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Above drawings and handlettering
by Vanessa Davis and Trevor Alixopulos

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from Tom Hart's students in New York City

Tom created a teaching environment that fostered open discussion, unbiased attitudes and a love for understanding how comics work and the kind of work we wanted to make.
-Jess Fink

You make comic stories, story telling so exciting and fun. I know I came to you with a crazy idea of writing a story. I don't think I'd have embarked on such an ambitious journey without your enthusiasm, boundless optimism, and most importantly, a belief in the story.
-Anna Kim

The way Tom teaches just electrifies my passion for making comics to an extent that I don't often experience.
-Hillary Allison

Tom’s approach to education and guidance offers sensitivity and candor in equal measure. He offers technical insight across genre boundaries, adapting his criteria to each student’s goals and aesthetic preferences.
- Dan Strauss

Tom picked me up from my rut, showed me what potential I had as an illustrator, and kicked my self-doubt’s ass six ways till sunday.
- Carlos Abdu

If you’re having a problem with your art or story, rather than spouting out answers at you, he’ll try to talk you through it and eventually draw a solution from you. This teaching style helped boost my artistic confidence and problem solving.
- Jon Mosley

Tom is a magical teacher and all-around great guy. He did not just help my brain understand how to create a good comic, but also opened my eyes to tons of great cartoonists, provided advice outside of class time, helped me find a thesis advisor, lent me fantastic books, etc. (the list goes on).
-Jess Worby

About Us

Where Is SAW?
Our physical address is 18 SE 5th Ave at Main Street in Gainesville, FL. Behind the Citizen's Co-Op and The CMC. Our mailing address is different, see the bottom of this page.

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Mission Statement

The Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW)'s mission is to nurture and educate tomorrow's generation of visual storytellers, to support creative investigation, exploration and excellence in cartooning and comic art, and to promote literacy in sequential and comic art in today’s culture.

Through its school(s), SAW's goal is to provide quality education to students dedicated to challenging themselves and learning interdisciplinary visual storytelling. Where its school(s) are located, SAW aims to educate and promote comics literacy in our local community(s).

In addition, we aim to provide work spaces, teaching residencies and distribution/publishing resources for practicing sequential artists.

Finally, through its national outreach program dedicated to publishing and promoting curious, intelligent, and visionary works we aim to integrate sequential art and artists into the broader cultural landscape.

Vision Statement

We believe that artists aren't made by accident, and that to become an artist requires a study of history, culture and technique as well as personal engagement with active practitioners. We are dedicated learning through structured curricula and personal mentorship.

We believe that comics/sequential art has become one of the most dominant art forms in our culture and recognize that the integration of words and imagery is essential to nearly every advertisement, and is a part of the process of every film, video and video game you see. The sequence of ideas is at the heart of every dramatic and persuasive art. Thus, we offer a core grasp of comics/sequential art will allow a person to navigate our complex media world, to participate in it where desirable, and to decode it where necessary. We do not teach a style, we teach the principles of a unique and flexible storytelling language that students can continue to explore and develop for the rest of their lives.

We believe that education should be affordable and also experiential, and thus have settled in Gainesville, Florida, where students can find movies, bookstores, theaters, rock shows, cheap food and housing, sunny days, bike paths, egrets, lizards, free yoga at the library, free lunches on the UF campus, organizations and ad hoc sub communities within communities. It's a welcoming place that rewards initiative and engagement. In addition, we mandate field trips and require on-site drawing, writing and sketching practices.

We believe that teaching and learning are inextricably linked and community-building endeavors promotes universal good will, and as such students are encouraged to teach at least one workshop at a local public school, library or community center.

We believe that a fully-rounded artist is capable of appreciating and understanding a variety of art forms, we feature small workshops/lectures in other applied arts. From watercolor to music to clay to the theater arts, we seek to expose the student to as much of the artistic world as possible, and to help them form a personal understanding of the interdisciplinary value of all creative art and storytelling.


What is this?
Isn't this just like CCS?
Why Gainesville?
Sequential Art? What are you talking about?
What about manga?
Who is this for?
Who are you people?
Is this an accredited program?
Are donations tax-deductible?

Additional enrollment questions? Go here.

What is this?
It is a school with a space for workshops, gallery shows and performances. Plus ideally a space for working artists to come get away for a couple of weeks to work in a peaceful environment. Also a promotional/publishing arm. See the mission statement.

