Do you want to make your own graphic novel? Here's your chance.
The trend of superhero films has inspired more curiosity into the world of graphic novels – stories told in comic-book format.
Though graphic novels are often associated with tales of heroes and villains, the market is full of much more.
Newark resident and artist Yolanda Chetwynd, who’s made her own graphic novels, will give children the creative chance to make their own at her Aug. 13 workshop at the Biggs Museum of American Art.
Chetwynd’s first graphic novel she created was “Invasion,” a book that tells the story of her grandmother who lived during Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's reign.
Earlier this year, the Newark artist won the Delaware Division of the Arts’ Masters Fellowship Award. It’s the highest honor for a Delaware artist.
For the award, Chetwynd submitted 10 paintings that ranged from Greek mythology and self portraits to themes of India. She earned a $10,000 grant to support her endeavors.
Chetwynd and 17 other DDA artists will feature their work in the Award Winners show at the Biggs, from Aug. 4 to Oct. 22.
Can you give us an overview of your workshop?
Participants are going to have written an idea for a story, and then we’re going to think about blocking out that story and how to [introduce it] as a graphic novel. I’ll have pre-made stencils and they can draw the amount of panels they need and start filling them out. I’ll show them various techniques they can use to make their graphic novel more professional, such as laying out letters.
I’ll have special black markers so it’ll be easier to make the drawings. And I’ll be encouraging them to go for it and try out different ideas and see how they work, because graphic novels are sort of like handwriting. They’re a mixture between drawing and handwriting. Your personality really expresses itself in the actual drawings. So it doesn’t really matter how good or bad you are at drawing, or even at writing. What really works is if you can propel the story forward.
How did you start creating graphic novels?
I’ve done quite a few. I’m really an artist who does traditional oil paintings and things like that. But my uncle encouraged me to do the graphic novel “Invasion.” I did a little graphic novel for him as a thank-you present.
I don’t know if you know Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” graphic novel about the Holocaust. It’s a fantastic book where he has all the people who are Jewish as mice; and he is Jewish himself. But then all of the Nazis are cats, Americans are dogs, the Polish are pigs and various things like that.
He tells the story about his father’s family, and both his parents actually were in concentration camps, survived that, and came to America after that. It’s kind of heavy subject matter, but it’s told in this really charming way where he comes from this time in the present and then goes back to the past and tells the different stories through the graphic novel.
For my uncle, I wanted to do something similar. So I did this graphic novel and it’s on my website, yolandachetwynd.com.
Every child draws. But how have you managed to stick with it?
I have dyslexia, so it was kind of easy and natural for me to spend my whole life drawing. I have tons of things to say, but it’s really hard for me to write them down. So I just found myself naturally spending all my time drawing. So I have many sketch books and I’m always filling them up.
What advantages does dyslexia give you?
I can turn things in my head three-dimensionally and see them from different points of view. I remember someone saying dominant right-brains do this; and it’s very true for me.