CCAD launches new Comics & Narrative Practice major


Columbus College of Art & Design is launching a new major dedicated to the study and practice of comics.

In CCAD’s Comics & Narrative Practice program — accepting students starting in fall 2017 — students will work with comics professionals to learn how to write, illustrate and publish their own sequential art.

The program is a perfect fit for Columbus, which is quickly gaining a national reputation as a comics hub.

“Columbus is in a unique positon to become a major center of comics study in the country, thanks to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival and our strong tradition of illustration at CCAD,” said Stewart McKissick, Chair of CCAD’s Comics & Narrative Practice and Illustration programs.

In the new comics program at CCAD, students will create original comics and graphic novels and learn how to shape narrative elements and invent signature styles, stories and characters. They’ll also meet with top industry practitioners and gain practical experience with story pitches, prepress, budgeting and marketing.

“We’re going to have robust business content as well so the students that come out of this program will have a good understanding of the comics industry today and the skills and strategies they need to participate in it,” McKissick said.

In recent years, comics have become increasingly popular, with blockbuster movies based on comics topping the box office. And student interest in the medium has grown, too.

“It’s very clear that comics are now a huge part of popular culture,” McKissick said. “And we’re responding to the fact that there’s growing interest from students.”

For the past two years, students in CCAD’s Illustration program have partnered with professional comics writers including Kelly Sue DeConnick (known for writing Captain Marvel), Grace Ellis (Lumberjanes) and Eisner award winner Matt Fraction to produce a comics anthology called Spitball.

That publication showcases student illustrations about all sorts of different topics and highlights an important point about comics today: They can be about anything.

“Comics have become a conduit for people to tell stories,” McKissick said. “It’s not just superheroes anymore.”


Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 undergraduate majors and two graduate programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level.


Check out the following comic illustrated by a CCAD student and written by a CCAD professor. Or download a PDF of the comic here.


Jeannie Nuss
Senior Media Relations Specialist