Category: Cartoon Library Classes

Two Summer Workshops! Mini-Comics and Hand-lettering & Typography!

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is thrilled to announce two FREE summer workshops! It has been our pleasure to have cartoonist and Savannah College of Art and Design Professor David Allan Duncan with us for his practicum, and we hope that you’ll join us for the two great events he will be leading for us this month:


How to Make Mini-Comics: A Little Fun

Sunday, August 3rd
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – Will Eisner Seminar Room – 2nd floor


Cartoonist and SCAD professor David Allan Duncan leads students through the process of drawing, producing, and distributing mini-comics! Learn about the the planning, storytelling, and drawing that goes into making a mini-comic. Create a mini-comic and a sketchbook during the workshop. Materials provided, so come join the fun!
Youth Ages 8 and Up Welcome!

BONUS: This workshop is being held on the closing day of our current exhibits: Exploring Calvin & Hobbes and The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective.  Feel free to drop your kids off for the workshop while you explore the galleries!

Seating is limited, so contact to sign up today!
For more information about The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, visit:
Questions? 614-292-1134

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Hand-Lettering and Typography for Comics

Tuesday, August 12th
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – Will Eisner Seminar Room – 2nd floor


Cartoonist and SCAD professor David Allan Duncan presents the process of hand-lettering comics! Sick of ugly digital lettering or cruddy handwriting? Good hand-lettering is a sign of professionalism–ask any comics editor. Explore comics lettering techniques and materials in this hands-on workshop. Learn simple tips and tricks for dialog balloons, inflection, sound effects, display lettering, and incorporating typography into your comics. Materials provided. This workshop is intended for ages 16 up.

Seating is limited, so contact to sign up today!
For more information about The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, visit:
Questions? 614-292-1134


David Allan Duncan (who goes by Duncan) has been teaching drawing, sequential art, and comics history since 2003. He began his teaching career at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He now serves as a full-time professor of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He is from Alabama but lives in Savannah, GA with his lovely bride Kristie and their son Oliver. He can be found at conventions and conferences around the country doing comics workshops, giving academic papers, and hocking his mini-comics.

Both workshops will also be supervised by Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum staff members Marilyn Scott and Caitlin McGurk

Cartooning Master Class and Lecture with Stephen R. Bissette!


Stephen R. Bissette's "Swamp Thing" - The Comics Journal - 1984

7pm, Monday April 28th, 2014
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – Will Eisner Seminar Room, Second Floor
General Public – $15
OSU Students – $10 (with Buck ID present)
Registration –

We’re thrilled to announce an additional event to Stephen R. Bissette’s April visit to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – a cartooning master class! Seating is limited to 30, so sign up now! Not a cartoonist? Join in anyway- sit back and take notes as the master works his craft.

Stephen R. Bissette will present a chalk-talk and drawing demo on the basics of drawing dinosaurs, monsters, and zombies. Three primal forms—saurian, non-human creature, and skeletal human forms—will be presented and worked through in a step-by-step fashion, including tips on creating your own variations on traditional tropes.

Please provide your own supplies.


STEPHEN R. BISSETTE: Swamp Thing and the Birth, Life, and Death of the 
Comics Code Authority

7pm, Tuesday April 29th, 2014

Wexner Film/Video Theater

Veteran comics artist, writer, editor, publisher, and Center for Cartoon Studies instructor Stephen R. Bissette is perhaps best known for his landmark collaboration with writer Alan Moore and artists John Totleben and Rick Veitch on DC Comics’ Saga of the Swamp Thing (1983–87). Many credit that run as a catalyst to the demise of the Comics Code Authority (1954–2011), the mainstream comics industry’s self-regulatory institution formed in response to social, commercial, and Congressional pressure after the spring 1954 publication of Seduction of the Innocent by psychologist Dr. Fredric Wertham. On this 60th anniversary of Wertham’s book and the Comics Code’s initiation, Bissette reflects upon the controversy, launch, and impact of the Code and its eventual dismantling.

For more information visit:
Visit the Facebook page for this event here:

Co-sponsored by the Wexner Center for the Arts and The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Additionally, we are thrilled to be making this announcement during the ongoing Will Eisner celebration this March, held annually in association with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the fighters of free speech in comics.

Comics Classes at OSU!

In the wake of the incredible 2013 Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art, we’ve had nothing but endless good things coming our way, with lots of exciting news to announce soon!

