Graphic Novel Summer Institutesponsored by the Creative Arts program

The Graphic Novel Summer Institute is for high school students who love graphic novels and are interested in learning more about illustrating and writing graphic novels, as well as understanding how the industry and jobs in the publishing world work. New England-based graphic novelists Kori Handwerker and Nick Anderson will be sharing their experiences.  Attendees will also meet UMM Creative Arts professors, have an opportunity to tour the Book Arts facilities, and get to meet with the professors who will be teaching ART 201 Art History and ENG 150 Creative Writing this summer.  Cost: $300.  Scholarships are available!

Meet the Guest Instructors

Kori Handwerker
Kori Handwerker

Kori Michele Handwerker is a freelance cartoonist working out of Brunswick, Maine. They have been publishing comics since 2011 and hold an MFA in cartooning from the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, where they teach comics production.  In addition to teaching, they work as an editor, sensitivity reader, writer, illustrator, and publisher of comics. Their work focuses on LGBTQ experiences, romance, and identity.  Their current work in progress in a short graphic novel called People Like Us, a comic about queerness, depression, and romance.  Kori uses they/them pronouns.


Nick Anderson

Nicholas Anderson is the self-published creator of Planet Ripple working out of Brewer, Maine. He released the series in 2017 and has followed up with yearly volumes since. He works as the writer, designer and illustrator. His work focuses on neuroatypical experiences, mainly autism but also covering a wide range of mental, emotional and physical conditions, and also covers subjects like survivor’s guilt, anxiety, and PTSD. Nick uses he/him pronouns.

Summer Institute Plus

Students interested in earning college credits have the option to enroll in an online course that will begin July 11.

Graphic Novel Summer Institute Plus Art History online: Attend the Summer Institute plus take ART 201: Art History (with Audra Christie) online from July 11th-August 22nd.  ART 201 is a global survey of the visual arts from prehistory until 1400 C.E. This course includes lectures and discussions of the art and life of people across many cultures around the world and across a wide spectrum of history.  3 credits.  In-State Cost: $375* plus textbook costs.  Out-of-State Cost: $1800* plus textbook costs. Scholarships are available!

Graphic Novel Summer Institute Plus Creative Writing Online:  Attend the Summer Insitute plus take ENG 150: Introduction to Creative Writing (with Heather Hepler) from July 11th-August 22nd.  ENG 150 introduces students to the techniques and aesthetics of literary creative writing. Genres covered include poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Students read, discuss and analyze professional work from the traditional to the experimental from authors with a variety of cultural backgrounds. Students learn about the elements of craft that create artistic effects in each genre – elements such as imagery, metaphor, sound, line breaks, characterization, perspective, setting, structure, sense, and plot. Students write, workshop and revise their own creative work in each of the three genres. 3 credits. In-State Cost: $375* plus textbook costs. Out-of-State Cost: $1800* plus textbooks costs. Scholarships are available!

*Cost includes the $300 Summer Institute charge and the individual course costs.

Audra Christie

Art History Instructor

Audra Christie (Onondaga, NY 1980) is a Maine based artist working with installation, fiber art, printmaking and socially engaged art. Christie received her BFA in Interdisciplinary fine arts with a concentration in the visual arts at the University of Maine at Machias in 2003. She graduated with her MFA in studio art, at the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME, in May 2015. 

Christie’s work focuses on a variety of topics ranging from ethics, fiber craft, localism, conviviality, the rural and community. It takes place in formats that are widely varied including public installations, bingo, community dinners and other community based events. The presence of craft in some form is a key element in her work. Interaction with the physical presence of the materials is a personal, yet simultaneously shared experience. 

Christie also works with community as medium. The ability to create situations of collaboration is a skill she cultivates to bring people into her practice. Christie is co-founder of the Cherryfield Arts Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that offers free art workshops to the area’s community members.

Heather Hepler
Heather Hepler

Creative Writing Instructor

Heather Hepler is the award-winning author of several teen and tween books, including The Cupcake QueenScrambled Eggs at Midnight, and the forthcoming novel, We Were Beautiful. Her unique voice and quirky characters are what draw readers in, but the engaging stories and authentic emotion are what keep them.

Heather has been making up stories in her head for as long as she can remember. It was an amazing day when she realized that she could use her talent for good instead of evil. Now instead of making up outrageous stories to explain why her hands were dyed purple; what happened to the last cookie; or why she decided that spending twenty dollars on a talking fish was a good idea, she pours her creative energy into her novels.

Heather is also a dedicated athlete. She has competed in more than 100 triathlons, distance swimming and running events. She even completed an Ironman which she regularly says was the longest day of her life. She also loves yoga, hiking, and learning K-Pop choreography from YouTube videos.

Heather is also an avid animal lover. In addition to her giant Ragdoll cats and her Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, she and her son have sheltered many strays over the years, helping them on their way to finding their forever homes.


  • B.A. University of Nevada at Reno
  • MLIS  University of North Texas
  • MFA University of Southern Maine

Areas of Expertise:  Creative writing, young adult and children’s literature, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, fairy tales, popular culture, and composition.

A full list of her books as well as more about Heather can be found by visiting her website:


  • We Were Beautiful (novel). Harper Collins, New York, New York, April 2019.
  • Frosted Kisses (novel). Scholastic. New York, New York, October 2015
  • Love? Maybe. (novel). Dial. New York, New York, January 2012.
  • The Cupcake Queen (novel). Dutton. New York, New York, October 2009.
  • Jars of Glass (novel). Dutton. New York, New York, October 2008.
  • Dream Factory (novel). Dutton. New York, New York, May 2007.
  • Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (novel).  Dutton.  New York, New York, May 2006.