Online Course: Graphic Novel Your Life

Turn your life experiences into a graphic novel over 10 weeks with Rachael Ball.

When, Where

  • Zoom


Learn how to create a page-turning graphic novel based on your own life experiences over 10 weeks on Zoom with graphic novelist Rachael Ball.

You’ll learn how to create rounded characters with clear goals, natural dialogue and believable storylines. You’ll experiment with visual metaphor, story pace, composition and comic page layout to tell those stories.

By the end of this structured and inspiring course, you will have created story and character brainstorms, key character sheets, scripted pages, a compelling plot, a well-composed storyboard, experiments, a synopsis and a finished page of artwork.

You’ll also gain inspiration from a range of other graphic novels, including Rachael’s own, The Inflatable Woman and Wolf.

During the course, you will:

  • Brainstorm ideas based on personal experiences, then play with them to transform them into semi-fictional stories.
  • Write and refine your scripts so they flow naturally.
  • Apply page-turning plot techniques to your story.
  • Find the right visual style and appropriate material for your graphic novel.
  • Create compelling storyboards, experimenting with ‘shots’ and pleasing compositions.
  • Create an individual action plan so that you feel confident to develop your novel independently by the end of the course.
  • Learn how to make a professional sample to send to publishers and gain advice on the best way to approach them.
  • Receive individual and group feedback on your work.
  • Get creative and have fun in a supportive environment.

How the course works:

  • Live online classes will take place on Tuesday evenings and include real-time exercises, tutorials, demonstrations, group discussion, and feedback (please note that all timings are BST).
  • We use Padlet for our courses, where all course materials will be held, including recordings from each week and a student gallery for uploading your artwork between sessions. Recordings remain available to participants until two weeks after the last session.
  • Participants will receive handouts a week before the course start date and login details the day before – these will be sent to the email address linked to your Paypal account so please email as soon as possible from your contact email address if this is different to the one linked to your Paypal account.

You will need:

  • 2B and 5B pencil
  • Eraser
  • Sharpener
  • Ruler 
  • Biro
  • Sketchpad of good quality cartridge paper
  • Folder for keeping hand-outs and scrap imagery in order
  • Small notebook for collecting ideas
  • Photocopy paper
  • Post-it notes
  • Facilities to scan or photograph your artwork
  • Any favourite drawing or art materials such as pencil crayons, watercolours or pastels, or digital media

Experience: No prior experience needed.

About the tutor:

Rachael Ball is an acclaimed cartoonist who started out cartooning for cult comic Deadline in 1988. Her first graphic novel, The Inflatable Woman (Bloomsbury), was a Guardian Best Graphic Novel 2015 and her second, Wolf (SelfMadeHero), has been called “a timeless classic” (Pipedream Comics) and is soon to be published in France. She is currently working on her third graphic novel, The Patsy Papers  Her work was featured in House of Illustration’s Comix Creatrix exhibition and the Cartoon Museum’s The Inking Woman exhibition. She also co-coordinates the London branch of Laydeez Do Comics, a forum which promotes women in comics, and has 16 years of teaching experience.

Feedback from Rachael’s previous courses:

“Rachael is an amazing teacher. I wish my university course had been this informative!”

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

“Before Rachael’s course I thought creating a story was something a bit scary, too big for me to tackle. But in class we stepped on the process fluidly and reached a story without even realizing it.”

“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 and booking:

This course runs for 10 weeks: Tuesdays 13 April – 22 June 2021, 6.30-8.30pm BST. No class during half term on 11 May.

The price refers to the whole course, not individual sessions. This course is for those aged 18+ only.

IMPORTANT: Your ticket confirmation will go to the email address linked to your Paypal account. Please email from your contact email address if this is different to the one linked to your Paypal account.

Please download and read the Guidance for Participants document below before booking your place.

Any questions? Please check our FAQs.


Tickets Price Number Total price
Total amount £0.00
Full 10 week online evening course for adults with Gift Aid£434.50 £434.50
Full 10 week online evening course for adults£395.00 £395.00

Tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable and subject to our general terms and conditions. Age 18+ only.

Your ticket confirmation email may go to the email address linked to your Paypal account. Please contact immediately if you do not receive it.

Gift Aid

The Gift Aid price includes a voluntary 10% donation which allows us to claim back 25% of the total price paid. This small donation makes a huge difference to a charity like ours which receives no public funding – thank you! UK taxpayers only. Find out more at our Gift Aid page.