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New Teacher Feature: Gina Siciliano and Intro to Comics

Meet instructor Gina Siciliano joining us this fall with her upcoming workshop, Words & Pictures: An Intro to Comics. At Hugo House, we celebrate all forms of storytelling, and appreciate the insight and craft exploration Gina brings in this cross-genre class!

Q&A with Gina Siciliano

How would you describe yourself as a writing instructor? Alternatively, what type of instructor do you inspire to be?

I’m a new instructor who is passionate about having nuanced discussions, and sharing ideas about how to use our art to survive and thrive in this crazy world we’re living in right now! I aspire to be warm, kind, and encouraging, but also challenging and eye-opening. I want to push students to embrace the difficulties of the writing process, rather than avoid them.

What excites you about teaching at Hugo House?

After many years of working through my own creative process, I’m excited to have a space to discuss a variety of concepts and strategies with other creative people. 

Who is your class best suited for? What would you like your students to take away from the class?

My class is about comics, so I’m introducing a new medium to Hugo House, one that has always been adjacent to, and perhaps at odds with, more traditional forms of writing. My class is for those who are curious about comics–the complex interplay between words and pictures.

Comics are often more accessible to a wider audience, but making comics can be overwhelming, laborious, and time consuming. So many considerations have to be made when adding visuals to writing. So I want students to leave with a better understanding of how to make this medium work. I want students to feel inspired and confident about their ideas, as we work together to bring those ideas to life!

What are you reading/how do you approach reading?

Most of my reading is connected to what I’m working on. I just finished a recently discovered novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay called Amiable with Big Teeth. He uses characters and dialogue (much of it derived from real-life events, as outlined in the lengthy intro) to paint a wonderful picture of 1930s Harlem! The novel explores the role of the Communist Party within African-American organizations seeking to aid Ethiopia, which was invaded by fascist Italy at the time.

What are you working through currently?

I’m in the midst of the most challenging project I’ve attempted yet–a series of what I call ‘essay comics’ that combine memoir, history, politics, and literary criticism. George Orwell is the focus, especially his often overlooked earlier work like ‘Clergyman’s Daughter’ and ‘Homage to Catalonia.’ I’m attempting to use an intersectional feminist lens to explore Orwell’s many contradictions, delving deep into the perilous world of the 1930s, including the creepy similarities between then and now.

Gina Siciliano (she/her) is an artist, writer, historian, and bookseller living in Seattle, WA. Her award-winning graphic novel I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi was published by Fantagraphics in 2019.

Register now for Gina’s upcoming class on Oct. 3, Words & Pictures: An Intro to Comics »

Learn more about Gina Siciliano: