I love speaking with kids of all ages about comics and graphic novels and the writing and illustrating process! I am an award-winning Author and Illustrator with lots of experience giving presentations and workshops to kids and adults of all ages. Infact, I often present to several different grades at the same school or library in a single day. Each presentation is tailored to the needs of the group, is lively and educational, with questions encouraged throughout!


Rates are posted here: Authors' Booking Service - Willow Dawson
To schedule a visit, please email: [email protected]


No travel charges within the downtown Toronto core. Standard travel and accommodation expenses apply for further travel.


Payment is due in full on the day of the appearance. HST is applicable. 


I like to work with a general framework for my presentations informed by the teachers or librarians but which is open enough to accommodate the needs of the audience in the moment. I like to let people ask questions throughout so that I'm able to gauge interest areas and adjust as necessary. When I can, I try to work in how I overcame reading and writing challenges as a child and became both an author and illustrator today! Teachers and librarians love me because my presentations are lively, informative and inspiring.

Here is an example of some of my themes by grade:

JK to grade 1 – The school or library may choose to split one session into two smaller 30 min. sessions for younger groups. Storytelling with The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 2 to 3 – 60 minutes: Storytelling session plus Q&A on The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 4 to 7 – 60 minutes. Presentations include an overview of the book of choice with a bit of historical background and information on how she creates a graphic novel, including: research, writing, illustrating, editing and revising.

       Avis Dolphin: World War I, the sinking of the Lusitania, life in the 1910’s, friendship, the power of storytelling, survival. Collaborating with an author.

       Hyena in Petticoats: Nellie McClung, The Famous Five, early Canada, feminism,women’s rights, suffrage, enfranchisement, The Persons Case. Life in the 1920’s– 1940’s.

       No Girls Allowed: Hatshepsut, Mu Lan, Alfhild, Esther Brandeau, James Barry, Ellen Craft, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, girls dressed as boys, women’s rights. Collaborating with an author.

Grades 7 to 12 – 60 minutes. Biography, autobiography and memoir. Willow uses the above books as well as her ongoing work on 100 Mile House (memoir) to discuss the differences and similarities, challenges and joys of writing biography, autobiography and memoir graphic novels. This presentation includes personal stories and anecdotes, including how she found her voice and became an author and illustrator.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for JK to Grade 3. 100+ for everyone else. 

Workshops work best with smaller groups, around 15-20 participants.


Character Development
Creating Tension and Drama, Creating Humour
Panel Transitions
Words and Pictures
Writing Engaging Dialogue
Writing stages: From Script to Thumbnails
Art Stages: Penciling, Inking, Colouring (includes an overview of design and lettering)
Other topics upon request

These workshops can be adjusted to suit the needs of any age group. They also work well for Writers’ Craft classes.


3-10 (or more) sessions. 60-120 minutes each. Participants get in-depth, hands on experience with each stage of the process of creating a comic or graphic novel, as well as a window into the worlds of self-publishing (‘zines and webcomics) and publishing (working with Editors, Art directors, and Publishers). Each stage of the process is handled in a separate session with an end goal of developing their stories into finished 1-3page comics that are then photocopied and bound together as a small, collective comics ‘zine.


-A laptop, screen and projector for PowerPoint.
-A glass of water, a table for my presentation materials.
-A microphone for larger groups.
-I send my PowerPoint ahead of time. Please ensure it is set up and ready to go prior to my arrival.
-Handouts will be sent for the teacher and/or librarian to photocopy in advance, along with a list of any materials the students may need if there is a workshop. Workshops require desks or tables and chairs for participants.

Teachers and Librarians can help by making sure audience participants are familiar with my books ahead of time.

A librarian, teacher or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation or workshop. All venues are acceptable.


"As she spoke about her creative process Willow used no notes; she spoke from the heart, in a very natural way, so that the students felt as if she were having a conversation with them, rather than lecturing to them, despite the fact that she was presenting to 75 grade 11's in a large auditorium.  …It was clear at the end of Willow’s presentation that the students had thoroughly enjoyed her visit. They literally cheered for Willow after she finished speaking." -- Jaime R. Malic, English Teacher, St. Clement’s School

"Willow is an engaging speaker who prepared a presentation that would appeal to the range of ages in her audience. …She seemed relaxed with her audience, responding to spontaneous questions with humour and thoughtfulness. She even stayed late to sign many autographs for her delighted listeners." -- Beth Alexander, Grade 6 Teacher, The Linden School

"Willow is an excellent teacher and easily interacted with a group of 30 participants. Willow was able to emphasize the importance of reading even to reluctant learners in a respectful and positive manner." -- Paula Costa, Youth Services Librarian, Fairview Branch Toronto Public Library

"At the Young Voices Writers Conference on October 16, 2010, Willow hosted a graphic novel workshop. Over 30 teens (ages 12-19) chose to attend. She provided an overview on how she accomplished her graphic novels, in addition … she also stayed behind to connect with youth, giving them opportunities to ask her questions. This mentoring piece really helped engage those participants. Willow not only connected well with her workshop’s attendees but also with other participants despite the wide age range because she is friendly and patient. … She is comfortable in her own skin and that definitely encouraged the youth to approach her." -- Elsa Ngan, Branch Head, Yorkville Branch, Toronto Public Library


My booking agents Valerie Sherrard and Marsha Skrypuch at Author's Booking Service: [email protected]


My course at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies is offered twice a year.
       2489 –Creating Comics and Graphic Novels.
       Course information and registration available here.

All content © Willow Dawson 2018
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