Workshop Programme –
Getting to Know the Graphic Novel:
A Journey in 3 Parts

09 April, 10:30-17:00, TENT Witte de Withstraat 50, Rotterdam

It verges on tautology to state that comic art and caricature overlap. The idioms in which graphic novelists tell their stories always contain traits of satirical, humorous oeuvres that came into being in the early days of the medium, with bits and pieces from Busch, Kelly, Saint Ogan or whomever you consider to be one of the influential masters. The world – and everything in it – as depicted in a piece of comic art is therefore, to a certain degree, unavoidably hyperbolic, ironic and unscientific: Disney, not Doré... At the same time: lust is no joke. Or is it? In the 19th century the French writer George Sand sternly wrote: ‘Sex is the most respectable and holy thing in all creation, the most serious act in life.’ We may laugh out loud to the endless double entendres in sitcoms, but once engaged in our own erotic acts, we get dead serious. But what happens when you read a ‘dirty’ comic? Is it funny? And if it is, can it still make you horny? Considering the popularity of Tijuana Bibles in the 1930s and of pornographic Hentai cartoons – which get more internet searches in the US than Marvel! – at the moment, there is an insatiable hunger for caricatured sex.

On Saturday 9th April, Extra Extra – hosted by TENT Rotterdam – will present a workshop programme devoted to the urban, erotic dimensions of graphic novels. Guided by expert graphic novelists, during two workshops and a lecture, you’ll get the chance to actively develop your personal and professional skills in writing and drawing respectively. Topics are broad: for example, you will learn how to write and draw autobiographically in a playful way, as well as how to bring a true-to-life story onto the page and screen.

The lecture and workshops are taught in English and will take place at the venue of TENT Rotterdam, located at Witte de Withstraat 50. However, if you don’t feel confident in English our host is there to assist. Tickets can be purchased separately for the workshop and lecture as well as for the full programme.

Language: English
Tickets: 35,00 – 2 Workshops + Lecture + Lunch
Student tickets: €25,00 – 2 Workshops + Lecture + Lunch
25,00 – 1 Workshop + Lecture + Lunch
7,50 – Lecture


When the Mirror Manifests: Writing Autobiography in Comics

  • 10:30 – 12:30 | Workshop #1 by Chad Bilyeu
Writer and publisher Chad Bilyeu will guide participants through an innovative twist on the classic questions of worldbuilding: Who, Where, When, What and – most importantly –Why? The workshop will focus on a number of technical aspects, such as: developing a three-act structure – exposition, midpoint and denouement – drawing a storyboard and making transitions from one scene to the next, as well as making use of the “gutter” – the gaps between panels. The third issue of the Chad in Amsterdam series – The Dutch Inquisition – will be utilised as a template for exercises in scriptwriting.


  • 12:45 – 13:30

Graphic Cities, Clashes of Flesh and Concrete

  • 13:45 – 14:45 | Lecture by Joost Pollmann
Joost Pollmann – aka The Strip Professor – will give a talk on the juxtaposition between the sensual body and the hardness of urban surroundings, walking the avenues of several graphic novels through the years, including the novel-in-woodcuts The City/La Ville by Frans Masereel (1925), Yukiko’s Spinach by Frédéric Boilet (2002) and How I tried to be a good person/Hoe ik probeerde een goed mens te zijn by Ulli Lust (2019). In these narratives, the protagonists’ quest for either companionship or an erotic experience is not only framed by the architecture of the city but also by the architecture of the comic format itself: boxes everywhere, with humans wandering inside or in between. The talk will be centred on the graphic novel as an art form where exuberant urban scenery is navigated and sensuous adventures are discovered.

Meet You In My Drawings

  • 15:00 – 17:00 | Workshop #2 by Eva Hilhorst
The second workshop, hosted by graphic journalist Eva Hilhorst, is divided into two parts. As a starting point, Eva will speak on the language of comics. Drawings can literally animate a narrative, enlivening the details with multi-layered, mysterious and sensuous nuance. Taking a series of strips about internet dating as illustrative examples, such as Ruby Riveter by Maia Matches and More if it Clicks by Dominique Goblet and Kai Pfeiffer, as well as pieces from Drawing the Times, the international platform for graphic journalism, Eva will demonstrate how to adapt work for online formats. The digital sphere offers up an expansive realm for artists and a multitude of tools to experiment with, including animation. For the latter part of the workshop, you'll master how to design your own comic for a digital publication, and to play boldly with form, colour, rhythm, cliffhangers, suggestion and suspense. Together with Eva, you'll ponder identity and storytelling online, considering how we present and construct ourselves and our romantic entanglements in the virtual world.