Short answer: a place where we communicate with comics.
Whatever you call them: graphic novels / comics / words and pictures, they are a vibrant, rich way to communicate and that's what we do here. We help you tell your story. We read your story, we listen, we guide, we learn, we share.
We have a myriad of groups, free resources, paid workshops and classes and intensive programs to dive in more deeply.
Let's dive into our stories and our world through words and pictures!
Tom Hart, Executive Director and Head Instructor
Tom Hart is the New York Times bestselling author of Rosalie Lightning and the Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop. He was an early recipient of a Xeric Grant for self-publishing cartoonists, and has been on many best-of lists in the Comics Journal and other comix publications.
Tom has been called "one of the great underrated cartoonists of our time" by Eddie Campbell, and "one of my favorite cartoonists of the decade" by Scott McCloud.
Before founding SAW, Tom was a core instructor at the School of Visual Arts in NYC for 10 years. He has taught comix and sequential art at schools and institutions all around New York City for more than 10 years, and has conducted week-long workshops from Maine to Hawaii. He also teaches sequential art in the School of Art and Art History at UF. His former students include award-winning cartoonists like Dash Shaw, Sarah Glidden, Box Brown and Leslie Stein.
Tom teaches comics storytelling and practice in the Comics Certificate Program and Graphic Novel Intensive. His online courses include Comics for Writers, Storytelling Flow, Graphic Memoir, and Going in For the Snakes, a course about making visceral, powerful comics. His website is http://www.tomhart.net
Emma Jensen, Assistant Director and Instructor
Emma Jensen is an Australian comics artist, designer and educator based in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Masters in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing, including a major creative work in graphic form titled, What We Don't Speak Of. She has worked as a comics educator for various organizations and publishers in Australia and the United States. She publishes and exhibits comics regularly with her work most recently included in kus #37 Down Down Under and Ink Brick No 10.
Emma joins SAW as Assistant Director after coming to Gainesville for the year-long intensive program in 2018. She teaches in the Graphic Novel Intensive and the Comics Certificate Program, as well as coordinating all in person program
Her website is emmaleejensen.com.
Karlo Antunes, Communications Director
Karlo Antunes, or Karr, is a visual artist and editor based in Gainesville, Florida. He has been creating comics, illustrations, and self-publishing zines for over 5 years. He received his Bachelors in Creative Writing/Film and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2017. His love for cartoons and narrative images led him to a comics course at his university taught by Tom Hart, which later led Karlo to further his education in comics, illustration and animation at SAW and SVA. Karlo has experience in script editing, art/layout design editing and coloring, book compositing, and clean-up work for Julia Wertz on Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City and for Papercutz/NBM Graphic Novels on titles such as Nickelodeon's The Loud House, Monica Adventures, The Smurks, Geronimo Stilton and more. He is the founder and editor of an off-beat literary-art anthology called Bird Brained Zine Anthology, which he hopes will urge unconventional and underdog creators to keep creating.
Jess Ruliffson, Senior Instructor
Jess Ruliffson is an award-winning cartoonist. Her debut graphic novel, Invisible Wounds (Fantagraphics, 2022) collects stories of veterans in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In 2017 her comic I Trained to Fight the Enemy was shortlisted for Slate's Cartoonist Studio Prize. Her comics have appeared in Freeman's Tale of Two Americas, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Gainesville Sun, Buzzfeed, The Nib, The Boston Globe, Pantheon Books, Wilson Quarterly and The Oxford American. Check out Jess Ruliffson's Website.
Justine Mara Andersen, Senior Instructor
Justine Mara Andersen was mentored by and learned from top names in the industry, including such luminaries as P. Craig Russell (Elric, Sandman), Val Mayerik (Punisher, Conan), Frank Thorne (Red Sonja), John Workman, Jim Steranko and Jeffrey Catherine Jones, but struck out on her own to create her long-running series Mara, Celtic Shamaness for Fantagraphics as well as working as an inker and illustrator for DC Comics, Image Comics, Wizards of the Coast (D&D, etc.), Lucasfilms and other clients.
Justine teaches illustration, drawing and inking techniques. Her website is barefootjustine.com
Elizabeth Trembley, Senior Instructor
Elizabeth Trembley, Ph.D, is a Lamda Literary Award-winning mystery novelist (Whacked, pen name Josie Gordon), memoirist, and writing teacher of more than three decades. She trained in literature and innovation and creativity in places as diverse as the University of Chicago and Disney University. Through her classes, hundreds of students have drafted their first novels, explored digital storytelling, crafted political and personal essays, and reflected on their lives through memoir. In the early 2010s she turned her attention to comics, studying at the Sequential Artists Workshop and Center for Cartoon Studies before beginning to teach comics as well.
