iPad Pro. 

Take a look at Matt's website


Online Short Course Materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date web browser (we recommend Chrome)
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended. The built-in microphone in your device would also be fine).
  • Webcam.
  • Strong Internet connection - we recommend a minimum of 2 Mbps download, and 1 Mbps upload, faster if possible. You can test your network speed here -
  • Adobe Photoshop – if you do not have access – click here to download a free 7 day trial.
  • A scanner, or camera to upload images, unless you ae working 100% digitally.
  • Three objects, each about 20-30 cm tall, that you can use for a life drawing exercise. Try to find a mix from simple to more complex.
  • Bristol Board, at a size suitable for your scanner (typically A4)
  • “Non-photo blue” pencils (e.g. Prismacolor Col-Erase)
  • Black fineliner pens, in selection of sizes. Alternatively, you could use a dip pen (e.g. Speedball 102 crow quill) and black India Ink.


Offline and Onsite Specific Materials

Please bring the following materials with you on the first day:

  • 2 - 3 examples of your previous work, which may help to inform your development
  • Sketchbook (no larger than A3)
  • Selection of drawing pencils (H/HB/2B)
  • Any other drawing materials you are comfortable working with, such as charcoal
  • Colour materials you are comfortable using (e.g. coloured pencils, felt tips, watercolours etc)
  • Eraser and pencil sharpener
  • Clear plastic ruler 30cm
  • 1GB USB memory stick
  • Laptop, iPad or tablet for research and reference

If you have a graphics tablet, you may also wish to bring this on the last day of the course

Please note that most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Chelsea College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Available dates