Making Curriculum Pop

Hi Everyone! I'm currently a grad student at Teachers College, Columbia University and am taking a comics course run by Nick Sousanis. I'm currently studying art education and was wondering if anyone had any resources or leads regarding teaching art through comics. Any help would greatly be appreciated!

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Well, the starting point would be Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.  I would also approach it from the art side by reading Rudolph Arnheim's Visual Thinking  and E. H. Gombrich's Art and Illusion.  If that isn't enough, also try Elliot Eisner's Reading, the Arts, and the Creation of Meaning.  I hope that helps. - Cary

Obviously, this site is a good place to start making connections. 

Andrew Wales teaches art AND comics in PA... His blog is and he is a really friendly helpful guy.

Also I post comics ed projects at:

You might look into comics ed conventions like ... MECAF is also quite friendly to teachers and students both.


When I was a student at The School of the Art Institute I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Michael Bitz, Ed.D, Columbia University, in conjunction with the Chicago After School Matters Program, using his Comic Book Project to Teach Literacy.  You might look into his work. 

Hi Liz,

 I believe your question is one that is not asked often enough. We get so focused on the literacy skill building side of comics and graphic novels that we often forget that every time we pick up a GN we engaging with art. As the education and outreach director for a film company I wear many hats, one of which happens to be a consultant in arts education for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. So for me, that's the first thing I look at.

When we look at the core of the national arts standards the discussion is about the skills that an education in the arts develop such as analyzing nonverbal communication and making informed judgements about cultural products and issues and learning to adapt to and respect other ways of thinking, working and expressing oneself.

As for the how. Remember that comics and GNs are sequential art. The sequence communicates time and action both in what is seen and what is unseen.You might look at the collaborative nature of the art form that is often overlooked when teachers use comics and GNs in their classrooms.

What is important to remember is that you absolutely follow the same arc as with any arts instruction/integration process. I always begin with artifact whether it is an existing artifact or a student created one. Take students through the process of identifying themes in the artifact and then discussing its contemporary and historical context. Remember arts ed is more about developing the next generation of arts patron than it is about developing the next generation artist. Giving them the skills to critically evaluate an art experience- its the process not the product that matters.

Hey Cary and Marek (hi Marek!), thanks for responding to Liz's note. Good thoughts - we've covered McCloud in depth in class and spent some time on Arnheim (he's big in my own dissertation work). Eisner should be great for her and I've connected her with Andrew Wales as well. I hadn't sent her to your site Marek - but that's good - your MI piece would be great for her. She's a little more interested in efforts to teach Art through comics - i had done a small piece for a TC course ( but she's seeking more in this realm.


If you're interested in what we've been up to in class, you might check out the wiki i'm growing here:




Thanks everyone for your replies! This has certainly helped me very much! Over the past week, I picked up Adventures in Cartooning, by James Sturm, et al, and 99 Ways to Tell a Story, by Matt Madden and they've both been quite helpful as well. Thank you everyone again for all of these resources- I can't wait to check them all out!
good picks, Liz - thanks everyone for pitching in. best, Nick



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