Drawing Words and Writing Pictures

With Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, you’ll master the alchemical art of combining words and pictures to make comics.

Get a complete, structured course that guides you from creating narrative within a single drawing to orchestrating all the skills involved in creating a multi-page, complex story.

  • Learn to exploit word-image juxtaposition
  • Explore panel transitions
  • Overcome penciling obstacles
  • Master the fundamentals of story structure
  • Lay out comics pages clearly and quickly
  • Apply principles of composition to your work
  • Letter dialogue and narration and design titles
  • Create compelling characters
  • Learn to ink with a brush and a nib pen
  • Develop convincing visual environments

There’s a website that goes along with the book to help you work on your own, outside of a classroom, and for teachers who want to incorporate DWWP into their curricula. Check it out here:

Read an excerpt of Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.

Buy Drawing Words & Writing Pictures
via your favorite independent bookstore,

or via Amazon (affiliate link).

With the DWWP method, you’ll arrive at a deep understanding of visual and structural storytelling through structured activities, with frequent dips into the nuts and bolts of actually getting ideas on paper, including thumbnailing, penciling, lettering, and inking with both a nib and a brush. You’ll also learn principles such as composition as it applies to the panel and the page.

Unlike existing instructional books devoted to comics, which lack both concrete exercises and progress markers, DWWP has a cumulative and carefully systematized methodology. Each of the fifteen chapters focuses on a particular aspect of comics and comes complete with homework, extra credit activities and supplementary reading suggestions. Illustrated extensively by the authors and with numerous examples of international masters of the medium, DWWP provides a comprehensive introduction to the form that will give you the tools to create your own works in this art on the rise.

The ideas and methods we teach in DWWP apply equally to all kinds of long-form graphic narrative: whether one page or a thousand, whether superheroes, manga, memoir, or any other narrative approach. We do not discriminate based on style or story content. These tools will serve all.

Drawing Words & Writing Pictures

Additional resources for students and teachers are available on the accompanying website,

What they’re saying about Drawing Words & Writing Pictures

A gold mine of essential information for every aspiring comics artist. Highly recommended.

– Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures is an ambitious and successful work from two of the comics art form’s most experienced instructors….I always look forward to teaching comics classes, but with the next class I teach, I’ll be particularly delighted to skip the hours I usually spend at the photocopier putting together myriad handouts culled from dozens of sources and, instead, simply add, “Required text: Drawing Words and Writing Pictures” to my syllabus.

Publishers Weekly

Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s Drawing Words & Writing Pictures provides an excellent foundation for the introductory comic book classroom…. From the comic book basics: panel layout, penciling, inking, and lettering to the art of story: narrative arcs, character development, and world building, Madden and Abel manage to touch upon all the most relevant concerns for first time comic book creators….Whether it’s brush care, ink selection, or optimal drawing posture, DP&WP has it covered.


There are some who say that those who can, do, while those who can’t, teach. Clearly they’ve never been taught by Matt Madden and Jessica Abel.

Chicago Sun-Times

Matt and Jessica’s experience, both in the classroom and at the drawing board, has resulted in a book that should help any aspiring cartoonist. A go-to how-to that will undoubtedly be of tremendous aid for any school or instructor attempting to map out a thoughtful and engaging comics curriculum.

James Sturm, Director, Center for Cartoon Studies

The future belongs to comics and, despite all the breathtaking developments in the medium over recent years, we have barely glimpsed the wonders still to come. The field is still wide open, ready for anyone to explore. That is why the time is right for a thorough, thought-provoking textbook like this, offering a step-by-step course to help you find your own unique voice. Start here and you too can become part of the future of comics.

Paul Gravett, author of Graphic Novels: Everything you need to Know
Meet Jessica Abel

Meet Jessica Abel

Author. Cartoonist. Teacher. Coach.

I help people whose imagination and creativity are the ultimate source of everything they do in their professional life stop grinding and start carving out the deep focus needed to finish—and launch—the game-changing work they want to be known for.  Discover my Courses, Join the FREE Creative Engine Workshop or find out more about me.


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