On Monday, August 18th, at the 95th New York Comics Symposium, the cartoonist and instructor Tom Motley presented a talk and workshop entitled “Composition Lessons from the Masters.” The talk was held at the Butler Library at Columbia University. Karen Green introduced Motley, a veteran cartoonist and educator at both SVA and Pratt. He is a prolific illustrator, and his regular comic Tragic Strip appears in the Brooklyn Rail.

After a quick demonstration, Motley explained that composition is the “invisible component we don’t think of.” He covered the basics of renaissance composition, using the now famous photo of a fight that broke out in the Ukrainian parliament, and which, coincidentally, follows the rules of the golden ratio, an ideal of classical composition.

The New York Comics And Picture-Story Symposium: Tom Motley


Composition Review Worksheet & original panel from Tom Motley’s NY Comics Symposium presentation last night.  Tom put out a bunch of panels with questionable composition choices to sketch and then revise using compositional tricks from masters Kirby, Toth & Cole.  I flew off the rails a bit and failed to properly follow the directions, but it was a good exercise, and a terrific presentation! 

INK BRICK is a micro-press and journal dedicated to work that crosses the borders between comics and poetry. The second issue of the journal will debut at CAB for $10, ft. 48 pages of full-color comics poetry by creators like Jesse Reklaw, Alexandra Beguez, and Bishakh Som. Keren Katz has provided a gorgeous portrait of Pina Bausch for the cover.

Full lineup:

Vidhu Aggarwal and Bishakh Som

Kimball Anderson

Alexandra Beguez

Nicolas Labarre

Mark Laliberte

Tom Motley 

Summer Pierre

Jesse Reklaw

John Robbins

Alexander Rothman

Heather Simon

Alexey Sokolin and Angel Chen

Paul K. Tunis

Chrissy Williams

Cover by Keren Katz

If you love mini-comics and have five bucks, we have a book for you. Featuring  loving and affectionate art and stories by Gregory Benton, Bob Sikoryak, Tom Motley, Tom Daly, Ben Brill, Joey Cavalieri, Elliot Cowan and Chris Duffy, all introduced by the much too classy for those dudes, Karen Green. On sale THIS WEEKEND at CXC. See you soon, Columbus, OH!