Isn't this just like CCS?
Yes, a little, and maybe no. James Sturm, who founded Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) has done a great thing in White River Junction, VT and we are in constant awe of his gumption and smarts. James has been friendly with us and he has helped us enormously by offering advice in the forming of this school. We too offer an intensive program in comic art, and will require students to publish their own work at the end of the program. Our school is new and we don't know how it will evolve. Right now, our program is one year, is not an MFA program and is much more low-fi. Our focus is on you, the artist. We work to train you to discover your best practices and habits, pushing you to develop your voice and your talents and turning you into a thriving cartoonist.

Why Gainesville?
In Gainesville students can find movies, bookstores, theaters, rock shows, cheap food and housing, sunny days, bike paths, egrets, lizards, free yoga at the library, free lunches on the University of Florida campus, midnight soccer, organizations and ad hoc sub communities within communities. It's a welcoming DIY place that rewards initiative and engagement. The University (UF) has a long-standing academic comics convention/symposium which has flown in such luminaries as Eddie Campbell, Dan Clowes and Kim Deitch. There are also a large number of academic scholars at the University dedicated to study of sequential art and these people, who have done historical research and investigated the mechanisms of comics in unique ways. The town is vibrant with a lot of culture, including an art museum, a museum of natural history, an arthouse movie theater, good bookstores, great libraries, a renegade video store, an alternative avant garde film festival, and great punk-pizza place/junk and toy shop and much much more. Plus, we like sun. And sunshowers. And waterfowl and Spanish moss and sinkholes and skateboarders and artists and swimming and coffee and pizza and lizards, etc.

Click here for more about Gainesville

"Sequential Art"? What are you talking about?
Sequential art, comics, comix, graphic novels, manga, bandes dessinees, fumetti, cartooning, strips, funny papers- whatever you want to call it, yes it's the same thing: words and still pictures in combination to form narrative. Following Will Eisner's lead, we like Sequential Art, which loses the humorous connotation of "comics" and the movement connotation of "cartoon" (and yes, we know the origin of the word "cartoon") and ultimately it sounds to us more like what it is.

What about manga?
Manga is such a pervasive force that we see a lot of students who have spent most of their time mastering the tics and behaviors of the most popular Japanese comics. In our teen programs, we will encourage the students to see these mannerisms more clearly, and to allow them more control and more options. In our single-year program, we will go further by emphasizing a breaking down of learned mannerisms (this is true of any over-stylized system of creating) towards finding their own personal mode of storytelling. From there, most students report a sort of breakthrough where they begin to understand their own ideas and tendencies better, and as such begin to settle on deeper and more personal methods, techniques and styles. An attentive student can now go back to a popular manga style if they see fit, though most expand on their new found inventiveness and independence.

Who is this for?
You could be: 1) College-age and wanting to focus on art before springboarding into a full-fledged BFA. 2) An aritstic adult who has dabbled in comics and wants to study and practice the form more. 3) Frustrated with your current schooling and want to study comics in a more intensive, inspiring and free environment. 4) Post-college adult looking to continue their education or pick up study they missed. 5) An established creator stuck and needing to push their work to the next level. 6) Any combination or variation on the above. SAW is a school for differing personalities and artists temperaments. We strive to find the stories and art inside you that are trying to come out. We have taught comics to art students, english teachers, truck drivers, museum guards, fine arts students, scriptwriters, graphic designers (lots of those), etc. In short, if you have passion and dedication to learning sequential art, then the SAW single-year intensive is for you.

Who Are You People?
We are cartoonists and artists with decades of experience, grants, awards and award nominations, thousands of published pages and years of teaching experience. Tom Hart taught at School of Visual Arts, "The Harvard of Cartooning" for 10 years and was a favorite teacher among his students. Leela Corman has had an extensive illustration career and her major graphic novel, Unterzkahn, was published to rave reviews from Shocken/Pantheon in 2012. Just about every one of our teachers also teaches at the University of Florida. Read about other teachers on the About Us page.

Is this an accredited program?
Our short term goals do not involve seeking accreditation, a process that can take up to 7 years. An unaccredited MFA may be in the future, but we are still investigating this. Another option we will be investigating is a partnership with the a local college in some manner, perhaps offering BFA credits, but right now our MFA-quality program is a program without accreditation. For more on this, see the Executive Director's statement.

