Course Announcements


Summer courses are enrolling now

Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, and Cartooning Basics live and online at SVA and precollege Figure Drawing at Parsons.

Adult Continuing Ed:

Figure Drawing for Cartoonists

When you’re a graphic illustrator, understanding human anatomy is only part of the skill set you need to successfully compose vivid and expressive figures. This course will survey key concerns such as solidity, movement, body language and stagecraft, in an effort to coordinate what you can learn about the figure with what you can see and imagine. Sessions will alternate between life drawing from the model, and figure construction from memory and imagination. This is a good course for people who draw well and would like to draw better.

Cartooning Basics. Live and Online

A cartoonist is the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, functioning by turns as writer, cinematographer, graphic designer and illustrator. This course will explore essential components of cartooning: cartoon figure drawing in ink, background basics, comic-strip writing, graphic storytelling, panel and page composition, and creative games. Students will develop a self-published minicomic alongside several class exercises and worksheets. This course is helpful for anyone interested in comics, animation or advertising.

The School of Visual Arts has been ground-zero for cartooning instruction since its founding in the 1940s. I’ve taught hundreds of New Yorkers and visitors over the years, but now I can help you, too, wherever you are.

Email me for info if you have any questions:

Let’s make comics!



Drawing: Figure and Meaning

This course immerses students in the study of the human figure through drawing projects that investigate both its form and its capacity to carry meaning within various cultural contexts. Anatomy, motion, gesture, and a variety of techniques and media are used to explore the body as the site of messages ranging from the personal to the political.


On Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, I conducted a Daredoodle session through the Sequential Artists Workshop. You can see it on YouTube, technical glitches and all.

And on April 5, 2024 I was interviewed about minicomics of the 80s and 90s.

“I attended your comic book drawing class many, many years ago. I was just a shy 11-year-old budding artist with an intense interest in being a comic book artist, but until that point was totally self-taught. That class and your instruction was a real game-changer for me. I can’t begin to describe how influential you were in my early development as a visual storyteller. After I completed your course, the flickering flame of storytelling inside me became a bonfire. I went on to study at SVA-NY before moving out to LA to become a storyboard artist. I’m now well into that career and have achieved a lot of success in that arena, even going on to direct a Netflix original movie. Anyway…I think about that class and how influential you were to me all the time. You really made an impact on my life.”

Federico D’Allessandro, lead storyboard artist, Marvel Studios

“…I took your class and found it fundamentally reoriented my approach to comics drawing. Just your summation of the PURPOSE of inking (it tells the reader how to read) turned my thinking about the page on its head. I am still digging through your class handouts on a regular basis and, on your sage advice, going to weekly life drawing sessions— the lone ink-toting artist in the room!  Tom Motley! You taught a great class that really helped me.”

A. K. Summers, author of the graphic novel, Pregnant Butch

“Tom Motley has got a great comics mind in addition to his inking proficiency, and is an amazing resource to have. I don’t think I’d ever have developed the amount that I had without his insights when I was starting to take comics seriously.”

Mattie Lubchansky,  the Nib.

“If I hadn’t taken your cartooning classes this year, I wouldn’t have been able to create my final project for the visual narrative semester (my digital short story). I’m not exaggerating. These past two semesters have been an incredibly rewarding experience for me: stimulating, challenging, illuminating and gratifying. Your insight, openness and generosity with feedback gave me so many ways to approach drawing, to make drawings better and to have fun in the process. Thank you!”

Laura Brown, SVA instructor

“I TOTALLY loved the class. Transformative. The work I did there hangs next to my drafting table.”

Lynn Bernstein, illustrator

“Greatest Teacher On Earth ❤️”

Paul Barbato, Regular Human Artist

“Excellent teacher, totally worth my tuition bill.”

— Anonymous undergraduate student, spring 2021


More student samples and discussion can be seen here

Please let me know if you have questions. 

Instructional Handouts

Tips for Drawing Characters


Parts of a Comic Page


the process part1


the process part2





T. Motley