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The Art of Visual Storytelling: How Comics Work

Phil Jimenez & The Smithsonian Team

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7 Videos (30m)
    • Introduction

      2:26
    • Reference

      3:46
    • What Makes a Great Story

      6:18
    • Visual Storytelling Tactics

      8:42
    • Alternate Script: Drawing

      1:40
    • Conclusion

      1:12
    • Drawing

      6:07

About This Class

What makes a great visual story?

Telling a compelling sequential narrative with words and pictures is a critical skill, whether you want to work in comics, give a compelling visual presentation, or simple create a strong creative connection with an audience.

In this 30-minute class, master writer and artist Phil Jimenez shares his visual storytelling process, honed over two decades working with DC and Marvel Comics. You’ll learn how to:

  • Translate a comic script into a sketch
  • Use references to inform your drawings
  • Communicate action and drama in a panel-by-panel format

This class is perfect for artists, writers, creatives, and everyone who wants to hone their visual storytelling skills — no previous drawing experience required! By the end, you'll be able to identify key elements that make up the best stories, and find the emotional core of a great narrative.

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Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at theSmithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 126 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History. Learn more at www.si.edu.

117 of 118 students recommendSee All

I have been drawing for a while. But have been wanting to try different ways of using illustration, so this was very helpful for me trying comic books for the first time. Amazing!!!
This is a great beginning class, and though i'd term myself intermediate, there were still some tips i wrote down to work with later. The instructor's enthusiasm is so infectious i might watch this again the next time i feel like i'm bad at comics. :)
Sän Inman

patron saint of sarcasm

I find this class very helpful and easy to understand.

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Phil Jimenez is an American comic book artist and writer, known for his work as writer/artist on Wonder Woman from 2000 to 2003, as one of the five pencilers of the 2005-2006 miniseries Infinite Crisis, and his collaborations with writer Grant Morrison on New X-Men and The Invisibles.

Jimenez teaches a life drawing course as part of the undergraduate cartooning program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where he himself once studied. He has also held figure drawing classes outs...

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