Course Overview

Human beings have been drawing stories to live by long before they began writing them. This summer course for high school students recognizes the human storytelling capacity as one of our creative superpowers—simultaneously allowing each of us to figure ourselves out, while organizing what we know so we can grow. Keeping in mind the familiar saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” one form of telling stories is through a sequence of images, often in the form of a graphic novel, comic, or animation. The term “sequential art” refers to a unique form of visual storytelling that blends words and images deployed in a specific sequence in order to convey meaning or information.

This course is part of a series of online courses offered by Syracuse University Arts Education as a means for developing the next generation of creative leaders. Storytellers have always been artists and arts educators. This is why we paint ourselves in visual narratives, sing ourselves in lyric and verse, dramatize ourselves in the round, glorify ourselves in marble and stone, write ourselves into histories and her-stories, dance ourselves into states of oblivion, and dream ourselves through the night. This is why the stories that endure over generations aren’t just captured in spoken word but translated into works of art, poetry, songs, monuments, dance, and theatrical movement. These are the stories we will never forget!

Creative leaders develop an ability to tell stories that matter— influential stories, real and raw and 100%—about being human, growing in capacity, and busting through the obstacle course of everyday life. Whether through words, images, the spoken word, songs, or staged performances, creative leaders are willing to leap to the forefront—crafting their lived experiences and imaginative energies into stories, models, lessons, and positive influences for others to connect with, learn from, or adapt as their own. Students in this course will learn principles and strategies for effectively crafting their stories into the pages of a comic, graphic novel, or a comparable work of sequential art.

This course is part of Summer College Studio Art Academy, an enrichment and community-building program offered through Syracuse University’s School of Art, part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). 

Students enrolled in this course, as well as Art and Activism, Art and the Environment, Contemporary Technologies in Sculpture, Making Comics and Painting Studio will all meet virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-1:30 p.m. to take part in group discussions, artist lectures, live virtual field trips, and Open Studio hours.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Course Objectives

  • Introduce comics, graphic novels, and sequential art as a unique medium with roots in literature and visual arts
  • Establish a vocabulary and grammar for working in the medium of comics, graphic novels, and sequential art
  • Help construct an individual process of cartooning, rendering, and image-text making
  • Experiment with designing and publishing comics, graphic novels, and/or other forms of sequential art using various selected mediums, with outcomes ranging from publishing, to exhibition, to presenting as portfolio pieces for college applications

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 060

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2022 high school graduate. 

Credit: NC

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $3,585
  • Commuter: $2,730

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

“I also loved the culture of the campus. Everyone seemed to be so friendly and welcoming allowing me to feel at home for the 2 weeks that I stayed…My goal was to always go to college, but this experience made me more excited than ever. This was such an amazing experience to have as a young adult and I will most definitely keep this college in mind when applying.”

– Summer College – On Campus Student, 2018

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session III: Sunday, July 31 – Friday, Aug. 12, 20229 a.m.-4 p.m.NoncreditClosed
Students will break for lunch for approximately one hour. Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Technology Requirements

  • Laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and mouse
  • Reliable internet access
  • A space conducive to taking an online class (without distractions)

Textbook Requirements

Students should budget for required textbooks and/or supplies. A supply and textbook listing will be emailed to students before the start of the program.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to engage in class wholeheartedly, to maintain an open mind and welcome new ideas, and to be courageous in their exploration of self, relationships, and the world we live in.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Potential readings, assignments, and projects will include an introduction to: sequential art as the building of a meaningful sequence of images; visual literacy, as the building blocks of shared meaning; the tools of the trade for rendering bodies and facial expressions; composing practices, for effectively laying out a page and developing characters that keep you turning the page; participating in literature circles and virtual experience of shared conversations about effective sequential art; and world-building exercises on researching and creating a sense of place. Coursework will culminate in a series of virtual workshops and constructive critiques to offer helpful feedback on developing and refining final projects.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

End Event

An exhibition and presentation of final work during the last class meeting. Family is welcome to attend.

Faculty Bios

Alexa Kulinski

Alexa Kulinski is a second-year doctoral student in Teaching & Curriculum and Graduate Assistant in the Art Education department at Syracuse University. She received her B.F.A. in Art Education from Syracuse University in 2009 and her M.A. in Art Education from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2017. Storytelling and graphic novels have always been an integral aspect of Alexa’s teaching and artistic practices. During her tenure as a high school Visual Arts teacher, Alexa received numerous project grants in which Digital Media students created educational books that were then distributed to their community. In her doctoral work, Alexa explores the intersections of her artmaking, teaching, and scholarship practices.

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