First, a huge thank you again to everyone who attended the Festival- we only look forward to continuing to serve and expand the comics community with engaging programming and powerful exhibits. An additional thanks goes out to our friends at the The Wexner Center for the Arts and Jared Gardner for making this all possible, to all of our generous donors!

If you haven’t checked them out yet, you can see images from the Festival on our Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Facebook Page.

We’re also happy to announce TWO fabulous new OSU courses on comics that will be taught in the Will Eisner Seminar Room at the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in the new year! If you’re an OSU student and happen to be reading this, there is still a small number of spaces available in these classes so be sure to sign up soon! More info below:


English 2275: Pictures That Tick – Difficult History in Comics
Ben Owen
Spring 2014

Over the last three decades, a number of comics creators have used the lowly status of the comic book to their own advantage. By drawing true-life events in a medium that has no standing or credibility to claim the truth, they have been able to pose profound and urgent questions about how memory and history operate. Turning the gleeful taboo-trouncing of the underground comix movement to autobiographical and historical subjects, these artists have rendered shockingly visible bodies, acts, and histories that have otherwise remained hidden and untellable. The best artists working in comics right now tackle our skepticism towards comics—and towards drawn images generally—head on, posing a set of fascinating and bizarre questions, such as:

  • How do you tell a story from Auschwitz using funny animals?
  • Why draw war journalism when the war will be over long before you’ve finished drawing?
  • What color is your father’s death?

In this class we will seek to understand the varied and formally inventive answers artists have provided to those questions, and more importantly how those answers make us rethink not only artistic form, but also the ways in which we come to know history. New histories demand new forms for telling history, and the works we will look at in this class demonstrate a wide range of experiments in telling.

We will look at prominent works of comics autobiography, journalism, and history by creators such as Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Marjane Satrapi, Joe Sacco, Alan Moore, Lynda Barry and Neil Gaiman as well as lesser-known but influential work by Carol Tyler, Justin Green, and Phoebe Gloeckner. Our class discussions will touch on child abuse, survivor’s guilt, queer archives, the breakup of Yugoslavia, Jack the Ripper, September 11, the Iranian revolution, and scary puppets. Looking at these topics will necessarily lead to discussions of memory, justice, morality, the philosophy of history, and the ethics of aesthetic representation.


English 5194: Comics & Time
Jared Gardner
Spring 2014

Time, history and memory is the dominant obsession of graphic narrative. For more than a century–and even before Einstein articulated his challenge to Newtonian time–comics have been exploring alternate models of time and multiple models for imagining it, navigating it, and  narrating it. This course will focus on late 20th- and early 21st- century graphic narratives that explore time as a central problem. This seminar is open to graduate and upper-level graduate students.


…Well, I know what classes I’ll be auditing this Spring!

Happy Fourth of July from the Cartoon Library!

Wishing you a happy and hilarious Fourth of July, however you decide to celebrate it.  From all of us at the Cartoon Library with the help of Arnold Roth!

Detail from Arnold Roth original art, "Nostalgia is Goodstalgia", 1970. From the Arnold Roth Deposit Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Detail from Arnold Roth original art, “Nostalgia is Goodstalgia”, 1970. From the Arnold Roth Deposit Collection. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Teaching in the Cartoon Library: Digital Photography 2555

Shortly after our Artists’ Book Open House this February, we were thrilled to be contacted by lecturer Kristen Spickard in the art department about bringing her students into the Cartoon Library for a zine-making assignment.

Kristen’s class is the very first Intro to Digital Photography class that we’ve hosted here, and for their final project she wanted the students to create their own zine on any topic of their choice, so long as they incorporated photography into the piece. In order to gain some inspiration and learn more about binding techniques, the students came in to the Cartoon Library for two hours for a lecture on the history of zine and mini-comics making, and a show-and-tell of some of our incredibly unique items in The Dylan Williams Collection.

These 25 students of varying majors and ages were entirely new to the zine format and culture when coming in to the class, and each left with a thorough understanding of the spectrum of shapes, sizes, and subject matters that a self-published piece can take on.

On the last day of classes, I was invited to come to ART 2555’s Zine Release Party, where the students were trading their own finished publications, and swapping stories of how they were made. The results were amazing! No two students final projects were alike, and the topics ranged from personal pieces to instructional pamphlets, each incorporating digital photography into the theme.

There were accordion-style photo zines:

Food zines (food included)!
FoodZinesZines about traveling and new homes:
TravelingZinesZines on faith:faithzineZines of passion:PassionZines…and one student even hand-made their own paper for their zine!

