Personal profile

Academic Biography

Julian Lawrence is an award-winning cartoonist and educator specializing in comic books. Born in England and raised bilingual English-French in Québec, his work has been published and displayed internationally by Fantagraphics Books, Les Editions des Plaines, Conundrum Press, National Film Board of Canada, Penguin Books, Cartoon Network and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Julian’s work concentrates on the undercurrents of communication through gesture in the medium of comics. His research explores freehand narrative drawing and its impact on representations of artist identity. Investigations of these topics led him to combine theories of authorship with semiotic analysis of comics. This combination constitutes a large focus of Julian’s art/research/teaching practice. His most recent works include the publication of two graphic novels: Drippy’s Mama and The Red Drip of Courage, as well as contributions to the book The Bliss and Blisters of Early Career Teaching: A Pan-Canadian Perspective and SANE Journal: Sequential Art Narrative in Education. Julian lives in Middlesbrough, UK where he works as a Senior Lecturer in Comics and Graphic Novels at Teesside University.

External Research Collaborations

Lawrence employs comics as both research methodology and output through comics-based research (Kuttner et al., 2020). This use of comics in pedagogical research is a growing phenomenon because “comics… present a means of fostering comprehension of pluralistic points of view” (Jones & Woglom, 2013, p. 187). It was first used by Lawrence when at the University of British Columbia, to investigate new teachers’ experiences of the profession. Here, Lawrence was invited by Dr Rita Irwin to collaborate on a Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project, Pedagogical Assemblage: Building and Sustaining Teacher Capacity through Mentoring Programs in British Columbia 2014-2017. The resulting comics revealed teachers’ unique professional experiences that entangle past memories and future aspirations, providing support for building knowledge. They were featured in several venues, including professional magazines, conference presentations, and a chapter in an edited textbook.

Additionally, a micro-analysis to showcase the collaborative research process undertaken to transform teachers’ stories into comics, was presented in the peer-reviewed article “Images, Speech Balloons and Artful Representation” in the journal Sequential Art Narratives in Education (SANE). Lawrence was lead writer on this article following an invitation by co-authors Dr Rita Irwin and Dr Ching-Chiu Lin. The article also discussed findings regarding the ways comics present unique forms for contextualising multifaceted ethnographies, within the wider education community.


By leading the Art and Design element of the project and as lead author on the subsequent article, Lawrence helped provoke new possibilities of comics through research in teacher mentorship. The project has opened up new spaces for arts-based educational research in the global educational arena. For example, in a recent study of school bullying in Russia, educational researchers Khanolainen and Semenova (2020) write “When designing our graphic vignettes, we drew upon the comics-based method created by Lawrence”.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Secret identities in the classroom : negotiating conceptions of identity with comics and bilingual grade four students, University of British Columbia

1 Sept 20141 May 2017

Award Date: 1 May 2017

External positions

Artist/Educator, The StART Studio UK

1 Jun 2018 → …

Artist/Educator, ArtStarts in the Classroom

1 Sept 2009 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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