About Us

What is SAW?

We’re a school for comics and graphic novels. We offer a year-long program, many week-long opportunities, evening classes and online classes. We hold monthly art shows presenting excellence in illustrative and sequential art.

SAW is a place like no other in the American comics world right now.


An intensive, informal school; a fully functioning two-leveled studio; a stocked library of inspiration, reference and history; a risograph printing station; and first-rate instructors full of knowledge, talent, experience and generosity of spirit.

At SAW we teach more than comics and graphic novels and more than just drawing and writing. SAW is a place where you can come for a week or a year and forge your personal creative path in visual storytelling.


Our students in 2012-2013 made hundreds of pages of story and artwork, co-curated more than a dozen art shows, collaborated with dramatists and comedians to create original theater, printed and bound thousands of copies of books, attended festivals; worked for clients; and learned in close proximity from our staff of working artists.
We’ve taught established creators stuck and needing to push their work to the next level, post-college adults looking to continue their education, college-age students wanting to focus on art before springboarding into a full-fledged BFA, artistic adults who have dabbled in comics wanting to study and practice the form more

SAW is a school for differing personalities and artists temperaments. We strive to find the stories and art inside you that are trying to come out. We have taught comics to art students, english teachers, truck drivers, museum guards, fine arts students, scriptwriters, graphic designers (lots of those), etc. In short, if you have passion and dedication to learning sequential art, then one of our SAW programs is for you.

We are cartoonists and artists with decades of experience, grants, awards and award nominations, thousands of published pages and years of teaching experience. Tom Hart taught at School of Visual Arts, “The Harvard of Cartooning” for 10 years and was a favorite teacher among his students. Leela Corman has had an extensive illustration career and her major graphic novel, Unterzkahn, was published to rave reviews and award nominations by Shocken/Pantheon in 2012. Justine Andersen inked The Invisibles, Swamp Thing and did tons of work (well, dozens of pounds of it, she’ll show you) for Wizards of the Coast and Lucasfilm. Many of our teachers also teach at the University of Florida.

Where Is SAW?

We’re in Gainesville, FL. Our physical address is 18 SE 5th Ave at Main Street, behind the Citizen’s Co-Op and The Civic Media Center. Our mailing address is different, see the bottom of this page.

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Mission Statement

The Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW)’s mission is to nurture and educate tomorrow’s generation of visual storytellers, to support creative investigation, exploration and excellence in cartooning and comic art, and to promote literacy in sequential and comic art in today’s culture.

Through its school(s), SAW’s goal is to provide quality education to students dedicated to challenging themselves and learning interdisciplinary visual storytelling. Where its school(s) are located, SAW aims to educate and promote comics literacy in our local community(s).

In addition, we aim to provide work spaces, teaching residencies and distribution/publishing resources for practicing sequential artists.

Finally, through its national outreach program dedicated to publishing and promoting curious, intelligent, and visionary works we aim to integrate sequential art and artists into the broader cultural landscape.

Vision Statement

We believe that artists aren’t made by accident, and that to become an artist requires a study of history, culture and technique as well as personal engagement with active practitioners. We are dedicated learning through structured curricula and personal mentorship.

We believe that comics/sequential art has become one of the most dominant art forms in our culture and recognize that the integration of words and imagery is essential to nearly every advertisement, and is a part of the process of every film, video and video game you see. The sequence of ideas is at the heart of every dramatic and persuasive art. Thus, we offer a core grasp of comics/sequential art will allow a person to navigate our complex media world, to participate in it where desirable, and to decode it where necessary. We do not teach a style, we teach the principles of a unique and flexible storytelling language that students can continue to explore and develop for the rest of their lives.

We believe that education should be affordable and also experiential, and thus have settled in Gainesville, Florida, where students can find movies, bookstores, theaters, rock shows, cheap food and housing, sunny days, bike paths, egrets, lizards, free yoga at the library, free lunches on the UF campus, organizations and ad hoc sub communities within communities. It’s a welcoming place that rewards initiative and engagement. In addition, we mandate field trips and require on-site drawing, writing and sketching practices.

We believe that teaching and learning are inextricably linked and community-building endeavors promotes universal good will, and as such students are encouraged to teach at least one workshop at a local public school, library or community center.

We believe that a fully-rounded artist is capable of appreciating and understanding a variety of art forms, we feature small workshops/lectures in other applied arts. From watercolor to music to clay to the theater arts, we seek to expose the student to as much of the artistic world as possible, and to help them form a personal understanding of the interdisciplinary value of all creative art and storytelling.