At the Zine Release Party, the students were kind enough to gift us a copy of each of their final project zines, to be donated to The Dylan Williams Collection, from which their inspiration came!
Thank you, ART 2555!

For information about bringing your class into the Cartoon Library, please contact us at

Girl Scouts of the USA in the Cartoon Library (Photoset)

Junior Girl Scouts of the USA (4th and 5th graders) Gables Elementary Troop 1320 visited the Cartoon Library yesterday afternoon to learn about comics, self-publishing, and to earn their Drawing Badge! We love the Girl Scouts, and some of you may remember our work with Troop 1214 for their Cadette Comic Artist Badge this summer.

Girl Scout troop 1320 Gables Elementary

These fabulous girls arrived at the Cartoon Library yesterday, equipped with pencils, paper, scissors and more ideas than they could get down on the page during our one-hour session. We went over an abridged history of women in comics, and then took a look at some great works by female cartoonists including Megan Kelso, Tarpe Mills, Raina Telgemeier, Vera Brosgol, Colleen Coover, Sara Varon and many more.

The girls were also given a selection of items to study from The Dylan Williams Collection; all hand-made, uniquely bound, self-published and widely varying formats of mini-comics. We figured out how each one was made, and explored the beauty of re-purposing materials for your artwork (floss! potato stamps! cereal boxes! cigarette cartons! and more), and took some time to read our favorites.

They went wild over the potential that self-publishing holds, making this session another of many that drove home the importance of collecting and archiving self-published and small press works. These items are often the most inspirational–especially to youths–by their ability to capture the possibility, accessibility, and fun in DIY projects. Kids are empowered by the freedom that self-publishing offers, are unintimidated by the comics and cartoon format, and always attracted to the craftiness of hand-binding. Here at the Cartoon Library, we are finding boundless benefits from starting this collection of mini-comics, and strongly encourage other libraries to do the same.

Troop 1320 handles, reads, and discusses self-publishing formats and styles

Teeny-tiny magnifying glass inside of Catherine Peach’s “Unicromonicon” offers much delight

Critiquing the finer points of alternative comics


Reading a Melissa Mendes story from the “KIDS” anthology

Let the cartooning begin! After studying and sharing these works with each other, the girls then set out to make their own comics. Some stuck to the one-sheet-workshop format and others pushed their pieces to a whole new level, folding folds where folds have never been folded before! Some made multiple finished booklets, others took time to detail 9 panels onto each 2 3/4 x 4 1/4 page.

The girls get to work, amid their influences

Cartooning is serious business to Troop 1320

Troop 1320 trade ideas in the bullpen

Mary Grace shows off her character between giggles: THE STARING MAN!

Thanks for visiting, Troop 1320!

Junior Drawing Badge, earned by 9 future cartoonistas at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

For information about starting a small-press collection at your library, or bringing a Girl Scout troop into our library, please contact Caitlin McGurk at

Teaching in the Cartoon Library: Comics and American Culture

On April 26th, the Cartoon Library had the pleasure of hosting Ben Owen’s English 367.01: Language, Identity and Culture in the U.S. Experience, a second-year composition class that Owen structured around the study of comics. Throughout the course, students look at a wide variety of comics (from Shaun Tan’s The Arrival to selected pieces from the What Things Do website) to learn how to think and write about the medium analytically, as well as gaining an understanding of visual rhetoric.

The specific assignment that brought Ben Owen’s class into the Cartoon Library was on comics and social diversity in the United States- using the comics medium to understand the pluralistic nature of race, gender, class, ethnicity and religion, and how their own attitudes are shaped by these aspects of American society. To do so, students were instructed to use our multiple Cartoon Library search tools to find cartoon and comics work related to a topic that interests them within the American experience, with a chance to study them in person. They then had to do a 5-minute presentation in pecha kucha style to make a compelling argument about why their topic is important and how it can be understood through comics.

The results were fascinating, and students presented on everything from medicine to religion, World War II, Hurricane Katrina, and more. Curator Jenny Robb and I were lucky enough to be able to view some of the final presentations on May 24th, pictures of which can be seen below:

One student presented on Religion and Comics, opening his presentation with the religious themes in Jack Kirby's Captain America, and Siegel and Shuster's Superman

Student Nelson Ballard gave a 5 minute history of his life, and his experiences throughout America that led him to study medicine at OSU. Supported by the illustrations of Charles Bragg.