Beth teaches a twelve-week graphic memoir course, moderates the online Graphic Memoir + Medicine group, and guest teaches on story, technology and oganizational strategy in the Comics Certificate Program and Graphic Novel Intensive.
Sidney Davidson, Instructor
Sidney Davidson is an illustrator based in Gainesville, Florida. He has a BFA in Sequential Art and MFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. His editorial work has appeared in The Boston Globe, High Country News and The Iguana. Sidney has rigorously and analytically studied drawing, inking techniques and composition for over 12 years. He has a strategic, solution-oriented approach to drawing, illustration and storytelling challenges.
Sidney teaches drawing in the Comics Certificate program.
Rob Clough has been a critic, editor, and programming organizer for nearly twenty years in the world of comics. Beginning with Savant, he has written for Cicada, Your Chicken Enemy, Sequart, Foxing Quarterly, Poopsheet Foundation, Looper, The Comics Journal, SOLRAD, Study Group Magazine, and many others. He has been writing his own High-Low blog since 2009.
He was a juror for the Kukoc minicomics award, the Locher Award, and the Eisner Awards. He's been the programming director for the Small Press Expo (SPX) since 2016. He's also done programing for Autopic and Zine Machine and moderated panels at Cartooon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) and CAKE.
Rob has also written extensively about cancer, college basketball and funky music. He lives in Durham, NC with his kiddo and two cats. He teaches Hidden Histories in the Comics Certificate Program.
Ayanni Cooper, Instructor
Ayanni Cooper holds a PhD in English from the University of Florida where she specialized in comics and animation studies. Her research interests include monster theory; gender & sexuality; anime & manda; and science fiction & fantasy. Ayanni also co-hosts the podcast Sex. Love. Literature., which takes a semi-scholarly look at the "sex-stuff" in media matters.
Ayanni joins SAW as the instructor for Modern Comics Exploration in the Comics Certificate Program.
Lauren Weinstein, Instructor
Lauren Weinstein is a cartoonist and artist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Bookforum, Nautilus, and The Guardian, among many other outlets. For the past twenty years, her funny, beautiful, and bizarre comics and graphic novels have addressed universal human issues such as mortality, time, and most recently, motherhood. She teaches Finishing Decisions, a course on in using different media to make comics, in the Comics Certificate Program.
Hyena Hell, Instructor
Hyena Hell is a cartoonist, illustrator and sometimes-printmaker. Her comics have been published by Silver Sprocket, Tinto Press, Birdcage Bottom Books, and her own imprint, Horror Vacui Press. She joins SAW as an instructor in the Graphic Novel Intensive, a mentor in the Comics Certificate Program and short-course facilitator.
We also have a bunch of cartoonists who return each year to teach short-courses, mentor students in comics intensives and lead weekly workshops including Leela Corman, Derek Ballard, Matt Madden, Georgia Webber, Josh Bayer, Sarah Maloney and Jen Sandwich.
None of this woule be possible without the support of our generous volunteers who host community events in person and online every week! Jump in the Mighty Network to find the calendar!
Want to connect with even more artists? Each week we invite a different artist to host our Free Friday Night Comics workshop.
In 2011, acclaimed indie cartoonist, Tom Hart, founded SAW to help aspiring cartoonists from all background, identities and experience to make great comics.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit we educate emerging visual storytellers and foster a community that celebrates creative investigation, exploration and excellence in cartooning and comic art.
Over the last 10 years on and we've welcomed hundreds of people through our studio doors for our mix of day-long, week-long, and year-long programs, as well as visiting artist lectures, exhibitions and events.
Since 2016 that has included a host of online courses, intensives and workshops with Tom at the helm and featuring artists including Emily Flake, Derek Ballard, Leela Corman, Matt Madden, Mel Gillman, and Jess Ruliffson.
After taking on the We Believe in Comics Workshops in October 2021, SAW has hosted a different artist each week to share a free, family friendly workshop.
More than just a workshopping and community space, over the years we've gathered a unique library of comics that places mainstream adventure comics alongside alternative memoir, and Japanese Manga alongside silent western comics.
We invite our students to create the best learning experience for them. Whether its through our online programs, or supplementing virtual classes with our regular week-long workshops, or joining us here in Gainesville for a year. Join us today!