Below are all three images from my 2018 SCBWI Narrative Art Award entry. The theme is “Misunderstood Monsters” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

I had no intention of using my experimental charcoal sketches AS the finals. I’d bought the charcoals as part of my 100 Days Project, experimentally messing around with media and techniques. I thought the charcoals might be a step for loosening up my drawings and ideas before doing the finals in a more likely medium–  colored pencil or inks. I don’t think I’ve actually worked in charcoal in earnest since I graduated high school. But I saw that I was running out of time and personal projects always have the lowest priority.

Also, I’m pretty sure I bent the rules doing panels instead of single illustrations, and my image dimensions are woefully out of the standard. But I think that’s ok because I really did this for myself. I’ve had this story rattling around in my brain since February when it popped out of my head in Susanna Hill’s “Making Picture Book Magic” class.

Inspired by Caliban and Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest but set in the middle of the 20th century, this story is decidedly NOT a picture book. It’s probably better suited, at least, for middle grade. Since it’s about a boy who draws but doesn’t really read, I envision it formatted a little like Brian Selznick’s, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, interspersing images and story text. I hadn’t tried doing panel narrative illustration in, probably, about 20 years, so I wanted to see what I could do in a graphic novel format.

It was definitely a learning experience. I can see many things “wrong,” and things I’d like to neaten up or do better. I kind of feel like I’ve turned in a draft. But deadlines are deadlines. In general, I’m pleased with the results and what I learned from the process and that counts too.

The winner will be announced on November 17th.