Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustration Masterclasses: Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel

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Date(s) - 12/09/2020
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Online - Online,

Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel

with Emily Haworth-Booth

Illustration and writing by Emily Haworth-Booth

In this intensive masterclass participants will create their own graphic short story or graphic novel scene (that may eventually form part of a longer project). Through practical exercises Emily will share her method for creating a scene organically from disparate images, words and ideas, moving consciously from the generative to the editing phases of the creative process. Students may choose to develop an idea for an original drawn story based on an event or memory from their own life, or to develop into sequential graphic form a scene from a project or story idea they are already working on. The workshop will be focused on the drafting phases of a project from idea generation to storyboarding and editing, with some advice given on how to move from this rough version to the final artwork which they can complete at home later if they so wish. The masterclass is open to those who write as well as to those who illustrate – no artistic experience or ability required. The process may also be of use to anyone interested in the creative process and idea generation.

Materials: a variety of drawing materials or just a pencil! Lots of  loose A4 plain paper and your sketchbook for writing and notes.

Below is a before masterclass mini brief  from Emily to get you started!  Bring your work from the brief to the masterclass to continue to work on.

1) For this masterclass I would suggest that you decide in advance whether you would like to approach the workshop with the intention of working with either :

A project you already have underway, or
Personal memories (though these may end up leading you towards to a fictional piece as much as an autobiographical one)

If A) A project you already have underway, then:
take a story or project you are currently working on (even if this is not currently a graphic novel project) and think of an existing or possible scene that has to do with food – the preparation or eating of a meal.

If B) you aren’t currently working on a project, or would prefer to work from autobiographical stimulus, ponder whether there is a food memory from your own life, childhood, adolescence or adulthood that you would like to spend some time with – even if there is no obvious ‘story’ there. If no scene comes to mind you could take a food-related theme from your life, perhaps ‘cakes’ or ‘my grandmother’s marmalade’ or the role food has played in your own family life or relationships.

2) Tear two A4 sheets into 8 rectangles each, so you have 16 rectangles to work on

3) Now, set a timer for 30 minutes.

4) Next, take a very ordinary pencil and without thinking about sequence, and working in a ‘disordered’, non-chronological way, note down in a very sketchy, rough drawn form (stick figures are fine) any moments, images (or memories if you are working from memory) etc that came up for you, one per rectangle. Try not to include captions although if you want to add speech bubbles or sounds or words that occur within an image eg on posters, signs etc that’s ok.

The goal is to draw for roughly 30 minutes and try to draw something, however rudimentary, on each rectangle. They could be objects, scenes, views of the protagonist or things seen from her point of view… even daydreams or fantasies that may form part of the psychological layering of the scene. Try not to edit yourself. These are first draft panels, that will be edited, rearranged, added to and improved upon later on, so don’t make them too perfect!

5) Paperclip these together and bring them with you to the workshop!

A week before the Masterclass you will be sent the Zoom link to join on the 12 September 2020.

I am an author-illustrator and educator with a passion for dogs and direct action! You will find both of these things in my debut picture book, The King Who Banned the Dark, which was a Guardian Children’s Book of the Month, a Sunday Times Book to Watch Out For, and nominated for nine awards including the Kate Greenaway, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and Little Rebels Award.
My second picture book, The Last Tree, will be published by Pavilion Children’s in February 2020 and I am now working on a non-fiction children’s book alongside a long-form graphic memoir about climate change and romantic comedies. My comics have appeared in print in the Observer, Vogue and Myriad Edition’s groundbreaking new study of over 250 years of Women Cartoon and Comic Artists in Britain, The Inking Woman.
When I’m not writing, drawing or having a nap I teach courses on comics, graphic novels, drawing and illustration at the Royal Drawing School in London, and do civil disobedience with Extinction Rebellion.
I have an MA with Distinction in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art (Anglia Ruskin) and a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University. My agent is Ed Wilson at Johnson & Alcock.

Photo above by Olivia Domingos

Email if you have any questions or need any clarifications on this event.