The Sequential Artists Workshop/

Student Testimonials

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From Tom Hart’s students through the years.
(Some of them are shy and so we have granted them a little anonymity…)

“Something about the way you teach just electrifies my passion for making comics to an extent that I don’t often experience…” and “Tom Hart is our teacher, but he seems like a fellow student who just happens be infinitely wiser and more experienced.”
H., current SVA student

“I remember when I came into your class with a sort of “faux” predetermined style. Then I didn’t see it, but through each and every new assignment I saw an improvement for the best. You taught me how to let go and just experiment with the medium. I feel that I have a firmer grasp on how I want my art to look like… Continue to share your knowledge of cartooning with ever new incoming class. Trust me, they’ll learn a lot from you.”
-A., current SVA student

“I wanted to thank you for your patience and guidance as teacher. I am especially grateful for how kind you were in the first class when I was shitting myself in fear… I think you are a very great talent and teacher…”
– C., Adult SVA CE student, 2009.

Brendan Leach






42 responses to “Student Testimonials”

  1. Box Brown says:

    I would not be the cartoonist I am today without Tom Hart. Better teacher than Miss Dobbins*

    *my fourth grade teacher I had a crush on

  2. Jennifer Lee says:


    It’s been four or so years since I’ve had you as a teacher in comics. To this day in my work, in both comics and even illustration, I still apply your teachings. Your knowledge on how to make a narrative through imagery translate the intended information and emotions are outstanding. More importantly, you really knew how to crack each individual’s hold-ups and enlighten. Through your training I strive to make every piece subtle but memorable, like the best ham to ever be consumed. I feel very grateful that I had your guidance through my junior year at SVA. Thank you Tom!


  3. Anna says:

    Dear Tom,

    You will always be one of my favorite cartooning teachers at SVA (School of Visual Arts) and I will never forget all the awesome help I got from you. You pushed me to become a much better artist than I thought I could ever be in my most important year of college, the junior year, when we had the thesis. I’m very proud of that Esmeralda story and it’s greatly thanks to your pointers and advice!!

    You helped me reach my best potential and I succeeded in getting better and better through your guidance. Thank you so much, Tom! And I wish you the best of luck in your career!!

    – Anna

  4. Andrea says:

    When I say that Tom knows what he’s talking about, I mean that he draws from a deep well of understanding about everything essential to good comics storytelling. Watching him in a room of 15 continuing ed students, all from completely different backgrounds with different goals and skills lets you see him direct his knowledge of visual language, character, pacing, story arc, humor as each student needed. As he’s moving from student to student and comic to comic, it’s like witnessing a very thin comics jazz riff in motion. Not only does he know these things, he knows HOW to best bring them to any and every student, making him a rare combination of skilled cartoonist and born-for-it gifted teacher.

    Tom is kind. Tom is funny. Tom talked with me about the why of making comics just as much about the how, which made a vital difference in my life. I arrived at his class completely unsure of where to begin and he immediately gave me a visual and narrative vocabulary so I could enter the action to see for myself. Tom gave me criticism that still challenges, encourages, and escalates my work. There are many different kinds of educators, but the best ones are always the generous teachers. Tom’s generosity not only allows him to engage with other people’s perspectives, but to also welcome and delight in them.

    I can’t recommend him enough.

    Much love,

  5. Jess Worby says:

    Tom is a magical teacher and all-around great guy. He did not just help my brain understand how to create a good comic, but also opened my eyes to tons of great cartoonists, provided advice outside of class time, helped me find a thesis advisor, lent me fantastic books, etc. (the list goes on).

    If I were ever to be told something terrible by a doctor, I would want that doctor to be Tom Hart.

  6. Anna Kim says:

    Thank you so much, Tom…I’ve learned and grown so much in just two years as a story teller and a comic artist. You make comic stories, story telling so exciting and fun. I know I came to you with a crazy idea of writing a story. I don’t think I’d have embarked on such an ambitious journey without your enthusiasm, boundless optimism, and most importantly, a belief in the story. Thank you so much for teaching me, and going through the trenches of nitty gritty details of my scribbles for I know it’s not easy to read something that can only be seen with a magnifying glass.