Nondiscriminatory policy:

The school admits the students of any race to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at that school and that the school does not discriminate on the basis of race in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and
loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors represent the public and see that the guiding mission of the non-profit is adhered to

Travis Fristoe, President

Travis Fristoe is a co-founder of Wayward Council, in Gainesville, a performance space and retail shop for independent artists and musicians. He is the Programming Librarian at the Headquarters branch of the Alachua County Library District, and organized the zine library at the Civic Media Center circa 1998. He writes, reviews books, plays music and practices kung fu.

sensitive man
Lauren Weinstein. Vice President Lauren Weinstein is a cartoonist and comics educator who has been teaching to a broad population of New York City for more 15 years. Her “Girl Stories” graphic novel was one of the most popular pages in gUrl.com where it was partially serialized. Her latest comic, The Goddess of War, was published by Picturebox in 2008. She currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts and is working on a sequel to “Girl Stories.”
sensitive man
Geoffrey Mason, Legal Counsel, Secretary and Treasurer Geoffrey Mason is a Gainesville-based lawyer. He was publisher of Alternative Comics from 1993-2008. In that time, he published the first graphic novels from many notable cartoonists such as Gabrielle Bell, Tomer Hanuka, James Kochalka, Graham Annable, Nick Bertozzi, Leela Corman, Sara Varon, Joel Orff, Dash Shaw, Damon Hurd, Allison Cole, and K. Thor Jensen. and distributed self-published works by Josh Neufeld, Lauren Weinstein, Derek Kirk Kim, Ben Catmull, Jen Sorensen, Karl Stevens, and Jacob Weinstein. sensitive man


We ask everyone we know for help and wisdom. These people, among others, have helped us by offering and continue to offer advice, ideas and inspiration:

Dr. Donald Ault

Donald Ault (PhD, 1968, University of Chicago) has been a professor in the English Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville since 1988.

He is editor of Carl Barks: Conversations (2003). He served as consultant and contributor to The Carl Barks Library of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge (1983–90) and The Barks Library in Color (1992–98). His work has appeared in journals such as Studies in Romanticism, Modern Philology, Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Wordsworth Circle, The Keats-Shelley Journal, and The Comics Journal, as well as in various essay collections, including Comics & Culture: Analytical and Theoretical Approaches to Comics (2000). He was executive producer and editorial supervisor for the videotape production The Duck Man: An Interview with Carl Barks (1996).

With the help of UF students, he organized the first two annual installments of “University of Florida Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels” – “The Will Eisner Symposium” (2002) and “Underground(s)” (2003). He is also General Editor of ImageTexT, a peer-reviewed, open access journal dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of comics and related media, produced in UF’s Department of English.

William Ayers

William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, teaches courses in interpretive and qualitative research, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is currently the vice-president of the curriculum division of the American Educational Research Association, and a member of the executive committee of the UIC Faculty Senate. He has recently published To Teach: The Journey in Comics. http://billayers.wordpress.com/

Brendan Burford

Brendan Burford is the comics editor of King Features Syndicate, home of Popeye and Betty Boop, and Mutts and Beetle Bailey. He is also a cartoonist and editor of alternative comics stories. His own comics can be seen in his anthology, Syncopated, a collection of comix-journalism.

Vanessa Davis
Cartoonist Vanessa Davis has been featured in The New York Times, Tablet magazine, and popular comix anthologies such as Kramers Ergot. Her collection of diary comix, Spaniel Rage, was published in 2005, and her next collection, Make Me a Woman, published by Drawn and Quarterly in 2010. She hold a degree in fine arts from the University of Florida. http://www.spanielrage.com

Shaenon Garrity

Shaenon Garrity is a cartoonist and editor in San Fransisco, CA. Her popular strip Narbonic, ran for 7 years, gathering such a rabid fanbase that they created an annual convention for it alone. Garrity writes essays for The Comics Journal, Otaku USA and other magazines, and edits manga for Viz. Her other stories and ongoing serials include Smithson, L’il Mell, Skin Horse, and Trunktown.

Bill Kartalopoulos

Bill Kartalopoulos teaches classes about comics and illustration at Parsons The New School for Design. He is a frequent public speaker and is the programming coordinator for SPX: The Small Press Expo and the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. He writes about comics for Print Magazine, where he is a contributing editor, and reviews comics for Publishers Weekly. He is a member of the Executive Committee for the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF), an annual academic conference devoted to comics. In 2008 he curated Kim Deitch: A Retrospective at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. He lives in Brooklyn.

