Home - Jessica Abel

Being creative is not just a state of mind.

Those big ideas you lie awake thinking about? If they’re going to have the impact you hope for, step one is to create them in the real world. Join thousands of creative people who get actionable methods and tools from me that will help you make your creative work a reality. Start today with one of my best tools: the One Goal Worksheet.

Who is Jessica Abel?

Jessica Abel headshotI’m an author and cartoonist with a head for organization and systems, abilities I’ve put to very good use as I’ve explored how to make creative work with less anxiety and more ease. 

I work with creative pros (and serious non-pros) to get a clear, strategic view of their ambitious projects, and help them get through the woods and to that creative transformation that comes on the other side of finishing. The only way out is through.  I love creating systems to get work done efficiently. I love collaboration, and its multiplier effect on creativity. The ivory tower has bars on the windows; it’s a prison. I’d rather be outside, working together.

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Out on the Wire Podcast

Out on the Wire is the new miniseries about making stories step by step. With the help of master storytellers from This American Life, Radiolab, Planet Money and more, we break down storytelling to uncover what makes stories tick, and how to craft your own. Each episode covers a different aspect of storytelling, from finding great ideas to dealing with creative crisis, which will put you on the path to understanding and creating your own narratives.

Join us and collaborate to make something great!
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Out on the Wire: the Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio

Discover how the best of the best in radio and podcasting make their magic. Ira Glass, Alex Blumberg, and more.

Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars

Trish “Trash” Nupindju is a talented young hoverderby player on Mars. She wants desperately to go pro but her family is going broke faster than her escape velocity.

La Perdida

Carla heads to Mexico City with a backpack, a few hundred dollars, and a head full of preconceptions. A story about finding yourself by getting lost.

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures

The alchemical art of combining words and pictures to make comics: go in with nothing, and come out with a finished comic in just 15 chapters.

Mastering Comics: Drawing Words and Writing Pictures continued

Mastering Comics goes deeper and wider, introducing everything from webcomics to color, and helps the developing artist get from spark to finished work.

Life Sucks

Life sucks when you’re a baby-faced kid in LA—broke, girlfriend-less, and stuck in a dead-end job. And when we’re talking about Dave Miller, we really mean dead-end.

Radio: An Illustrated Guide

A collaboration with Ira Glass and This American Life, all about what happens behind the scenes at TAL and how they make their show.

Mirror, Window

Comics short stories of young Chicagoans grappling with serious questions, such as Does she love me?, Can I stay friends with someone who has betrayed my trust?, and Can I make a life as an artist?


The best of Artbabe Volume 1, including most of the stories from the first four (minicomics) issues, long out of print, and Vol 1 #5, the issue for which I won a Xeric grant.

Jessica Abel on Live Wire

Talks and workshops: tell more stories better.

One of my favorite ways to help people tell better stories, (and tell their stories better) is in person. I love connecting with large audiences from the stage, and relish getting in a small room with an intimate group and learning together about narrative, comics, and how to get the most out of visual (and non-visual) storytelling both as a reader and as a maker.

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