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Adventures in Graphic Novels – The Beginning

It’s hard to know where to begin.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has come and hopefully is on its way out, I’m graduated from RMCAD Illustration (Children’s Books) and have been working freelance while writing and illustrating.

The conventions all got crushed by the pandemic; some virtual events happened in the second year and I had my first experiences doing virtual artists alleys, “The Art of Krister Eide”, and participating on panels for children’s books and graphic novels.

Graphic novels?  Yes, I’m thick in the process of writing and illustrating a graphic novel and after entering the Kid Lit GN Online even in May, I have a wonderful agent, Anna Olswanger.

What I am learning is that the genre of Graphic Novels has its distinctive aspects and opportunities – somewhere between animated films and children’s books and illustrated children’s books. The lines can also blur with comics books.  Graphic novels have a lot more pictures and a more cinematic feel that can give readers a more immersive feeling that they are in a different world.

At least at present, I’m not allowed to post pictures, but t least I can share some inspiration artists that I’ve come across in my new graphic novel deep dive.

First, Shaun Tan and his Arrivals:


The narrow color palette and meticulous frame-by-frame illustrations underscore the deliberate steps that father took to immigrate to a new country.

Mathieu Lauffray has a very cinematic layout style in his series of Long John Silver comics with Xavier Dorison:

Still different another take on the genre, Lorena Alvarez’s Hicotea:

I think one of the things I like best about graphic novels is their invitation to linger over pages.  Well-illustrated works have the reading and characters always moving throughout the world.

Compared to a 24 or 32-page picture book, there is more than can be said through images and text like filmmakers, graphic novel writer-illustrators can have more luxuries with time, focusing on small details of behavior, or signs of emotions or internal thinking. For dyslexic or English language learners, graphic novels can also provide more satisfying and evocative reads.

From the illustration perspective, the idea of having to write and draw so many pages can be overwhelming, but there are some tools that are making it easier. For my part, having some basic knowledge of 3d modeling and using a software like Clip Studio Paint make the job seem possible.

Graphic novels often have frequent shifts in perspective and extra panels in a sequence may slow events down or even speed things up in action scenes. So far worldwide audiences are embracing a wide variety of looks and stories in the graphic novel genre.

Do you have a graphic novel that you’d like to recommend?  If so, leave a note about it in the comments, I’d love to discover new illustrators and writers.

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Krister Eide Art