Are my donations tax-deductible?
Yes. The Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of The Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Additional enrollment questions? Go here.




Join our mailing list
Email Address

-Calendar of classes and events
-Download our brochure (PDF)
-Browse our library
-YouTube Channel

News and upcoming classes:

Single Session Intro to Comics Workshop, Sunday August 26, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
It's All in the Details Single Session Workshop, Sunday September 9, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Professional Inking and Drawing Techniques with Justine Mara Andersen, 6 Wednesdays, Sept 12 - October 17.
Graphic Novel Memoir Class, 7 Tuesdays, September 11 - October 23 with Tom Hart

Teen Classes at The Doris Center on Saturdays with Sally Cantirino

ArtWalk Events and Book release parties:

August - Faculty and Student show. We'll show some of the best adult work from our first 7 months of classes, plus show off our faculty some.

View our events and class calendar here



Our Faculty

Tom Hart
Founder and Executive Director

Tom Hart

Tom Hart is the creator of the Hutch Owen series of graphic novels and books, and has been a core instructor at New York City's School of Visual Arts for 10 years, teaching cartooning to undergraduates,working adults and teens alike. Among his students were Dash Shaw, Sarah Glidden Box Brown and other published cartoonists like Leslie Stein, Jessica Fink, Nicole Virella, Tintin Pantoja, Yali Lin, Josh Bayer, Brendan Leach and many others. His own work has been nominated for all the major industry awards; his The Collected Hutch Owen was nominated for best graphic novel in 2000. 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. He 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. His daily Hutch Owen comic strip ran for 2 years in newspapers in New York and Boston, and his "Ali's House", co-created with Margo Dabaie was picked up by King Features Syndicate. He has taught comix and sequential art at schools and institutions all around New York City for 10 years, and has conducted week-long workshops from Maine to Hawaii. In addition to constant comix practice and work, he has studied drama, acting and improvisation in New York and sees creating the Sequential Artists Workshop as the next step of his teaching and learning career. His next book will be Daddy Lightning, in March 2012 from Retrofit, and Let's Get Furious, a 380-page new Hutch Owen collection, also in March 2012, from Top Shelf.

Tom Hart's website
Mid-career critical analysis in The Comics Journal
Student Testimonials

photo by Seth Kushner


Justine Mara Andersen

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.

See more of her work here:


Leela Corman
Leela Corman

Leela Corman studied painting, printmaking and illustration at Massachuesettes College of Art and is the author of three graphic novels. Her newest book t Unterzakhn, published by Schocken/Pantheon, has garnerd rave reviews in The New York Times, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and other places. Her first, Queen's Day earned her a Xeric Award in 1999 and was called "Music to my eyes" by Scott McCloud. In her successful illustration career, she has illustrated books for major publishers on crafts, fashion, gardening, dating and other topics. She is also an accomplished bellydancer and bellydance instructor. Her website is


Carrie Guss
Carrie Guss

Writing teacher Carrie Guss currently teaches undergraduate creative writing at the University of Florida, and is finishing up her MFA in Fiction. She has a degree in Politics and Media Studies from Pomona College, where she studied creative nonfiction under David Foster Wallace. She is working on a collection of short stories.

She also has an IMDB page for her role as "Zombie Queen" in 2009's The Hell Patrol.

Carrie Guss' website


Dan Stepp
Dan Stepp

Daniel Stepp received his M.F.A. in painting from the New York Academy of Art.

He has exhibited in Florida, New York, Canada, and around the U.S. His paintings have been described as American genre. Subjects that his paintings explore are: tools and technology, gender roles in labor, corporate branding, and the transference of myth and archetype onto genre activities.

His comic-book series, Humungous Man, humorously playing with myth and archetype, was published by Alternative Comics from 1995-1997.

Interview with Dan Stepp
Dan Stepp's website


Supporting and visiting faculty to be announced.

Copyright © 2012 The Sequential Artists Workshop Inc.
Contact us at thesaw @

(352) 234-6729
Postal address: PO Box 13077, Gainesville, FL 32604
Shipping address for books, donations, etc: 435 S. Main St, Suite 2, Gainesville, FL, 32601

Find us in Gainesville on the corner of SE 5th Ave and S. Main St. behind the Citizen's Co-Op and the Civic Media Center