Graphic Novel Your Life Summer School

From initial story idea to dummy sample for publishers in five days.

When, Where

On this intensive five-day course, running Monday 5 - Friday 9 August, you will go from initial story ideas to creating a dummy sample for submission to publishers.

This course is a springboard to creating a fantastic graphic novel and gaining the confidence to work independently in the future. The sample created by the end of the five-day course will include: a synopsis of your story, detailed character sheets, a rough script of your first chapter, a storyboard and a finished page of artwork.

This course caters for all abilities so don’t let your insecurities hold you back. Together we will find that inner graphic novelist! And for the more confident, we will sculpt and refine great ideas and visuals into their best possible outcome.

Rachael Ball is an acclaimed professional cartoonist with 16 years' teaching experience. She is uniquely placed to help others develop their very best work and realise their vision while also having lots of fun!

During the course you will:

  • Create brainstorms based on personal experiences, play with them and transform them into semi-fictional stories.
  • Learn how to apply page-turning plot techniques to your story.
  • Refine your scripts so they flow naturally.
  • Experiment with and find the right visual style and appropriate material for your graphic novel.
  • Learn how to create storyboards which will compel the reader.
  • Experiment with ‘shots’ and pleasing compositions.
  • Learn how to make a professional sample to send to publishers and gain advice on the best approach.
  • Receive both one-to-one and group feedback on your work.
  • Create an individual action plan so that you feel confident to develop your novel independently by the end of the course.

During the week of the course you will have access to House of Illustration’s exhibitions, including Posy Simmonds.

Please bring:

  • A 2B pencil
  • An eraser
  • A pencil sharpener
  • A ruler
  • A biro pen
  • An A3 sketchpad
  • A notebook
  • An A4 ringbinder with sleeves for keeping hand-outs and scrap imagery in order

An A3 portfolio is recommended

An A3 portfolio or plastic wallet to carry your artwork and art materials is recommended. 

Please feel free to also bring along any favourite materials such as pencil crayons, watercolours or pastels. All other materials supplied by House of Illustration.

About the tutor:

Rachael Ball is an acclaimed cartoonist who started out cartooning for cult comic Deadline in 1988. Her graphic novel, The Inflatable Woman (Bloomsbury), was a Guardian Best Graphic Novel 2015 and one of Paul Gravett’s Best of 2015. Her work has featured in the House of Illustration’s Comix Creatrix exhibition and the Cartoon Museum’s The Inking Woman exhibition. Her second Arts Council funded graphic novel was published by SelfMadeHero in October 2018.

She is currently working on her third graphic novel, The Patsy Papers and a children’s book, Little Pea and the Robot. She also co-coordinates the London branch of Laydeez Do Comics, a forum which promotes women in comics. Rachael has 16 years’ teaching experience and is represented by Kirsty Maclachlan (DGA).


"Rachael is a wonderful tutor. The class was well structured, engaging and pitched to all abilities."

"Before Rachael’s course class I thought creating a story was something a bit scary, too big for me to tackle. We stepped on the process really fluidly and reached a story without even realising it. The classes were well-structured thanks to the worksheets and regular breakdowns. I found her course inspiring and felt very supported every step of the way. It was great working with other students and sharing ideas. I really enjoyed the whole experience!"

Course dates:

Monday 5 - Friday 9 August 2019 from 10am-4pm


The price refers to the whole course, not to individual sessions.

For more information, please download the document below.


Tickets Price Number Total price
Total amount £0.00
Adult ticket with gift aid£440.00 £440.00
Adult ticket£400.00 £400.00

The price refers to the whole course, not to individual sessions.

- Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable. All tickets sales subject to our general terms and conditions.
- This ticket entitles you to gallery entry for the duration of your House of Illustration course.
Please note that your confirmation email may go to the email address associated with your Paypal account. If you do not receive a ticket confirmation, please contact

Gift Aid

The Gift Aid prices include a 10% voluntary Gift Aid donation. This enables us to claim an extra 25p in every pound, which makes a huge difference. Thank you!

You must be paying enough income tax and/or capital gains tax to cover the amount of tax that all charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs you donate to will reclaim for each tax year (6 April to 5 April). Council tax and VAT do not count. If you are not a UK taxpayer, please select non Gift Aid tickets.