This article is written by Erik Barkman, Graphic Storytelling coordinator at The Animation Workshop, MA in Media Science, Aesthetics and Culture from Aarhus University. Also, as you can probably tell, an experienced freelance writer, specializing in media such as comics and animation. And lastly, Spearhead Media´s new Comic Expert.
Cartoonists are the renaissance men and women of modern visual storytelling.
To create a great comic, you have to be able to generate story ideas, write scripts, design environments and characters, communicate visually – not to mention draw really well. Mastering any one of these skills is difficult enough. Great cartoonists are proficient in all of them.
This is why comics are such an exciting medium: Because the unique vision of one or a few collaborating artists comes through loud and clear in every expressive panel. And the world of sequential art has never been more diverse or more widely appealing than it is now.
It's also why comics artists and their work are making inroads into other media: Think modern, cartoonist-driven animated series like ”Adventure Time” and ”Steven Universe”, movies adapting superhero stories and graphic novels, children's books authored by comics artists and games designed by cartoonists.
At the four-year bachelor program Graphic Storytelling, we aim to train the most talented candidates from Europe and beyond to become excellent artists in the comic medium – and then introduce them to all the adjacent fields to which they can contribute via their multifaceted skill set.
Taught by working professionals from the comic field and related industries through intensive 1-2 week workshops, the first two years are dedicated to exploring all aspects of telling stories through sequential images and building worlds to set them in. The third year is dedicated to exploring wider applications of the cartoonists' craft, from storyboarding to concept art to animation backgrounds. And the fourth year is comprised of an internship and a final project.
Teachers include: Steven Seagle (”Ben 10”, ”It's a Bird”), Ed Piskor (”Hip Hop Family Tree”), Ghost Shrimp (”Adventure Time”), James Sturm (”The Golem's Mighty Swing”), Matt Bors (The Nib), and Meredith Gran (”Octopus Pie”).
Graphic Storytelling students are recruited internationally to what might be the most expansive full-time program for comic artists anywhere. To be admitted, they have to submit a comprehensive portfolio and (if selected) take part in an admissions test and interview. 20 students are accepted every two years.
For more delicious samples of student work – from sketches to finished pages and illustrations – visit the Animation Workshop Tumblr by clicking right here.
And for more information about Graphic Storytelling you can click here.