Matt Madden

Matt Madden (NYC 1968) lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Jessica Abel, and their two children. He is a cartoonist, editor and translator who also teaches comics and drawing at the School of Visual Arts. His recent work includes 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), a collection of his comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style, a translation of Aristophane’s Zabîme Sisters (First Second Books) and A Fine Mess, Madden’s anthology series. The couple are also series editors for The Best American Comics from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. For recent news and comics, check out www.mattmadden.com.

Joey Manley

Joey Manley is the founder of Modern Tales, one of the first online comics communities, and is Director of Comics Development for E-Line Media, an educational multi-media company in New York City.

Chris Staros

Chris Staros is the publisher of Top Shelf Comics as well as the former President of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) Board of Directors. For more than 15 years he has dedicated himself to expanding the realm of cartoonists and comic book art, publishing work by up and coming artists as well as industry giants such as Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore. He created the Staros Report in 1994, a magazine devoted to comics criticism and discussion and has since served as publisher, agent, editor and director in many aspects of the publishing industry. http://wwwtopshelfcomix.com

Phil Yeh

Phil Yeh is the founder and president of Cartoonists Across America. He has traveled for 30 years across the globe promoting literacy with his comix stories and murals. He is also one of the earliest practitioners of the American Graphic Novel, having published his Even Cazco Gets the Blues in 1977. http://www.ideaship.com

Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida is 80 miles south of the Georgia/Florida border and right in the dead mid-way point between the east and west coasts; an hour to and hour and a half to beaches on either side. It’s more The South than it is Florida (i.e., Miami, Tampa, Orlando, etc.), with dripping Spanish moss, anoles left and right, families selling boiled “p-nuts” off their porches, ceiling fans, Caribbean food, cuban coffee and crazy barefoot naturalists shopping at the farmer’s market.

From our FAQ about Gainesville: We like sun. And sunshowers. And waterfowl and Spanish moss and sinkholes and skateboarders and artists and swimming and coffee and pizza and lizards. In addition, students can find movies, bookstores, theaters, rock shows, cheap food and housing, sunny days, bike paths, egrets, lizards, free yoga at the library, free lunches on the University of Florida campus, midnight soccer, organizations and ad hoc sub communities within communities. It’s a welcomin,g DIY place that rewards initiative and engagement. The University (UF) has a long-standing academic comics convention/symposium which has flown in such luminaries as Eddie Campbell, Dan Clowes and Kim Deitch. There are also a large number of academic scholars at the University dedicated to study of sequential art and these people, who have done historical research, and investigated the mechanisms of comics in unique ways are a great asset. The town is small but there is a lot of culture, including an art museum, a museum of natural history, an arthouse movie theater, good bookstores, a renegade video store, an alternative avant garde film festival and more.

Some Gainesville institutions we like:

The Hippodrome – Art film theater and live theater space

Devil’s Milhopper – Creepy sink hole in middle of town

Wayward Council– non-profit performance space, record shop and meeting space

Civic Media Center – Amazing, long-standing community space, lending library and more.

University of Florida – Giant University. Apparently the Gators are a big deal in sports

Thomas Center – Outdoor movies, park space and more

Satchel’s Pizza– local pizza joint, junk store, performance space and more.

Video Rodeo – Renegade video store

Flexfest – Florida experimental video/film festival

Cracker Crazy – documentary about Florida

Alachua County Library – Great library with LOTS of COMICS

Leonardo’s Pizza– Staple pizza joint. Great coffee too.

Saigon Legend – Charming Vietnamese restaurant

The Top bar and restaurant– Great place to eat, drink, meet friends, isten to music, visit the photo booth

Maude’s Cafe – We love this dispite the banana smell

Votla Coffee – Fancy great coffee and sunlight

The Bull – Great new coffee shop/bar. In fact, I’m heading there now.

Salty Dog – There are better bars, really, but somehow this one is still charming.

VisitGainesville website

Here’s the Indie Business Directrory from Indie Gainesville – http://indiegainesville.com/indie-directory/

Read Gainesville posts from our BLOG here.

Take a look at John Porcellino’s postings about Gainesville, here.

Most of the images below we cribbed off of Flickr or the web. We’ll be posting credits soon.

Lake Alice Structure

Wayward Council Bathroom


Wayward Council Show

Lake Alice Structure

The Hippodrome

Gainesville Roads

Wayward Council