Applied Cartooning Track

Applied Cartooning is a new two-year Master of Fine Arts or Two-Year Certificate track at The Center for Cartoon Studies. It is designed to help students develop exceptional visual communication skills and apply those skills in fields outside of traditional publishing.

Comics, an unparalleled—and currently underutilized—communication tool, have the unique ability to communicate complex information quickly and effectively, share powerful and precise visual narratives, and engage readers of all ages, nationalities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

The Applied Cartooning Curriculum

The first year of the Applied Cartooning program is the same as CCS’s traditional MFA  and Certificate program: under the guidance of CCS faculty, students build their cartooning skills and produce more comics than they thought humanly possible.

Second-year Applied Cartooning students will have a greater emphasis on developing professional practices, building networks, and undertaking projects that use comics within a variety of industries and communities. Students will create comics that either document or define their proposed projects.

Applied Cartooning Projects

Potential student-initiated thesis projects could include developing grade school curriculum that meets Common Core standards, using comics to promote healthcare in developing nations, developing a comics workshops for veterans, and creating visual mission statements for businesses and organizations.

Applied Cartooning Program Advisors

Suzy Becker is an author, artist, educator, and entrepreneur who began her career as an award-winning advertising copywriter, and then founded the Widget Factory, a greeting card company. She entered the world of books with what would become the internationally bestselling All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat. Suzy has since written and illustrated My Dog’s the World’s Best Dog, I Had Brain Surgery What’s your Excuse?, Manny’s Cows, Books Are for Reading and Kids Make It Better: A Write-in, Draw-in Journal. Her books, greeting cards and work in print and television advertising have earned her numerous design and writing awards.

Yankee Magazine named Suzy Becker one of four 2010-11 “Angels Among Us” for her community service initiatives, including the Ride For AIDS Resources (Ride FAR), the country’s first HIV/AIDS bike-a-thon, which has raised over $1,000,000 for HIV/AIDS service organizations. Suzy has also received the Anti-Defamation League’s “A World of Difference” Award for her “I Don’t Put Up with Put Downs” anti-bullying/prejudice awareness education project.

Marek Bennett  leads discovery-based comics workshops for all ages throughout New England and the world. His comics work centers on travel, research, and community and includes his recent webcomic and graphic novel, SLOVAKIA: Fall in the Heart of Europe and the Xeric Award-winning weekly newspaper strip “Mimi’s Doughnuts.”

Marek’s educational programs incorporate sequential narrative cartooning techniques & music into community-based projects that explore and develop participants’ sense of history, culture, and individual & collective identities.  Artists of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities discover their own unique capacities for storytelling, performance, and communication as they contribute to projects and presentations in workshop and discussion-based events.

James Sturm is a cartoonist and co-founder of The Center for Cartoon Studies. James’ graphic novels include The Golem’s Mighty Swing, Market Day, and the popular Adventures in Cartooning series. His other books include Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, The Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules, and Denys Wortman’s New York. James has taught and exhibited his work throughout the world.

His comics, writing, and illustrations have appeared in many publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Onion, The New York Times, and on the cover of The New Yorker. He is also a contributing editor and cartoonist for Slate and is a co-founder of the Seattle weekly paper, The Stranger.

Inquiries and Information

Students and organizations looking for Applied Cartooning partnership opportunities please contact

Read The World is Made of Cheese: The Applied Cartooning Manifesto created by faculty James Sturm and Marek Bennett.

The World is Made of Cheese