An excellent closing slide from a student presentation on Comics and World War II

We love having classes of any discipline visit the Cartoon Library, both from OSU and beyond! Professors, if you’re interested in doing a session with us, please contact with your schedule and subject matter.

Teaching in the Cartoon Library

During the winter quarter this year at OSU, we had the pleasure of hosting 9 classes from a variety of disciplines at the Cartoon Library. Each class was interested in exploring the significance and potential of comics and cartoons within the scope of their subject.

Curator Jenny Robb talking about editorial cartoons to Professor Soland's History 398: Introduction to Historical Thoughts & Methods

Among these classes were Prof. Ben Owen’s English 110: First Year English Composition; Prof. Suzanne Silver’s Art 470: Intermediate Drawing and Art 670: Advanced Drawing; Prof. Barry Shank’s Pop Culture Studies; Prof. Caitlin Stokes’ Art 205; Prof. Soland’s History 398: Introduction to Historical Thought and Methods;  Prof. Christine Ballengee Morris’ Art Education 367.01: Ethnic Arts, and Nicholas Hetrick’s World Literature class from Wellington High School.  Several of these classes also used our materials for specific assignments.

English 110.02: First-Year English Composition – Comics and Culture 

As a first-level composition course, the focus of Professor Owen’s class is on academic writing and revision. An introduction class that many of us are very familiar with from undergraduate studies, but with a unique spin on it: the focus is entirely on comics. The class explored everything from newspaper strips to web comics, graphic novels to avant-garde anthologies.

In Prof. Owen’s syllabus, he explains: “The medium of comics is one of clarity and compression—conveying the largest amount of information in the smallest space possible. When done well, a comic can convey a world of ideas without the reader even noticing.” … “The principle of analysis is that you can find out the most about an object by looking carefully at its individual parts and examining how those parts work together. Comics make for a particularly rewarding subject in this regard, because behind their deceptively simple, apparently kid-friendly surfaces, we can find out a great deal about the secrets of space, time, life, art, the universe, and everything. Moreover, at a time when culture is increasingly visual, and the basis of literacy has more and more to do with understanding how to present information spatially, comics offer sophisticated models for thinking and writing in space.”

During English 110’s trip to the Cartoon Library, they took a look at materials ranging from Kramer’s Ergot 7 to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. Having read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics in class, their goal was to analyze one of the pieces pulled for them in the Cartoon Library in the context of one of McCloud’s theories about the medium, such as how the gutter is the defining feature of comics, how time works on a page, identification through simplification of ideas, etc. The end result is a two-page paper that looks at how the cartoonist uses the tools of the comics format to convey his or her message, and whether or not McCloud’s claims apply.  Students can either agree with McCloud and use the comic they selected as a primary source and Understanding Comics as their evidence, or disagree with McCloud, using Understanding Comics as their primary source and the comic as their evidence.  The purpose of Prof. Owen’s field trip and assignment is to get his students to look at a unique medium and position themselves in an academic debate on the subject.


Art 470 & 670: Intermediate & Advanced Drawing – Narrative, Art & Language

Professor Suzzane Silver brought both her Intermediate Drawing and Advanced Drawing classes to the Cartoon Library to take a look at language and narrative in comics. Most of the students were brand new to the medium, and became exposed to originals of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, Andrei Molotiu’s Abstract Comics anthology, Lynd Ward’s woodcut novels, the work of Kevin Huizenga, originals from Walt Kelly’s Pogo, and much more.

In the syllabus for Prof. Silver’s class trip to the Cartoon Library, she asks the students to “Create a series of drawings involving a form of narrative or anti-narrative. What is the relationship of narrative to the structure of the page? Is the structure sustained or subverted?”  The students took a particular interest in the Abstract Comics anthology, and the concept of using nonrepresentational shapes on a page in a way that presents a story arc, without any formal narrative in play. Their assignment included researching and presenting about an artist from a list provided by Prof. Silver including Henry Darger, Raymond Pettibon, Duchamp, Art Spiegelman.

If you are a professor and would like to bring your class into the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, we would love to have you–no matter the discipline! We are constantly finding new and exciting ways to connect comics and cartoon art to nearly every subject matter. We ask that you give us a minimum of one month advance notice to arrange a class visit or library tour, in order to make it the best possible experience for you and your students.  Contact us at and include the course name and number, your goals or objectives for the visit, the number of students and your preferred date or dates.  If you are interested in viewing specific materials, use our Search Tools to locate the object title, creator, and finding number or consult with a library staff member.