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The Graphic Novel

Unleash your imagination and master new methods of self-expression via visual storytelling, live online under the expert guidance of RCA tutor Professor Andrzej Klimowski.

Key details

  • Regular fee: £1,200
  • Online

    8 sessions over 4 weeks

    10am – 2pm BST per session, with optional networking up to 30 min after each session

    Week 1:

    Monday 1 July

    Wednesday 3 July

    Week 2:

    Monday 8 July

    Wednesday 10 July

    Week 3:

    Monday 15 July

    Wednesday 17 July

    Week 4:

    Monday 22 July

    Tuesday 23 July

Human beings have a natural need for storytelling. Every day we may recall autobiographical incidents, reflect upon memories, gossip or simply chat. But it is much more difficult to create a narrative that can engage a wide audience. We soon become aware of the importance of form. A narrative needs structure; it has to be built. Composition, tone, colour, pacing and tempo are the things we have to engage with.

This course offers a starting point to build your story.

Led by Andrzej Klimowski, the Graphic Novel: Visual Storytelling offers a fresh approach to the subject. Aimed at releasing the imagination, this is an open opportunity for self-expression. The course is supported by celebrated RCA alumnus and illustrator Miguel Angel Valdivia.

Read on below to find out more about the course.

Above image: Seo Jung Yoon, The Graphic Novel 2023 participant

About the course

The course is aimed at students, practitioners and enthusiasts aged 21 years or above who wish to further their skills in creating picture-driven stories that can lead to the making of original graphic novels. It can also help those intending to embark on Master's-level studies or professionals seeking to discover alternative ways to expand their working methods. This includes but is not limited to:

  • illustration and graphic design students
  • recent graduates who wish to improve their illustration and writing skills
  • professionals working in illustration, visual communication and/or communication design
  • prospective RCA Illustration, Visual Communication and Writing students
  • anyone seeking an opportunity to experiment without professional constraint

At the end of this course you will have gained:

  • a deeper understanding of contemporary approaches to storytelling, visual narratives and illustration in the context of graphic novels
  • insights on the potential of location, characterisation, materiality and perception in the creation of visual narratives and graphic novels
  • confidence in creating your own illustration and visual narratives
  • skills to work in a range of settings from traditional to contemporary, from print to electronic, handmade or computer-generated.

Through a series of workshops, lectures, practical exercises and presentations you will:

  • experience the RCA model of 'learning by doing' in order to develop design and presentation techniques while building a portfolio
  • work with practitioners and educators to develop a critical, creative and insightful practice in a safe and nurturing environment in which to experiment
  • develop an enhanced notion of what a contemporary illustration practice can be
  • expand your skills and grow confidence in making your own graphic novel.

Post course, we may offer a 15-minute session per delegate with Professor Andrzej Klimowski and Miguel Angel Valdivia, where participants have an opportunity to get feedback on their work and discuss key take-outs from the course (optional).

This course is delivered online and is highly interactive, through live learning with self-directed work undertaken by participants between sessions.

The course will run over four weeks, with two x 4-hour sessions each week with optional networking after each session.

Week One

  • Introduction to the course and its aims and objectives
  • An illustrated lecture by Andrzej Klimowski
  • Students present their initial response to the workshop theme The Present Moment, in the form of sketches and drawings
  • Tutors comments.

Week Two

  • An illustrated lecture by guest speaker*
  • Second student presentation on Zoom and group critique

Week Three:

  • An illustrated lecture by guest speaker*
  • Third student presentation on Zoom
  • Group critique and discussion about Graphic Design, the dynamics of layout and the editing process

Week Four:

  • Final presentation and a discussion on how to further one’s work in a professional context.

*guest speakers to be announced soon

Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described course as circumstances dictate.

The course is organised in synchronous sessions in a live virtual environment that combines various digital platforms and tools.

Using the videoconferencing service Zoom, the RCA's esteemed academics and facilitators deliver a mix of:

  • live lectures
  • case studies
  • guided assessments
  • presentations

Participants interact with the faculty and peers in breakout rooms in real time.


Participants engage in cross-functional team work with the use of visual collaboration tools.

Through the online whiteboard platform Miro, participants get to:

  • interact with various formats and templates
  • plan and brainstorm ideas
  • create processes and workshop activities in the digital workspace.


The College's learning platform Moodle is personalised according to the course's requirements to provide participants with a secure integrated system where they can access the course content.

The hub hosts a range of useful resources to enable the learning experience, including comprehensive timetables, pre-reading materials, course slides, curated videos, tutorials and session recordings.


Participants stay connected and communicate via the channel-based messaging platform Slack throughout the whole duration of the course.

In this space, the academics, facilitators and delegates get to network, plan the course activities, share documents and files during the live sessions or offline.

  • A collection of original drawings
  • Illustration graphic novel publication (print and/or digital)

Each participant will receive a certificate of online attendance at the end of the course.

Participants must be 21 years or over.

It is preferable for delegates to have:

  • an undergraduate degree in design or a background in illustration
  • a basic understanding of typography
  • a good level of English language.

*Limited number of places up to 15–20 participants.


Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Short Courses team