    I’m really sad that you’re leaving New York…We, myself and all your students, will certainly miss you. I know I’ll clearly miss showing you my comics and seeing your smile…or even a frown. For I know when you like something, you really mean it. But I also know you and Leela have a wonderful plan for a school for many, and I’m truly excited for you both. I do hope to come and see you guys and show you what I was able to manage in your absence. In the mean time, I hope you’ll continue to have time to look at my comics for a smile or a frown. Your last year in New York. Yes, I hope it rolls slower than the last one, though when you’re in the comics, time seems to zoom by in a warped speed.. especially when you’re critiquing my tiny teeny weeny eye-crushing thumbnails. Thanks for eye-popping care and enthusiasm and your wonderful sense of humor and thoughtful insight. I’ll miss most certainly that…

  7. Carlos Abdu says:

    Words cannot do justice the contribution Tom made in my life, so I’ll try telling a story instead.

    It was my last year of my Bachelor’s of Art when I suddenly heard that we where getting a cartooning class, but it was going to be in the next semester, after I was gone. I thought I would be damned if I was gonna let this opportunity pass me by, so I extended my major into Bachelor’s of FINE Arts to get another year. I was so obsessed with being a comic book artist and cartoonist, that was all I knew, all I wanted, so I thought I was going in to be the top of the class.

    Then I entered the class, and I was jaw-dropped. We where a few but the talent presented there was bountiful and intimidating. Everyone knew me so they looked upon me as a peer, but my arch-nemesis, Self-Doubt, trapped me and soon I thought I was a poor amateur in a veil of masters. But Tom made every day worthwhile, hyped up on coffee and enthusiasm, he pushed us to go beyond our own understanding of the craft we all loved and make our own mark as cartoonist, instead of just trying to do what other have done before.

    I remember it was the end of class, he invited me and a friend of mine to sit down and discuss our thesis and i purposely came late cause I was embarrassed: I thought I didn’t belong with those guys and I should quit, find some retail job and hang up my pencils forever. Then Tom picked me up from my rut, showed me what potential I had as an illustrator, and kicked my self-doubt’s ass six ways till sunday. He got me on the path to complete my thesis, influenced the way I worked and from now on, I only use my technical pens on small stuff; Tom shoved some pen nubs and brushes in my face and I never looked back 😀

    It kinda sucks that you will be leaving NYC in a year, but man, thanks for helping me get back on track on being a great cartoonist Tom! You’re the coolest teacher I ever had!! I wish you and your family great fortune in sunny florida!

  8. I had been doing cartoons on my own for about 20 years when I took a cartooning class with Tom. Tom instantly saw your style & encouraged it – helping you hone in on the essential things. I learned a lot from Tom, technique-wise, which was a tremendous help. Most importantly, Tom has been a constant source of inspiration & knowledge. Every class with Tom is a shot in the arm. Tom is a great teacher, artist & all around good dude.

    Joe Gallagher

  9. susanna plotnick says:

    Tom has been extremely sensitive to my work, showing a huge understanding and appreciation of what I am trying to do. He helped me handle an emotionally and artistically difficult part of my graphic novel, so that I could move forward. He has a huge store of knowledge of history and technique, which lends a depth to his classes. He has a liveliness and enthusiasm that is communicated to every student. I recommend his classes without reservation.

  10. susanna plotnick says:

    Tom has been extremely sensitive to my work, showing a huge understanding and appreciation of what I am trying to do. He helped me handle an emotionally and artistically difficult part of my graphic novel, so that I could move forward. He has a huge store of knowledge of history and technique, which lends a depth to his classes. He has a liveliness and enthusiasm that is communicated to every student. I recommend his classes without reservation.

  11. Jon says:

    Tom Hart has been (and continues to be) one of the greatest sources of knowledge and advice for comics work I’ve had. This guy is seriously one of the smartest comics artists working right now, but he’ll never make you feel dumb if you have a question. If you’re having a problem with your art or story, rather than spouting out answers at you, he’ll try to talk you through it and eventually draw a solution from you. This teaching style helped boost my artistic confidence and problem solving. Tom is also the sort or guy who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, a rare gift in my artistic experiences. If he thinks something needs more work, he’s not gonna sugar coat it. You may be thinking “HEY! Isn’t that a negative point?” to which I respond, HECK NO IT’S NOT! This kind of honesty is important for growth as a person and as and artist. There is something about the way he talks to you and give out advice that doesn’t discourage, but makes me want to draw more (and better) comics! Tom is one of my favorite teachers and people that I’ve had the honor of meeting and learning from at SVA, and I can’t say enough good things about him.

