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Course Information

Professor: Ralph Slatton, M.A., M.F.A.

Office: 307 Ball Hall; Phone: 423-439-5297Download syllabus word file.

Email: slatton(nospam) --- please remove (nospam) before sending

Course hrs: 3; Class time: M-F 9:00-12:30

Pre-requisites: ARTA 1201, ARTA 1110, or permission of instructor

Syllabus Download Here

Comic Book Illustration - ARTA 4517 & 5517

Hills Lab LogoThis course is a study of the major aspects of comic book creation, from inception, illustration, administration, to final production. Prerequisites may be waived by permission of instructor. This course is repeatable. Graduate students who repeat the course must complete different research papers for each semester. This syllabus may change from year to year, so please contact me, before buying supplies. We hope to develop an appreciation and skill level in the art of creating comic books, fully engaging students' design and illustration skills. The course is especially tailored for those pursuing degrees under Graphic Design and Digital Media, in some instances fulfilling degree electives. Additionally, this course provides experience in use of Photoshop and other technologies of the publishing industry. The final product of this course is the creation of a five to six page story. One of those pages should be a splash page with introduces the story and separates it from the other stories. Please do not ask to do more than six pages as the printing costs become prohibitive.

Course Goals

To provide the opportunity, the goals for both undergraduate and graduate students include:

  • Learn the history of comics and its influences from popular culture
  • Learn the mechanics of a graphic short story
  • Learn the elements of sequential design
  • Develop skills in storyboarding
  • Implement illustration and design skills
  • Write and illustrate a five-page comic book
  • Learn how to work with a printing facility (or press)

Administration Goals

To provide additional opportunities for graduate students, the additional goals include:

  • Perform the duties of assistant editor
  • Develop a theme for the class comic book
  • Write a five-page research paper on the comic book (a new topic required for each repeated semester)

Subject Matter

Generally speaking, you can explore almost any theme you wish, as long as it will pass the final inspection of the department and university. There are only a few topics that may give problems. These include topics of suicide, hate speech, or overt profanity. Try to be original, even with traditional subjects. Take them a step further than and maybe less predictable. Comic books do not necessarily have to be of superheroes, but can also be of a fine art nature. You don't necessarily have to have dialogue and word balloons. If you go this route, you should be prepared to spend extra time developing the visual flow of your stories. It is important that they communicate, even if you don't use words to do this. If you choose not to do dialogue, I would still want you to write about your ideas and turn them separately.

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