Winners of the 2021 Graphic Novel Making Contest

San José Public Library Graphic Novel Making Contest Logo, text coming out of a comic bubble with a pencil to the side.

Virtual Awards Ceremony

The 13th annual Graphic Novel Making Contest Awards Ceremony was hosted by San José Public Library Director, Jill Bourne, via Zoom on August 28, 2021. This year’s contest featured 193 submissions by 202 participants. Digital copies of this year's entries can be viewed on BiblioBoard.

Throughout the Summer of 2021, the Graphic Novel Making Contest Committee was able to host over 60 virtual programs, with over 1,200 participants. These programs were designed to encourage and develop illustrative storytelling to help prepare those wanting to submit an entry to the 2021 Graphic Novel Making Contest do so. The final program of the Graphic Novel Making Contest was our Virtual Awards Ceremony, where we heard from four industry leaders about their journey into graphic novels and comics, as well as sage advice on overcoming difficulties in creativity. Over 160 households were able to join us for the live-stream ceremony. If you missed it, you can view the recording of the 2021 Graphic Novel Making Contest Virtual Awards Ceremony on YouTube.


Guest Speakers

Every Awards Ceremony, the Graphic Novel Making Contest Committee strives to bring influential guest speakers to inspire the San José community. Here were this year's guest speakers.

Self-portrait of Lissa Treiman in a cartoon style, sitting with one hand in her lap and one hand supporting her head.
Lissa Treiman

Lissa Treiman

Lissa Treiman was our first guest speaker of the ceremony. Treiman is the comic artist for the Eisner award winning series Giant Days. She currently works for Disney Animation as a a storyboard artist and has worked on such titles as: Raya and the Last Dragon, Frozen II, Zootopia, Big Hero 6, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. During her presentation, Lissa took us on her art journey and how being a storyboard artist can mean publishing comics and directing major animation projects.

L.L. McKinney and Robin Smith, L.L. McKinney is sitting on a chair backwards, smiling and Robyn Smith is looking off into the distance, smiling.
L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith

L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith

Both L.L. (Elle) McKinney and Robyn Smith were our next two guest speakers. They worked together on the recent DC Comic publication of Nubia: Real One. Individually, they spoke about their professional journey, Robyn as an illustrator and comic artist from Jamaica, and Elle as a YA series author and merging into comics.

L.L. McKinney is a writer for DC Comics, including Nubia: Real One and Future State: Wonder Woman, as well as the YA Series, A Blade so Black Trilogy. 

Robyn Smith illustrated Nubia: Real One and has worked on comics for College Humor, Nike, and The Nib.

Author E. Lockhart standing with arms crossed low and smiling with red lipstick.
E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart

Our final guest speaker of the Virtual Awards Ceremony was author, E. Lockhart. Going by her pen name, Lockhart has written several children's picture books and young adult fiction. She recently published Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero, her first graphic novel. Lockhart spoke on how she views storytelling and being a writer, as well as a little advice for parents encouraging their children.

Winners of the 2021 Graphic Novel Making Contest

And now, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 13th Annual Graphic Novel Making Contest by their age group:

Children (0-7)

  • First Place: Mark Ramanovich for My Round Parrot
  • Second Place: Sucheth Mahadevan for The Swirling Catastrophe
  • Third Place: Seth J. Jung for Scientist Unicorn
  • Honorable Mention: Vivi Milan for The Marble-ous Adventures of the Marble
  • Honorable Mention: Aarav Gupta for ROCCO's First Day of the School

Children (8-9)

  • First Place: Audrielle Walter for Warrior Baby
  • Second Place: Jasmine Jian for Volcano Miro and the Balloon Fairies
  • Third Place: Oliver Yau for The Ninja Strikes Back
  • Honorable Mention: Hsing-Yu Liu for Leo and the Great Wave
  • Honorable Mention: Emma Chung for The Bake Off

Pre-Teen (10-12)

  • First Place: Veronika Yakovets for The Key to Time
  • Second Place: Samvith Mahadevan for The 3 Marsketeers - A Mystery on Mars
  • Third Place: Eiya Lee Miller for To Save the Earth
  • Honorable Mention: Tisha Prasad for The Ultimate Back-to-School Guide
  • Honorable Mention: Lucia Nguyen for Stand Up

Teen (13-17)

  • First Place: Allison Young for A Tale of Two Letters
  • Second Place: Grace Jin for Thanks, Dad!!
  • Third Place: Xiomara Guevara for Magic Stuff
  • Honorable Mention: Natalie Walter for Satan's My College Roommate!
  • Honorable Mention: Hosu Lee & John Ryu for The Floor is the Sky

Adult (18+)

  • First Place: Janvi Ramchandra for Your Love Language
  • Second Place: Gilbert Armendariz for Albert the Dog - Race Dog
  • Third Place: Homochromatic Rabbit for Luna Goes Out
  • Honorable Mention: Laura Allison Click for Seal Stitching
DC Comic Logo, Sakura of America Logo, San Jose Public Library Foundation Logo, Illusive Comics & Games Logo, San Jose Museum of Art Logo
Our 2021 Sponsors

Sponsors & Special Thanks

A big thank you to this year's generous sponsors! We were able to provide prizes for the winners, as well as graphic novels and museum tickets for every participants thanks to the following: Sakura of America, DC Comics, San Jose Museum of Arts, Illusive Comics and Games, and the San Jose Public Library Foundation.

A special thank you goes out to Jennifer Fuglevand of DC Comics, our Community Judges, and San José Public Library staff who helped make this contest a success.

Blog Category
Graphic Novels

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