Graphic Narratives

Learn about story structure, character, setting and everything in between.

For the first time in 2019, Express Media presents Toolkits: Graphic Narratives, an online course in the forms, skills, and ethics of creating graphic narratives. This program will combine theoretical approaches, practical exercises, and one-on-one mentorship to guide young writers through the development of their work.

Spanning a range of forms including familiar examples like comic strips, graphic novels, and manga, great graphic narratives are both challenging to create and rewarding to read. Over a 12-week intensive, participants join Mira Schlosberg to explore this art form in it’s many and varied formats and applications, and to discuss the history and innovations of this field of literary practice. Participants will hone their skills in textual analysis, create their own original work (which can be fictional, autobiographical, biographical or journalistic), explore the possibilities of collaborative work and how to pitch your work to publishers.

Toolkits is first and foremost a practical initiative. Young writers will be encouraged to create, write, workshop and edit their work throughout the course.

In 2019, Toolkits: Graphic Narratives will be facilitated by well respected comics artist and editor Mira Schlosberg. Mira will facilitate the programs online sessions and workshops, providing one-on-one mentorship and individualised feedback to each young writer.

Participants also have the chance to learn from some of Australia’s best comics artists, with guest artists Rachel Ang, Eloise Grills and Alice Chipkin and Tava Tavassoli! With special guests presenting live and online sessions for the next generation across the country.

Wednesday 3rd April | Week 1 | Time and Space

This week we start by discussing the basics: what is a comic? What pieces are comics made up of? And how can we use these pieces to create a physical world and convey the passage of time on paper?

Wednesday 17th April | Week 2 | Tools & How to Use Them with Rachel Ang

From ink to paint to digital drawing programs, choosing which materials to use when starting a new comic can often be a daunting task. In week 2, artist Rachel Ang breaks down the what and how of drawing and editing tools and how to find what works best for you.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Wednesday 1st May | Week 3 | Comics zodiac

Artist Nicole Georges has described the text box and image as the sun and moon signs of a comic. This week we talk about text-image relationships in comics and how to maximise meaning without adding too much information to the page.

Wednesday 15th May | Week 4 | Self Indulgence with Eloise Grills
Personal writing in every storytelling medium gets a bad rap (read: gets criticised by men with bad taste), but there’s no denying that graphic memoir is one of the most important genres of comics. In week 4, award-winning writer and comics artist Eloise Grills joins us to discuss writing and drawing the self.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Wednesday 29th May | Week 5 | Collaborative Storytelling with Alice Chipkin and Tava Tavassoli
Comics is a medium where collaboration thrives. In week 5, Alice Chipkin and Tava Tavassoli, co-authors of Eyes Too Dry, join us to talk about their collaborative writing process and making art with other people.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Wednesday 12th June | Week 6 | Polishing and publishing comics

There are so many avenues for publishing your comics! In the final week of Toolkits, we’ll explore the many self-publishing options available to comics artists, as well as how and where to pitch or submit your comics for publication.

Applications to Toolkits are free for Express Media members. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here.

Express Media is committed to access, so if you would like to sign up and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us via to be awarded one of our sponsored memberships.

The only other things you’ll need are motivation and internet connection, so don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to refine your craft and be mentored by some of Australia’s best literary talent.

Applications have now closed. 

Have a question? Need help with your application? Send an email to Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, Express Media’s Creative Producer at

Mira Schlosberg | @miraschlosberg
Mira Schlosberg is a writer, editor and comics artist whose work has appeared in The Lifted Brow, Rabbit, and Ibis House, among other publications. They are the editor of Voiceworks and edit comics for Scum Mag. Their comic book, Guidebook to Queer Jewish Spirituality, is available through Glom Press.

Rachel Ang | @drawbyfour
Rachel is a comics artist from Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been published by The Lifted Brow, Cordite Poetry Review, Going Down Swinging, Scum and The Stella Prize. She is a co-editor of Comic Sans, a new anthology of excellent Australian comics. Her first graphic novel, Swimsuit, was published last year by local boutique risopress Glom Press. She has a Masters Degree in Architecture from RMIT.

Eloise Grills | @grillzoid
Eloise Grills is an award-winning essayist, comics artist and poet. Her debut comics chapbook, Sexy Female Murderesses, has recently been published by Glom Press, and her debut poetry collection, If you’re sexy and you know it slap your hams is forthcoming with Subbed In (2019). She was awarded the 2018 Woollahra Digital Literary Prize for Nonfiction for her comics column, Diary of a Post-Teenage Girl, and The Lifted Brow & RMIT non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Non-fiction (2018), for her illustrated essay, big beautiful female theory, which she is currently developing into a manuscript for Brow Books. She tweets/grams as @grillzoid

Alice Chipkin is a writer, artist and teacher living on Larrakia country in Darwin. She is the co-creator of the graphic memoir Eyes Too Dry (2017). Her nonfiction and poetry has been published widely, including including in The Lifted Brow, Archer Magazine and Cordite Poetry Review. In 2015 she was awarded the Dwight Prize for English from the University of Melbourne for her thesis on comics and queer autobiography.

Alice is passionate about the medium of visual storytelling as a tool for processing the hard stuff and has run creative writing and drawing workshops for teenagers with Express Media, Girls Write Up festivals, LitFest 2444, Melbourne Writers Festival and the Emerging Writers’ Festival. In her time away from the classroom she enjoys drawing things, taking film photographs (mostly of faces and trees) and has a penchant for footy and power tools.

Tava (Jessica) Tavassoli is the youngest child of two Persian Jewish immigrants living on the lands of the Kulin nation. Most of the time you can find them on the Peninsula working as a doctor at Frankston Hospital. In between they might be out back hanging out with the veggie patch and a few friends or riding a creaky bike around town. They are the co-creator of the graphic memoir Eyes Too Dry (2017) and are otherwise a ‘bedroom’ writer/drawer/dreamer.  

Tava is passionate about story telling and for many years facilitated ‘Tall Tales’ – a community story telling project. They have worked with numerous bodies including ARDOCH, Stand Up and Monash University running workshops with a focus on using narrative as means to connect and explore.”


Toolkits: Nonfiction is generously supported by The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Toolkits: Live is presented by Express Media in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria as part of the Arts Connect Series funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Arts Fund.