Graphic Novel Making Contest 2019

Graphic Novel Making Contest Logo

Submit your graphic novel to the annual Graphic Novel Making Contest!

June 1 – July 31, 2019

If you have a talent for creating comic/Manga-style illustrated short stories, you are invited to enter San José Public Library’s Graphic Novel Making Contest for all ages as part of our 2019 Summer Learning Challenge.  

Submission Guidelines

  • Create your own comic book with a maximum length of 8 pages, including the cover page.
  • Use letter-size paper (8.5 x 11) with black-and-white drawings and text on one side only.
  • Each submission must be the creative and original work of the submitting author/illustrator. Any submissions with more than one author/illustrator will be considered a single entry judged under the age category of the oldest author/illustrator listed and will share any prizes possibly awarded.
  • The contest is limited to amateur authors/ illustrators only.
  • Computer generated images are acceptable as long as they are your original work (no clip art)
  • Consider submitting a photocopy that is an accurate reflection of the original (we cannot guarantee that submissions will be returned).
  • San José Public Library reserves the right to reproduce your work. You can reuse all your work after the contest.
  • Print and complete the Graphic Novel Making Contest Entry Form and the Photo / Creative Works Release Form (en español). Forms turned in without the Photo/Creative Works Release Form will be ineligible.
  • Entries can be submitted to any San José Public Library location no later than 7:00 PM on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
  • Entries can also be submitted through our online portal or via email to as a JPEG or PDF attachment. Digital entries can be submitted no later than 11:59 PM on Wednesday, July 31.
  • There is a limit of one entry per contestant.

Entries will be judged using a rubric scale covering the following: overall story, originality, creativity and illustrations; by a panel of library staff and community professionals. All cash prizes will be awarded as gift cards.

Age Groups and Prizes

  • Children ages 0-7: Gift and art supply baskets awarded for first, second and third place winners.
  • Children ages 8-9: Gift and art supply baskets awarded for first, second and third place winners.
  • Pre-Teens (10-12): Gift and art supply baskets awarded for first, second and third place winners.
  • Teens (13-17): First place $100; second place $75; third place $50
  • Adults (18+): First place $100; second place $75; third place $50

Awards Ceremony

Come celebrate the creative efforts of everyone who has participated in the 2019 Graphic Novel Making Contest.  To honor the amazing talent demonstrated in this program, guests will have the opportunity to view their original artwork on display, and all participants in attendance will receive prizes, a certificate, and a free graphic novel.  San José Public Library director Jill Bourne will be on hand to announce contest winners.  A guest speaker from the comic book industry will also be in attendance (more information to be announced). 

Seven Trees Branch Library
Community Center Banquet Hall
Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

All participants and family are invited to this event.  Light snacks and refreshments will be served. 

Past Entries

Check out the award winning entries from 2010-2017 at your local San José Public Library or in the Library’s catalog. UPDATE: 2018 winners are now featured on our BiblioBoard page! Check them out now!


San José Public Library staff members are ineligible to participate.

San José Public Library reserves the right to refuse submissions that are not appropriate for a general audience. This contest is open to all California residents.


can i use grey? And is it allowed for me to use a nonoriginal character as a design on an object rather than one of my comic characters? lastly do we have to put a title?

Yes, black, white, and all shades of gray are accepted! In terms of nonoriginal characters on objects, no, no copyrighted or trademarked content should be used. You may take inspiration from a trademarked concept, but refrain from copying it. As for a title, it is not mandatory, but many of our past winners have a title page or title panel along with the creator’s name to achieve a more polished comic. We hope that answers your questions.

also can i use references from internet?

Can you be more specific? How are you planning to use the references from the internet?

Do I have to use my real name on the comic, creative works release form, and entry form? Or can I use a pen name?

Hello, thank you for your question. You may use a pen name on your comic, but your real/legal name must be on the photo release form and entry form.

The submission guidelines say that I can submit my work through email or online with a printed photo/creative works release form. I’m planning to submit my work through online but I don’t know how to submit the photo/creative works release form online. If I have to turn the form in, is there any possible way to turn the form in with the artwork online?

Hello, thank you for your question. There are a couple ways you can add the photo release form to your digital submission. First, the form needs to be filled out. One option is by printing out the form, filling it out with a pen, and then scanning it to create a digital version of the competed form. Or if you have a pdf editor, you can fill out the form electronically, just make sure you are saving a completed form. If you are submitting by email (, add this file as an attachment to the email in addition to your comic entry. If you use the online portal ( the filled out entry/creative works release form must be one of the pages in your pdf, ePub2, or ePub3 comic entry. If you are unfamiliar with combining multiple documents into these file types, we recommend submitting via email as you can attach multiple files. We hope that answers your question.

Hi, So I was wondering, if I turn my entry in online, how do I turn in the Photos release form?

Hello, When and where can we see the 2019 submissions?

Hello, while we don't have a set date yet, we will be uploading the winning submissions and all digital submissions on Biblioboard shortly after the award ceremony on August 31st.

We couldn't make the ceremony where can we see the winners?

Hello, you may view the list of winner and winning submissions here!

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