First Draft Episode #212: Jen Wang
Jen Wang, Eisner Award-winning author and illustrator of The Prince and the Dressmaker, In Real Life, and Koko Be Good stops by to talk about her new middle grade graphic novel, Stargazing.
Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
The seminal Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson was one of the only Western comics that Jen read as a young artist
In high school Jen started a webcomic called Strings of Fate and took is super seriously!
Jen’s first publishing experience was contributing to Flight, an anthology put together by her webcomic peers and edited by Kazu Kibuishi, who has gone on to author and illustrate the Amulet series, Copper, and he illustrated the re-release of the Harry Potter series.
Jen’s agent is Judy Hansen of the Hansen Literary Agency, who represents many of the top graphic artists and illustrators out there today
Jen’s first editor at First Second, Calista Brill (author in her own right of Tugboat Bill and the River Rescue, Cat Wishes, and Little Wing Learns to Fly) is still her editor today!
She was also fortunate to work with book designer Colleen AF Venable (also the author of Melvin the Sloth is About to Do the Best Thing in the World and while she was with First Second
After Jen’s first book, she adapted “IRL,” a short story for Cory Doctorow, one of the founders of BoingBoing and author of Little Brother and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
One of her freelance cartoon jobs was illustrating Tom Angleberger’s books, including Tom Angleberger’s Fake Mustache.
Veronica Roth’s new collection of short stories, The End and Other Beginnings: Stories From the Future, has one of the best titles ever, IMO (hear her First Draft interviews here and here)
In 2019, Jen was awarded multiple Eisner Awards, for best writer/artist, and for best publication for teens.
Jen enlisted the help of her friend, Lark Pien -- colorist for books like Printz-winning American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, written and illustrated by MacArthur Fellow Gene Luen Yang -- to work on Stargazing and help her get the book in on time.
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