Manga, Superheroes and Fantasy Figures Artwork – Visual Storytelling through Comics and Graphic Novels

Visual Storytelling through Comics and Graphic Novels

Students explore visual storytelling techniques, including: Story development, page layout, perspective, camera angles, dramatic lighting, lettering and advanced inking techniques. Both instructor and student artwork are combined in this gallery.

PLEASE NOTE: Instructors David Witt and Bill Hauser head our Visual Storytelling through Comic and Graphic Novels Classes. They are two of the Twin Cities most respected illustrator and have been associated with the school for many years. Before they took the helm, Becky Grutzik and Matt Wendt steered our Drawing Manga, Superheroes and Fantasy Figure Classes, with Marc Johnson and Sam Petersen assisting.

Instructors Mick Kaufer and Lilliah Campagna, who head our Character Design and Development Classes, have been Art Academy students since they were teenagers. When you view their work you are seeing how skills develop through our programs. The same is true of guest instructor Eliza Baker, who began taking classes with us at age 12. Ruby Thompson, whose student work completes this Gallery, also worked at our school. When other students are showcased their ages are always listed.

From Concept to Finish

Learn to tell engaging stories in words and pictures. Begin with a pencil drawing and finish in ink or color.

Concept Drawing in Pencil

First creative ideas are documented in pencil, non-photo blue pencil, or red pencil.

Pen & Ink & Brush

It is important that comic-book and graphic novel artists develop pen, ink, and brush skills to create dynamic finished artwork.

Adding Color

More advanced students are encouraged to add color to their projects.

Student Progress -Lilliah Campagna

Lilliah started taking classes with us at age thirteen. Lilliah typically took two classes per week to improve her skills – one was our Teen Fundamentals class and the other was our Drawing Manga, Superheroes and Fantasy Figure class. Her commitment really paid off. This series of pictures follows her development through her early twenties. Today,  Lilliah is  an important member of our teaching staff.

Student Progress – Mick Kaufer

Mick began attending classes at The Art Academy when she was fifteen. She took two classes per week, investing a total of four weekly student hours to improve her skills. This sequence charts her development into her early twenties. Today, Mick is a vital member of our teaching staff.

Student Progress – Eliza Baker

Eliza, Lilliah Campagna's older sister, started taking classes with us at age twelve. Like Lilliah and Mick, Eliza also took two Art Academy classes per week. This sequence charts her development into her mid-twenties. Eliza has a great affection for Loki Laufeyjarson, the cunning trickster of Norse legend. You can see his impish mischievousness in Eliza's character designs. For years Eliza was on our teaching staff; now she is a Guest Instructor.

Student Progress – Ruby Thompson's 'Til Death

Ruby Thompson began taking classes at The Art Academy when she was nine years old. When she turned seventeen Ruby decided to take all that she had learned at our school and create her first graphic novel, which she self-published at age eighteen. 'Til Death tells the story of four folk tales from around the world. Each story is told in a distinctive visual style that pays tribute to its place of origin. It is a masterpiece of Ruby's high school years. Most significantly, Ruby did it without any of our input, as she wanted it to be a very personal work. In fact, she presented it to us as a surprise when she went off to college.

We were amazed; what an achievement!

Ruby's 'Til Death proves that learning traditional art skills is an ideal way to help kids develop technical and aesthetic abilities. Then they can take those skills and express themselves visually in very intimate ways.