I have been an illustrator of children’s books for over 20 years, with 135-plus published titles: picture books, early readers, board books, and more. My hope for the future is to illustrate AND write literature for children. I enrolled in Hamline’s MFAC degree program to improve and polish my writing skills. In the first two semesters I focused on writing picture books and also wrote a short draft of a middle grade fantasy thriller, but it was in my third semester that I really found my writing voice. With the guidance of my brilliant advisor Gene Luen Yang, I wrote and illustrated a complete draft of a graphic novel for middle grade readers over the course of my final two semesters.
Note: My creative thesis is formatted according to publishing standards for a graphic novel script, so it’s presented in landscape orientation, with “Courier New” as the type face. Underlined words are meant to be considered as italics.
DRAWN is an illustrated graphic novel. It's a coming-of-age story beginning with the suicide of nine year old Becky’s father. What follows that life-changing event is the angst of being bullied in middle school, but it’s also colored by an emotionally withholding mother who focuses on the family’s need to be perfect to live down the shame of the suicide. Never without her notebook in which she draws constantly, Becky finds a friend in a lonely boy who shares her passion for art; their strong bond ultimately leads them to success at school and acceptance by their classmates. She finally confronts and makes peace with her mother.