Comics Unmasked: Masterclasses


All  masterclasses are fully booked! However we still have lots of availability for our free exhibition workshops. Find out more.

Masterclass outline

Led by contemporary graphic novel artists, masterclasses are an opportunity for Key Stage 4 and 5 Art students to develop skills in comic book design. Drawing inspiration from our major exhibition, Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, the sessions will allow students to explore the way in which comics and graphic novels are laid out, and gain practical illustration experience from well-known artists.


Karrie Fransman is a graphic novelist and comic creator. Her autobiographical comic strips were published in The Guardian. Her comic serial 'The Night I Lost My Love' ran in The Times. Her graphic novel, 'The House That Groaned', is published by Random House's Square Peg and have received praise from film director Nicolas Roeg and was chosen as Graphic Novel of the Month in The Observer. Her new graphic novel 'Death of the Artist' will be published by Jonathan Cape and has been awarded a research and development grant from the Arts Council England. She has created comics for Time Out, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, The Young Vic and Psychologies Magazine and presented her work in London, Brussels, Barcelona, Beirut, Dhaka, Zagreb and Moscow. You can see more of her work at or follow her on Twitter @KarrieFransman

Hannah Berry writes and illustrates darkly funny graphic novels about hidden stories being unravelled. She has had two published by Jonathan Cape: Adamtine, a ghost story, and Britten & Brülightly, a noir which has been published around the world with the French edition chosen for the official selection of the Angoulême International Comics Festival. A third graphic novel - Livestock, a socio-political satire - is on the way. She also creates comics for anthologies, teaches comics to the keen and preaches comics to the uncertain.

Dave Gibbons established himself in underground comics and fanzines in Britain before becoming a frequent contributor to the seminal 2000AD, illustrating Harlem Heroes, Dan Dare and co-creating Rogue Trooper. Since then, he has drawn and written for most comics publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has encompassed Dr Who, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Dr Strange, The Hulk, Predator and Aliens. With writer Frank Miller he co-created Give Me Liberty and Martha Washington Goes to War. Watchmen, his collaboration with writer Alan Moore, is the best-selling graphic novel ever published and became a major motion picture. His autobiographical graphic novel The Originals won an Eisner Award in 2005. His most recent comics work is a collaboration with writer Mark Millar, The Secret Service. He is a consultant on motion books for the Madfire platform, featuring his creation, Treatment, and other ground-breaking storytelling technologies.

Advice for teachers

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK contains imagery and language which some visitors may find offensive or disturbing, including exhibits with violent and sexual content. Within the exhibition there is a separate section examining sexual themes, but groups taking part in masterclasses will not be taken into this area. Please note, however, that there is material throughout the exhibition that may also be considered offensive or disturbing.

Masterclasses will focus on practical illustration skills and will take place in our Learning Centre, although students will be taken into the exhibition for inspiration. Masterclasses will be facilitated by a professional graphic novelist and a member of the British Library learning team. As with all our education sessions, teachers will also be asked to accompany the group at all times.

Taking into account the guidance above and in consultation with the British Library Teachers' Network, we are offering masterclasses for students in Year 10 and above only. We ask that you use your professional judgement and personal knowledge of your students to determine the suitability of the exhibition for your class.

If you would like more information on the content of the exhibition, or want to arrange a teacher pre-visit (max 2 teachers per school), please contact

Ready to book?



CPD events

Private View for Teachers: Thursday 5 June 2014, 17.00-20.30. In partnership with the House of Illustration.

Reading for Pleasure: Friday 4 July. 10.00-16.00. In partnership with the Guardian.