The Art of Visual Storytelling: How Comics Work Premium class

Phil Jimenez, Comic Book Artist and Writer

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7 Videos (30m)
    • Introduction

    • Reference

    • What Makes a Great Story

    • Visual Storytelling Tactics

    • Alternate Script: Drawing

    • Conclusion

    • Drawing


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.



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

52 of 52 students recommendSee All

Very informative and thorough. one of the best classes I have taken.
This little class was excellent. Since I am an aspiring graphic novelist, I got some great insights into how stories are constructed and what has to happen visually to express that. The class was delivered in short bits that were easy to follow and absorb - and the instructor did a great job talking through the material.
Could do with more detailed information but the content is really good quality.





Phil Jimenez

Comic Book Artist and Writer

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 outside of SVA, at places such as the LGBT Center in the West Village.

Jimenez has been named one of Instinct magazine's 2006 "Men of the Year," listed as one of Entertainment Weekly's "101 Gay Movers and Shakers," and has served as an Inkwell Awards Ambassador since September 2011.