Creating Comics: Rachael Ball and Karrie Fransman to head up virtual Arvon course in March

Art Competition

Have you always wanted to try your hand at writing a comic or graphic novel? Or are you an experienced writer looking to take their work to the next level? Either way, if you’re passionate about creating comics then an upcoming online highly structured, inspiring, and fun course from Arvon in March 2022 could be ideal for you.

You’ll learn from writer/artists Rachael Ball and Karrie Fransman how to create compelling characters, exciting plots and emotional story arcs. You’ll also explore the more technical aspects of creating a comic such as composing creative briefs, script pages and storyboards – as well as pitching your work to editors. You’ll have space to experiment with composition as you explore a visual style unique to you and your material.

Whether you’re shaping your life experiences into page-turning plots or creating a whole new world; Rachael and Karrie will show you how to engage audiences and publishers alike. By the end of the week, you’ll have developed a ‘tool kit’ to enable you to take your project to the next stage.

The Arvon team will help you to make ‘Arvon at Home’, turning your own place into a writing cocoon, aiming to capture the transformative power of the organisation’s acclaimed Arvon residential courses: two brilliant author-tutors at your service, a caring and sharing group, the time and space to devote to your writing, invaluable feedback, new writing pals, and the unique creative progress that happens in a dedicated week. 

You will be offered the best of a classic Arvon residential week, with a few virtual tweaks. All gatherings, one-to-one or group, will be delivered via the Arvon Zoom, so you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. Your Arvon host will be on call to offer support as you need it, including any help you may need with your computer set-up. Full details, booking form and requirements to take part are detailed here.

As part of Arvon’s wider effort to increase participation in the arts, there are a limited number of concessionary places available for this course.

Rachael Ball is a cartoonist and cartoon workshop teacher with 16 years of Art teaching experience in secondary schools. She teaches a “How to write, develop and Illustrate Children’s Books” course at the Art A Her first graphiccademy ‘Graphic Novel Your Life’ master classes at the House of Illustration and Children’s cartoon workshops at the Cartoon Museum.

Her graphic novel, The Inflatable Woman, was published in 2015 by Bloomsbury, a semi-autobiographical and surreal take on her experiences with breast cancer. It was listed as a Guardian Best Graphic Novel of 2015 and one of Paul Gravett’s Top 10 British Graphic Novels for 2015. Previously, her work appeared in cult 1990’s comic Deadline, and she has also illustrated for various publications. Her second graphic novel, Wolf. was published by Self Made Hero in 2018, a satire on her experience teaching in Secondary schools. She also co-ordinates the London branch of Laydeez do Comics, which promotes women in comics.

Karrie Fransman is a comic creator. Her comics have been published in The Guardian, The Times, Time Out, The Telegraph, the BBC, The New Statesman and by The Arts Council. Her latest illustrated book, Gender Swapped Fairy Tales, co-created with her husband Jonathan Plackett, was published by Faber & Faber in November 2020. She published two graphic novels with Penguin Random House; The House That Groaned (2012), and the award winning Death of the Artist (2015).

Karrie also developed an award winning comic, Over, Under, Sideways, Down about an Iranian teenage refugee, for The British Red Cross, created an installation for the British Council and Southbank Centre and was commissioned to make a ‘Selves Portrait’ for an exhibition with Manchester Art Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. She has spoken and run workshops at The Guardian Masterclasses, Tate Modern, TEDx, Central Saint Martins, Oxford University, The Hay Festival, The Big Draw, House of Illustration and The British Library, and presented her work worldwide from Russia to Bangladesh, Lebanon and Mexico.

Arvon has been the UK’s home of creative writing for over fifty years. with three centres, in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire. Their residential courses and retreats, led by highly acclaimed writers, span poetry to playwriting, song to screenplay, fact to fiction, starting to finishing – and they offer grants to help with course fees for those who need it. Generations of writers have been inspired by their experience at Arvon. Each year, over 40 of Arvon’s courses are with vulnerable groups and schools, from young people who have experienced bullying to adults recovering from an addiction. They also work closely with teachers to support their professional development. To ensure our doors stay open to all, they rely on donations from charitable trusts and individuals.

The Arvon at Home Writing Week: Comics and Graphic Novels course will tun from Monday 21st March 1:30pm  — Friday 25th March 6.30pm | Cost: £400 (concession: £200) | Book here on the Arvon Foundation web site

You can find more of Rachael Ball’s work at rachaelball.tumblr.com | Instagram | Twitter

• You can find more of Karrie Fransman’s work at www.karriefransman.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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