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Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang on the Making of a Graphic Novel

When kids tell Author and Illustrator Gene Luen Yang they, too, want to be cartoonists, he half-jokes that they will have to give up all of their TV time and half of their friends. Writing graphic novels is extremely labor intensive. Mr. Yang starts by writing an outline of the full story, then writing a script, drawing thumbnail sketches of each page, then using pencils and inks for the illustrations, and finally loading his work on the computer for the final lettering and coloring processes. Even with his “simple” drawing style, a page can can 4-8 hours to complete.

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Gene Luen Yang

Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction, Graphic Novels

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. American Born Chinese  — a memoir about growing up as an Asian American — became the first graphic novel to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award and a National Book Award finalist. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints  won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. His other works include Dragon Hoops , the Secret Coders series  (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero  (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender  series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru) and Superman Smashes the Klan (with Gurihiru).

In 2016, Yang was named the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and selected as a MacArthur Fellow.