Visual Storytelling Seminar

In-person seminars suspended until further notice. See my 2022 webinars for other courses.

This course is for anyone who tells stories with pictures. We begin with the old wisdom about what makes a character interesting and a story worth telling, then we get into how to compose and arrange pictures to make a story emotionally powerful. Whether you are designing shots for a film, pages for a children’s book, or panels for a graphic novel, you have two problems: making the story clear, and bringing it to life. We will study how great masters of pictorial storytelling use their craft to move an audience’s emotions.

This course meets for multiple in-person sessions. If you want to study with me online, go to the PRODUCTS menu.


CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:  Types, Casting, Complexity & Transitions
STORY DEVELOPMENT:  Structure, Unity, Reversals, Tension & Timing
SHOT DESIGN:  Camera, Image, Shot Structure, Clarity & Impact

I taught this course over thirty semesters at Laguna College of Art & Design and fourteen semesters at Cal State Fullerton. I’ve also taught it to the cinematics team at Blizzard Entertainment. For you, this is a boiled-down version of the course. The sessions will be packed with instruction, so be prepared to learn.

The first sessions are a concentrated, foundational course on storytelling. The final sessions are a concentrated course in sequential shot design. I will explain some differences between various media, such as illustrated books, graphic novels, comic strips and films, but I will emphasize the fundamental discipline behind them all: telling the story with pictures, not words.


Bring a sketchpad and a mechanical pencil or pen or some other non-messy point media. No charcoal or dusty media or anything that leaves shavings.


This is not a university curriculum course and you will not receive college credit for it.