Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 19, 2018

ASK CAT – Graphic Novels

On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Cat Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.



I’m beginning to think all the industry art ‘questions’ must be answered as we haven’t been getting any this past couple of months!!  I can always just write about the industry of course tapping into 25 years of experience…. but this IS “ ASK CAT.”  I’m here for question answering…..

So for this month, Christy suggested I write about something I know VERY VERY little about!  Odd right?  Graphic Novels. But she has a good point.  Almost everywhere we go with our visits, this genre will come up as so many publishers are looking for artists who are comfortable with this format.  It’s rather like ‘story boarding’ but with more design variations, great character building, and interest.  It’s a lot like comics, but with various types of stories for various ages. Not just super heroes!

We want to encourage you artists to dip your toe into this area/genre if you have ANY interest or curiosity about it at all.   It’s relatively new, it’s different and it’s HOT with most publishers we’ve talked to!  And no one really knows very much about it! …not even the publishers by their own admission. So you can help ‘create’ the look, and the intention and the end result.  How fun is that?

So it seems an interesting place to play a bit!  It might just be perfect for illustrators who tend to strong ‘storytelling’ in each piece of their artwork, but don’t feel they are ‘Writers.’   Use the dialog boxes in the panel illustrations of the ‘graphic’ look to write/tell your story simply.  Very few words, but each panel leads you on in your story telling till you’ve created a written story! The reader experiences the same ‘lead ins.’ There is much experimentation in this area due to the great interest in it.  It’s not only for the middle or teen ages either.  How about a board book utilizing simple speech bubbles maybe in a minimal panel format to lead and train the young eye? Great fun for toddler and parent.   Great also for early readers, 5-7, I’d think, as ‘comics’ have long been used to encourage ‘reluctant readers.’  Readers can focus on the bubble with short text, while gleaming the meaning from the various panel illustrations.  Bringing the story and the images into panel design makes the ‘reading’ more fun perhaps?

So if this summer has put you in the mood for ‘something’ different, perhaps tap into this potentially big market where the ‘rules’ are being written daily….or in fact barely exist, and you can contribute something new!  Go look at what IS being published in this area, and then change it up!  Like I said at the beginning, I know VERY little about this topic.  I have NO ANSWERS…. just encouragement to PLAY!  Now isn’t that freeing for all of us!  enjoy…..

And DO write us with your real questions…(not about Graphic Novels obviously!)

Christina Tugeau
The CAT Agency Inc.

Thank you Chris for another great article. I am sure it will help many in the illustrating community. 

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.


Hope this illustration by Adelina Lirius (http://adelinalirius.comwill inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. 

Send them to kathy(dot) and put ASK CAT in the Subject Area.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I am in AWE of graphic novelists because of the amount of artwork that’s required. Unbelievable! And there’s SUCH a calling for them—kids are eating them up!


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