Visual Story Telling – Thinking and Making

Masterclass with Simon Grennan, 14 November 2018
 and invitation to Amsterdam Comics’ 2nd international conference
Drawing Yourself In and Out of It

15-17 November 2018
Free University Amsterdam

From 15-17 November 2018, Amsterdam Comics, in cooperation with NICA, CLUE+, VU, and ASCA, will organize its 2nd International comics conference, “Drawing Yourself In and Out of It.” Hosted at the Free University Amsterdam, the conference will bring together comics artists and scholars from around the world to discuss ongoing research on the topics of documentary comics, graphic medicine, and the poetics of the medium.

Keynote lectures will be given by world-renowned comics journalist Joe Sacco and documentary comics scholar Nina Mickwitz. Students and researchers participating in the masterclass will receive free entrance to all conference events.

Masterclass and Workshop with Dr. Simon Grennan:  14 November, 13:00-16:00 | Room BV-0H53, VU, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam

In conjunction with the conference, Amsterdam Comics and NICA will organize a masterclass and workshop focusing on visual story telling. In the masterclass, students will be introduced to the various terminology, definitions, and debates in the discourse and practice of visual storytelling. In the workshop, students will become familiar with comics scholarship and visual storytelling, and will be challenged to create visual stories of their own.

Existing drawing skills aren’t required: the workshop component is about making stories, not Rembrandts (although if anyone is a Rembrandt, that’s great)!

Please also note that all drawing materials will be provided. You are also welcome to bring your own, should you so choose.


13:00-13:30 Introduction to the masterclass, conference, assignment, and Dr. Grennan
13:30-14:30 Illustrated Introduction to Visual Storytelling
14:30-15:00 Activity 01 – “Who, What, Where, Why, How?” – individual work (30 minutes)
15:00-15:30 Activity 02 – “Story Jam” – collaborative work (30 minutes)

15:30-16:00 Closing remarks

To Apply:

Interested participants may apply for the masterclass by sending an email to NICA (nica-fgw @ by 15 October with the subject line: Visual Storytelling. The masterclass will be limited to 25 participants.


Students and researchers will earn 2 ECTS for their participation in the masterclass, attendance at the conference, and final paper reflection (1000 words on a keynote lecture or panel of their choice, due 23 November, 17:00, via email).

Dr. Simon Grennan is a scholar of visual narrative and graphic novelist. He is author of A Theory of Narrative Drawing (Palgrave Macmillan 2017), Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval (Book Works 2018) and Dispossession, a graphic adaptation of a novel by Anthony Trollope (Jonathan Cape and Les Impressions Nouvelles 2015 – one of The Guardian Books of the Year 2015)He is co-author, with Roger Sabin and Julian Waite, of Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist (Manchester University Press 2019), Marie Duval (Myriad 2018) and The Marie Duval Archive (, among others. Since 1990, he has been half of international artists team Grennan & Sperandio, producer of over forty comics and books. Dr. Grennan is Leading Research Fellow at the University of Chester and Principal Investigator for the two-year research project Marie Duval presents Ally Sloper: the female cartoonist and popular theatre in London 1869-85, funded by an AHRC Research Grant: Early Career (2014).


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