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Uncle Sam Graffiti

Put Ideas to Paper!

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Graphic Novel Workshop at the MAH

Open to All Santa Cruz County High School Students • Ages 13 -19


In this workshop we will take students through the basic steps of producing a graphic novel from story conception to finished product. Classes take place on Thursday and Friday for 4 weeks (8 sessions total). Each session will be 2.5 hours long — the first 1/2 hour will be dedicated to a talk by a “Guest Professional”. We will finish by displaying our novels on First Friday.

Class 1:
This day will be an intro into graphic novels. We’ll explore the basic building blocks needed to move ideas and concepts from story to paper. We will be showing students examples of  various types of graphic novels and talking about what makes a graphic novel successful. We will do a few warm-up exercises to get students comfortable with the medium and to meet other classmates. The class will also include a tour of the MAH for inspiration.

Class 2:
We’ll discuss the power of symbolism, writing strong characters, and plot resolution. We will discuss tricks like beginning at the end of your graphic novel plot and working backwards. Students will go home inspired to develop characters, put together a simple story line (more like a novella or short story) and start sketching ideas.

Class 3:
Students will spend time talking about their characters and story lines and will be given guidance on writing strong, crisp dialog and how to break everything into action panels. We’ll get into terms used professionally in publishing and comic book/graphic novel genres.

Class 4:
Using the appropriate tools, students begin blocking out pages, working out challenges like perspective and scale. Details are loose at this stage as students begin making design decisions such as what panel shapes work together, what colors work together and if each page composition is pleasing.

Class 5:
This work day teaches students to develop and draw storyboards —making sure individual panels have strong visuals that advance their story line and create a sense of action, place and time.  We will discuss book cover art and book titles.

Class 6:
In this class participants will begin to assemble their novels. Students learn how to “ink” their final pages as well as how to place final text into speech bubbles and chat panels. Students will also have the option to colorize their novels.

Class 7:
This will be a solid work day to get the students novels completed. We’ll discuss how graphic novels are typically published. We will define specific skills and education a professional writer, illustrator, or graphic designer might need.

Class 8 (First Friday):
We’ll end the workshop by presenting completed novels to each other and reviewing workshop highlights. There will be a "Meet the Authors" First Friday event when the MAH classroom will be open to the public to come see what the students have produced.


• Wendy Thompson - writer and teacher    • Dante Castaneda - graphic novel author

• Jerry Dozal - cartoonist and illustrator      • Athena Greenleaf - Character Artist


• Cost for workshop is $350.00 which includes a $20 entrance into the MAH

• All materials needed for workshop are included.


• We will be meeting for four weeks on Thursdays and Fridays

• February 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, March 3, 4  from 3:30pm - 6:00pm


The MAH - 705 Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz


• Deadline to sign up is February 8th, 2022
• Class size will be limited to 20 students
• will award two workshop scholarships to qualified students
• Finished novels will be documented as digital flip books and uploaded to

• 10% off for MAH members with MEMBERPERKS code



In 2021, the MAH installed an updated modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system with a high level of filtration and circulation, improving the safety and efficiency of their workshop space. All students and teachers will be required to be masked.



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Email any questions to or call 831.346.2650



"Great art picks up where nature ends."  -Marc Chagall

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