    “Wait Jon…didn’t you say ‘continues to be’?…isn’t it true that he hasn’t been your teacher in like, three years?”

    Yes, this is all true. He has NEVER turned me away when I’ve asked for help, advice, or input on a project. Just because he is no longer officially my teacher, this doesn’t mean he’s given up that role in my life. This is true of a few other teachers, but the key word in this statement is “few”. As one of those rare few, it saddens me greatly to hear that he’s leaving NY, but Gainesville Florida will be lucky to have this comic book gem teaching what he loves to the new generations of aspiring artists. I think I put it best when I said I can’t say enough good things about Tom Hart…and I don’t think I ever will…
    I feel that I’ve rambled on enough. It’s time to make some comics.
    Best wishes and all the luck the world can muster for your new school Tom, I’ll be cheering you on from here!
    Jon M

  12. Dan Strauss says:

    I took two classes with Tom Hart over the course of two semesters—one at 92Y and one at SVA.

    Tom’s refined approach to education and guidance offers sensitivity and candor in equal measure. He offers technical insight across genre boundaries, adapting his criteria to each student’s goals and aesthetic preferences.

    But more significantly, Tom imparts a sense of how to gracefully conduct oneself as an artist, and how to make sense of it all: for lack of a better term, there is a “Zen” to his approach. I would recommend Tom as an educator to any cartoonist—aspiring or experienced—who seeks guidance into his or her next stage of development.

  13. Jess Fink says:

    There were only a few classes in my college experience I feel I learned something from and Tom Hart’s class is right at the TOP. I can’t think of a teacher who has influenced me more in terms of storytelling and encouragement. Tom introduced me to comic artists and books that have become my all time favorites, comics I didn’t even know existed that influenced, inspired me and shaped me. On top of that he created a teaching environment that fostered open discussion, unbiased attitudes and a love for understanding how comics work and the kind of work we wanted to make. Tom’s class was the highlight of my comics education experience and remains bright in my mind.

  14. Dash Shaw says:

    I’m not sure if Tom’s the one who first said it, but in one of his comics he wrote “don’t let anyone ever give you a shitty comic!” and he’s completely devoted his life to this, with an attention and caring and consideration to his students that’s inspiring and (I think) a little insane. Plus look at his 24-hour comics– incredible, virtuoso cartooning on display– he knows what he’s doing!!! Good luck with the school! We’ll miss you in NY!

  15. Leslie Stein says:

    Tom is a fantastic teacher. He is totally devoted to comics as a serious art form and to helping his students succeed in whatever way he can. He has a restless enthusiasm and an ability to bring people together within the comics community. No doubt anyone who attends his classes will be a better cartoonist for it.

  16. Being in Tom Hart’s class is what made the difference in becoming a comic book artist. You felt like you were in the right place at the right time, in his class. As an art teacher I recognize in him a natural talent for encouraging and challenging people to expand beyond what they’re comfortable with. After a week or two into his SVA Sequential Art class, I sort of gulped and went, Oh god, this is so much bigger than I imagined, and only an idiot would walk away from the challenge. Everyone who was in that class went somewhere great with their work. And that’s a guarantee. Oh, and one other thing- Tom genuinely loves your work. Believe me, that helps.

  17. A lot of teachers show you how to jump through hoops. (Hoop-jumping is important.) Some teachers show you how to do what they do. (Which can also be important.)

    But a minutely small group of teachers does something else: They help you figure out how to produce your own work, only better. Tom is part of this third group (who I would call “the midwives of weird visions”). He is smart, funny, straightforward, and genuinely interested in people; he can help you choose a nib or navigate a mid-plot existential collapse. Tom is an awesome teacher! <3

  18. Gretchen says:

    We had Tom come lead a manga art workshop at our public library for our manga club. He was an engaging speaker and obviously really knew his stuff! Our teens were totally thrilled at the opportunity to use his dip pens and India ink, and during the drawing portion of the workshop, Tom was so very encouraging and endlessly patient with our fledgling artists. I’d highly recommend him to any other libraries or manga clubs looking for a speaker!

    (My teens are also telling me to add “he had cool hair” to this testimonial, so there you go–one more reason to have Tom come visit!)

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