Let’s Make Comics Together in the New Year


Want a great way to kick off 2017 RIGHT? Way more fun and LONGER LASTING than a diet! Join me for another session of my Writing & Drawing Comics Class starting January 9th!!

Not for you, but know someone else who might love it? This also makes a PERFECT Christmas gift–get in touch with me about gift options at summer (at) summerpierre (dot) com.

5 weeks of comics lessons delivered straight to your mailbox–so you can take it anywhere in the world with an internet connection!

Self-Paced! Do it all in one sitting or a little bit at a time throughout the week! A perfect option for the busy, scattered, and time conscious!

Don’t draw but want to try? Not a problem!

Draw but having problems making the jump to writing narrative? COME ON DOWN!

Sign up now and FEEL THE GLOW!  Let’s kick this next year into HIGH GEAR!



The Two Margarets


When I teach comics I talk a lot about drawing as a practice of trust.  The more you draw, the more you learn to trust your instincts and your sense of being able to render.  In the beginning there is very little trust, so we try to control it, fearing our imperfections.  Often we reach to the eraser to help us feel more in control, but I think doing this actually slows the progress.  It’s like using training wheels to learn how to ride a bike.  You can’t know you are capable of balancing a two wheeler until you remove the little wheels that keep you upright.

I’ve always been “able to draw,” and loved to do it as a kid, so I continued beyond the years when a lot of my friends stopped.  Then it eventually became something else more complicated and while I had ability to draw, like most people I struggled to control how that ability showed itself.  As a result, my drawing was often stiff and calculating.  Through consistency and experience, there were times I grew in my abilities, but I still didn’t entirely TRUST them.  I see this in my drawings over the years–both the leaps and the rigid moments and I can pinpoint exactly when my drawing suddenly just…felt better.

I have had the pleasure of illustrating Margaret Cho not once, but TWICE for books.  As she is one of my favorite comedians, this has been a sublime opportunity.  I recently posted the two portraits, 6 years apart in creation, on Tumblr and was immediately struck by the differences in quality.  They are both fine portraits, expressed to their own unique ends, but I couldn’t help but see a marked growth in the second.

A16I can remember feeling like the first one for my book Great Gals was a PUSH for me artistically.  I had so far relied on images of people that had straightforward, somewhat static expressions for the portraits I had done in the past, but I loved this photo of Cho laughing.  I thought it expressed something true of her essence and energy, both as a comedian and as a personality. I can remember drawing it and literally holding my breath, thinking about it deliberately as something of a challenge.  When I was done I liked it.  I was relieved that it came off and I was so pleased with it, I put it on the cover.

margaret cho.jpegLast fall Zest Books approached me to make 35 portraits of feminists on a tight deadline.  I got them all done in a little less than 6 weeks. The challenge for this job was simply how to get these drawings done in time, not in whether or not I could render their faces accurately.  As a result, I think the second drawing of Cho is just more fluid, more confident.  All the portraits are.  I wasn’t worried about it–I trusted my abilities enough to get it done.

Looking at these two drawings I see my development in trusting my lines and it suddenly occurred to me what had happened between the two drawings:


The practice of making comics regularly has pushed me as an artist.  Any consistent discipline does, but the practice of making comics have asked me to draw things I NEVER would have.  They have asked me to draw things like CARS and buildings and environments–things I actively AVOIDED drawing in the past.  As I learned that there is NOTHING you can’t make a comic about, I have also learned there is NOTHING I can’t draw if I put my pen to it.  I am not saying that I make perfect drawings, I just trust myself more to rise up to the challenge. Essentially that’s all self-confidence is: a sense of trust that we are at the core basically okay. Comics have given me a sense of trust that YEARS of drawing never did.  What a gift!

Like I said, ANY regular practice will help with getting better, but if you’ve been curious about comics PLEASE JOIN ME for the next session of Writing & Drawing Comics that starts on Monday. I can help with that sense of trust perhaps you’ve been seeking.  It’s one of my favorite things to do–and it’s …(wait for it)…FUN.

If you don’t join us, let this be a note to just keep going. NOTHING is a better teacher than doing.  Keep going and know the work will always show you how to do it.

Writing & Drawing Comics

students drawing

Here’s some sketches I did of some students I worked with last fall making an EPIC comic frame by frame.  They worked SO hard and made such GREAT things.   I genuinely miss everyone in that class and LOVED seeing what their brains came up with.

You TOO can work hard and make great comics!

For those who are local to the Hudson Valley, I am once again teaching my Writing and Drawing Comics Class at the Garrison Art Center.  Four Saturdays starting on October 31st.  It’s open to everyone ages 9 and up–space is limited so GET IT WHILE YOU CAN!

In this class we cover the basics of making comics–writing pictures and drawing words.  No experience or “talent” is necessary, just a willingness to try new things.  It’s fun! Come on down!

Comics Class at the Garrison Art Center

How to Prepare To Teach a Comics Workshop
Super excited to announce that I am teaching a drawing and writing comics course at The Garrison Art Center for teens and adults this fall!  Yippee!  You can sign up here (I’m lucky #13 listed on the right hand side).

For those of you on the Hudson Line, including New Yorkers, the Garrison Art Center is literally STEPS away from the Garrison Train Station if you feel like joining us on Saturday afternoons.  Garrison is an hour and 15 minutes from Grand Central on The Hudson Line.  Think of it: ride up the glorious Hudson River and then come draw a comic about it with me.