The Stanford Graphic Novel Project 2019

The two-quarter creative nonfiction and illustration intensive.

Flying Kites: A Story of the 2013 California Prison Hunger Strike

The full book, now in its second printing, is available to read for free online here, or purchase as a hardcopy here.

Shortlisted for The Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic of the Year from the Center for Cartoon Studies and Slate magazine.

"One of the best pieces of graphic storytelling I have read in a while, on top of being about a topic close to my heart. Truly, it was brilliant.”
— Thi Bui, author of 
The Best We Could Do.

20 weeks. 11 students. 1 book.

During this two-quarter course, I dove into the world of comics. This dive both enhanced my love for the medium and grew my ability to generate ideas, listen, and collaborate on large-scale projects, leaving with an intimate knowledge of the power of communication and storytelling. 

 In the first quarter, our class learned about comic book mechanics while reading and discussing different works of illustrated storytelling. During this time, we also created our own mini comics, and in the process learned about panel blocking, narrative flow, and the power of a page turn. 

After becoming more comfortable with the medium of comic books, each student pitched an idea for the collaborative novel and we chose to bring to life the story and the struggles of the prisoners in solitary confinement. The remaining time was spent writing, thumbnailing, penciling, inking, then digitally remastering and coloring the pages on Photoshop, and finally adding and editing the dialogue using InDesign. 

The Making Of

Creating a comic in this setting was a highly collaborative experience, with each phase completed by a different person with class review and feedback every step of the way.

On the right is a thumbnail, or the skeleton of a page.

Pencil and ink on Bristol board

Ink after Photoshop touch up

Final page with color and text

Fresh Off the Press

The People That Made It Happen

Candice Kim, Katherine Liu, Lily Nilipour, Sarah Shourd, Lucy Zhu, Peter DiCampo, Danial Shadmany, Nik Wesson, Serena Zhang, Sharon Tran, Luke Soon-Shiong, Bae, Scott Hutchins, Shimon Tanaka, and Andy Warner.

So many good memories with this team.

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