The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is proud to have published three Graphic Novels in 2021, by four young and talented Indigenous authors and illustrators. Laura, Alyssa, Declan and Seraphina reflect and talk about their stories and what these books mean to them.
Lauren Boyle and Alyssa Mason’s Graphic Novel - Storm Warning
Lauren Boyle (left) and Alyssa Mason (right)
Author Lauren Boyle and illustrator Alyssa Mason collaborated on the incredibly successful Storm Warning. The novel is about zombies, natural disasters, climate change, human mistakes, and friendship. Alyssa, Lauren and Seraphina are the first ever published Aboriginal Australian, female graphic novelists.
Lauren - Skai is based on how I would like to be. She's strong and courageous and a good leader. I got the idea to use a storm as a basis for my story when Adelaide was going through one of its worst recorded storms. I was really bored and was harassing my dad and he told me to write him a story using the storm as inspiration.
How do you Write a Graphic Novel?
Alyssa - Firstly, Lauren will write a script and brief description of the characters and then I draw the characters in different angels and emotions. Then I start thumbnailing each page.
I then move onto inking using my tablet to go over the rough sketches of each page. Colouring and shading can be a nightmare, but it’s worth it in the end.
A Story Created through Friendship
Lauren - This wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Alyssa and her amazing artistic talents! It was also good having our whole group because I've gotten some amazing ideas for the story by bouncing ideas off of each other.
Alyssa - Working with other artists was, without a doubt, the best experience in my life. Being there and working with people of the same interests as me was the most comforting and rewarding experience for me. It was like working together as a small family of close friends.
Declan Miller’s Graphic Novel - Mixed Feelings
Declan Miller is the second Aboriginal male ever to be a published graphic novelist. His graphic novel, Mixed Feelings, is about the rich and diverse culture of Alice Springs.
When I created Pam, I wanted a character that stood out, I wanted a character that gave in to certain things to be popular. I wanted her to feel like she wanted to run away at the drop of a hat, to a different world.
How Graphic Novels Helped with Dyslexia
In Year 9 I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Since an early age I have loved telling stories, but because I found it hard to tell stories with words on paper I moved my love of storytelling to art and public speaking.
I showed my teachers my graphic novels to show that I can communicate ideas. Graphic novels require a lot of different skills and abilities to create them, they are not just images with text added.
If a student struggles with reading like I did, graphic novels can show them that they don't just have to be good at reading and writing, that there are different ways to express yourself.
This is an opportunity to give students options. As I write graphic novels my reading and writing skills are improving as I need to write and script my work.
Working with Mentors
I dream of meeting people that share the same passion, creativity and drive I have. Meeting people who get paid to do what I love makes me so excited and determined to continue making comics and telling stories.
Seraphina Newberry’s Graphic Novel - Exo Dimensions
Seaphina Newberry is from Alice Springs and wrote and illustrated Exo Dimensions. Her story demonstrates the side of families that people do not often wish to see, with a sci-fi twist and a cultural reference.
The Main Character, Dilan
Originally, when we were all in school together, Lauren drew a little jelly figure/stick figure of a character with an eye-patch. That is what inspired my main character, Dilan.
Getting Inspired - Where Influence Comes From
I was influenced by Brenton McKenna when he showed me how to draw zombies and mutants. The rest of the characters are influenced by the movie Mad Max. This inspired how the characters look rugged, living in the Australian desert.
The Role of Thriller and Sci-Fi Movies
Thriller and Sci-Fi movies have been a great inspiration for me. I love a good plot twist with an interesting story arch. I like to read original scripts where the unexpected happens. Some of my favourite movies are ‘Don’t Let Go’ (1919) and ‘The Wretched’ (2019).
How to Create a Graphic Novel
I draw my initial ideas and characters first. I then write the script, draw the panels and add what is happening from my initial sketches.
Stickmob is like a family. We connect through our art, stories, and humour. We enjoy each other’s company and look out for each other.
We share story and character ideas to decide on what type of panel and layout suits our story style.
Stickmob with mentors Wolfgang and Brenton.
To learn more about the graphic novels, download the teacher’s resource and more, click here.