My graphic novel “Queen of Hearts” is catalogued into the Brooklyn Art Library. It is part of their Sketchbook Project, which is a constantly evolving collection of artists’ sketchbooks from around the globe. I was pretty excited when I received my blank sketchbook but holding the completed novel in my hands is beyond amazing. You can check out my book online here: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/library/18954
My story is set in a post-apocalyptic world. It is the personal journal of a girl, called Entropy, which grew up surrounded by death, danger and desperation. Her mother does her best to protect her from monsters and the toxic city. But Entropy develops her own value system and way of looking at the world rather than believing what her mother told her. Unlike her mother, she is a wanderer, on a search for herself and the truth. Entropy is facing her demons and I really believe in her. She is a character who is capable of guiding people in their personal journey and I wanted to share that with others.
I tried to bring the reader into Entropy’s mind. Her artistic tools are very limited, since she is living during the end of the world. My graphic novel mimics the experience of a found sketchbook, ink pens and watercolors for her journaling. I developed a new style with very reduced colors to bring her story quickly to life.
Entropy is basically having a visual conversation with herself. Through the process of creating my graphic novel, I thought of it less as traditional journal writing and more like creating Entropy’s memoir. Perhaps needless to say, I couldn’t do edits and changes along the way, because I worked directly on paper – just like Entropy would do. I wrote my story before I started drawing it. All my pages are planned out as double pages, so I was able to control the mood better. I worked hard to get each stage right before moving on to the next panel. That means I have made many studies of the anatomy of my characters and I played around with different perspectives. I love using unusual perspectives to create visually interesting scenes. I was thinking in pictures all the time. How could I tell Entropy’s story with as few words as needed? The text came last. I didn’t think much about the placement, except of not drawing the background to detailed.
I enjoyed this process and feel comfortable. I am planning to write my second book at the end of this year. The most important thing for me is to make sure that the story has depth – a beginning that hooks the reader, engaging characters, a tense plot and an interesting ending. You have to be faithful to yourself that you can write an authentic story. I have to ask myself questions again and again, trying to find answers for my characters that they can become heroes.
At Brooklyn Art Library my graphic novel became a barcode, got digitized for online viewing, and is now displayed in its permanent collection. The library toured its completed sketchbooks this summer and exhibited them in galleries across the US. It was very nice to see people reading my book and reacting to it. I get a notification each time someone borrows it from the library.