Recap and Winners of the 2022 Graphic Novel Making Contest

Virtual Awards Ceremony

The 14th annual Graphic Novel Making Contest Awards Ceremony was hosted by San José Public Library Deputy Director of Public Services, Michelle Ornat, via Zoom on September 10th, 2022. This year’s contest featured 214 submissions by 223 participants. Digital copies of this year's entries can be viewed on BiblioBoard.

Throughout the Summer of 2022, the Graphic Novel Making Contest Committee was able to host over 63 virtual programs, with over 1,000 participants. These programs were designed to encourage and develop illustrative storytelling to help prepare those wanting to submit an entry to the 2022 Graphic Novel Making Contest do so. Additionally, SJPL branches distributed 970 sketchbook kits to our aspiring artists.

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. You can view the Awards Ceremony recording below.

Watch Parties

Select SJPL locations hosted Watch Parties, which live-streamed the Awards Ceremony and offered snacks, photo ops, and other fun activities. Watch Party locations were Bascom, Berryessa, Calabazas, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Teen HQ), Santa Teresa, Tully, Village Square, and Vineland.

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:

Amanda Castillo was the first speaker of the ceremony. Amanda is a comic artist, illustrator, and storyteller, born and raised in the Bay Area in California (unceded Ohlone land). Having grown up inspired by piles of manga, games about friendship and adventure, and the endless wonders of California's natural world, they went on to study illustration to hone a skillset to tell warm and heartfelt stories that could be enjoyed and remembered by someone like you! Currently, they are the artist of the MAPMAKERS series.

Our next speaker was Dana Claire Simpson. Dana grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington, drawing the entire time. From 1998 to 2008, she drew the internet comic strip Ozy and Millie. After she won the Comic Strip Superstar Contest in 2009, she signed a development deal for a new strip called Heavenly Nostrils, which was later renamed Phoebe and Her Unicorn. It's now syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, and has been collected in 15 bestselling books. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her spouse and her cat.

Next we heard from Josh Trujillo, a writer, editor, and narrative designer based in Los Angeles. He has worked with Marvel, HBO, Netflix, and DC Comics, and has written for numerous series, including Adventure Time and Rick and Morty. Trujillo is the creator of the colorful children's book Lost Beast, Found Friend, the sports comedy Dodge City, and the romance anthology Love Machines. His work spans different genres and audiences, including children's fiction, superheroes, history, gaming, and queer issues.

Our final speaker was Malaka Gharib. Malaka is the author of I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir, winner of the 2020 Arab American Book Award. Her new graphic memoir It Won't Always Be Like This is coming out in September 2022. By day, she works on NPR's science desk, reporting on global health and development topics such as humanitarian aid and gender and income inequality.

Winners of the 2022 Graphic Novel Making Contest

And now, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 14th Annual Graphic Novel Making Contest by age category:

Children (0-7)

  • First Place: Kyle Do for The Dream to Vietnam
  • Second Place: Luke Ma for Juno is a Monster
  • Third Place: Sasha Arone for The Chilli and His Friends Paint Together
  • Honorable Mention: Eleanor Sugie Schneider for A Crow
  • Honorable Mention: Kazuki Hudson for Kawaii Cube

Children (8-9)

  • First Place: Aishani Vinod for Who’s the Greatest?
  • Second Place: Navneeth Sreeder for Dino World
  • Third Place: Bella Chang for Sunny Daycare, Star’s Prize Return
  • Honorable Mention: Peng-Xiang Mao for Oh no!
  • Honorable Mention: Mila Bruennert for Nostalgia

Pre-Teen (10-12)

  • First Place: Oliver Yau for Octopus Invader
  • Second Place: Audrielle Walter for Tau
  • Third Place: Abigail Yi-Man Lai for Marsh the Friendly Ghost
  • Honorable Mention: Abigail Saenal Jung for Tokki and Horangi
  • Honorable Mention: Easha Sreeder for 4-Square Friends

Teen (13-17)

  • First Place: Veronika Yakovets for The Spark in my Life
  • Second Place: Taylor Pham for Our Time Here
  • Third Place: Emma Yen for My Definition of Music
  • Honorable Mention: Natalie Walter for The Knight’s Pizzeria
  • Honorable Mention: Lin Ho for Home is Where You Are

Adult (18+)

  • First Place: Anna Thao Bich Nguyen for The Depression Came
  • Second Place: Catrina Yuan for Cryptid Contact, Feat. The Fresno Nightcrawler
  • Third Place: Zhanna Ramanovich for Master of the Forest
  • Honorable Mention: James Day & Samuel Kim for Bootstrap

Cosplay on Display

We also highlighted our first annual Cosplay on Display! Below is a sample of some of our creative local cosplayers, all featuring an SJPL library card. You can view all of the Cosplay on Display entries in a digital collection on Biblioboard.

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 participant thanks to the following: Sakura of America, San Jose Museum of Arts, Penguin Young Readers, Algonquin Young Reads, Oni Press, Illusive Comics and Games, and the San Jose Public Library Foundation.

A special thank you goes out to our Community Judges and San José Public Library staff who helped make this contest a success!