Submission Details

Saturday, June 1 – Wednesday, July 31, 2024

About the Contest

The Graphic Novel Making Contest (GNMC) was developed in 2008 as a teen program at a single branch library in recognition of growing interest in graphic novels and graphic arts. Inspired by participants’ enthusiasm and the quality of art, the contest grew into a system-wide annual tradition, open to participants of all ages and all California residents.

The contest concludes with an awards ceremony to celebrate the creative efforts of all participants, announce the contest winners, and offer inspirational messages from guest speakers in the comics industry.

Age Categories

  • 0-7
  • 8-9
  • 10-12
  • 13-17
  • 18+


Winners (1st-3rd) and Honorable Mentions:

  • All Age Groups: $25 gift card to Illusive Comics
  • Children, Pre-Teens, and Teen Honorable Mentions: Art supplies from Sakura of America (valued $25-$150+), a collection of graphic novels, and more!
  • Teens and Adults (1st-3rd Place): Gift cards ranging from $50 to $100 (1st place: $100, 2nd place: $75, 3rd place: $50), a collection of graphic novels, and more!

All Participants:

  • Choice of a graphic novel, an art museum pass, and more!
  • Feedback and a certificate for all eligible participants.

Graphic Novel Making Contest FAQs


  • Guidelines in Spanish                                                            Guidelines in Vietnamese

    San José Public Library’s Graphic Novel Making Contest is open to all California residents and participants of all ages.

    First, second and third place winners in every age group (0-7, 8-9, 10-12, 13-17, 18+) will be awarded a prize; up to two additional honorable mention winners may be selected in each age group. All cash prizes will be awarded as gift cards.

    Here’s how to enter …

    • Create your own comic book/graphic novel with a maximum length of 8 pages, including the cover page. Do not staple pages or create a book. Paper entries should be paper clipped together.
    • Use letter-size paper (8.5 x 11”) with black-and-white drawings on single-sided pages 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 awarded prizes.
    • The contest is limited to amateur authors/illustrators only.
    • Digital illustrations are acceptable as long as they are your original artwork. Use of computer generated images (via A.I. tools or clip art) or copyrighted material will be deemed ineligible.
    • Creators (of all age groups) should have limited assistance when it comes to the graphic novel they produce. Assistance should be limited to critiquing, feedback, proofreading, and spell checking.
    • Consider submitting a photocopy or digital scan that is an accurate reflection of the original work. San José Public Library cannot guarantee the return of paper submissions.
    • Submissions that are not appropriate for a general audience are ineligible for award.
    • San José Public Library reserves the right to reproduce your work. You can republish your work through a different platform after the contest.
    • Complete the Graphic Novel Making Contest Entry Form. Entries submitted without a complete Contest Entry Form will be ineligible. Entries with more than one author/illustrator must each provide a Graphic Novel Making Contest Entry Form with their submission.
    • Digital entries can be submitted on our website or emailed to as a PNG, JPG, or PDF attachment. Digital entries must be submitted no later than 11:59 PM on Wednesday, July 31, 2024. Please attached the Entry Form as a separate page from your entry.
    • Paper entries can be submitted to any operating San José Public Library location no later than end of business day on Wednesday, July 31, 2024.
    • Entries can be submitted in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese.
    • There is a limit of one entry per contestant or co-authored group.

    Entries will be judged using a rubric scale covering the following: overall story, originality, creativity and illustration by a panel of library staff and comic industry professionals. The detailed judging criteria and rubric used for this contest is available on our website in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Winners will be announced during an In-Person Award Ceremony. Please see our website below for more details on the day, time, and location.

    For more information, including FAQ’s and the judging criteria, please visit

    San José Public Library staff members are ineligible to participate.

  • Any amateur comic creator in the age ranges of 0-7, 8-9, 10-12, 13-17, 18+!

    San José Public Library staff members are not eligible 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.

    Unfortunately we do not have the resources to host a contest that would allow for entries submitted from outside of California. All eligible participants who want to receive their participation gift and any awarded prize will need to be able to claim their prize from a San José Public Library Location or at the Awards Ceremony location on the day of the Ceremony, in-person. Awarded prizes cannot be mailed. 

    Related Pages: Graphic Novel Making Contest

  • Your entire comic or graphic novel should not be longer than 8 total pages, single-sided.

    If you include a cover page, that page counts towards your 8 pages. Meaning the rest of your comic or graphic novel can be only 7 additional pages. 

    What about a back page? 

    You can also have a back page to your comic or graphic novel as long as it also counts towards the 8-page maximum of your comic or graphic novel. 

    Since the rules say that you can use a maximum of 8 pages, does that mean we can use the front and back? 

    For paper entries submitted in-person, we require single-sided pages so that when we scan your entry on your behalf, images from one side of the paper doesn’t appear on the other. To ensure the quality of your submission, do not use both sides of paper to create your comic or graphic novel. 

    Related Pages: Graphic Novel Making Contest

  • Yes!

    You can use up to 8 pages to tell the story you need to tell. Lots of comics and graphic novels have received high praise from judges at fewer than 8 pages. 

    Related Pages: Graphic Novel Making Contest

  • No.

    To be eligible, your entry must have the dimensions of an 8.5”x11”, letter-sized page. Your artwork and storytelling do not have to take up the full space, but each page should meet the dimensions listed in the guidelines. 

    Can my submission use A4 or legal-size paper? 

    No, the Guidelines for submission are strict on paper size. Only standard letter-size, 8.5” x 11” paper can be used, with a maximum of 8 pages, single-sided. 

    Related Pages: Graphic Novel Making Contest

Comic Creation Resources

Creating Comics: Books for Teens & Adults

No matter your skill level, we have comic creation resources for everyone!

Creating Comics: Books for Kids

Collection of books that cover many aspects of creating your own comic!

Access Comics and Graphic Novels Online with our eResources!

You can access Comics and Graphic Novels at home with San Jose Public Library's eResources.

Latest Blogs

Pride Month: LGBTQIA+ Representation in Comics!

Comics are for everyone! Find yourself in this list of Queer comics.
Brain with sprouting flowers. Text: Mental Health Awareness Graphic Novels.

Graphic Novels for Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health plays an important role in our overall well-being. Find more about this topic in these eight graphic novels!

Upcoming Graphic Novel Events

Award Ceremony

Winners will be announced at the Graphic Novel Making Contest Awards Ceremony. All participants are invited to the Awards Ceremony to celebrate you achievement and pick up prizes. Participants will be able to pick up their prize at the Awards Ceremony or the SJPL location of their choice.

Date: Saturday, September 7th, 2024

Time: 2-4PM

Address: San José City Hall - Council Chambers & Rotunda

200 E. Santa Clara Street San Jose, CA 95112

Validated parking details to come. Check back for more details

New Graphic Novels

New Graphic Novels

Cosplay on Display

Cosplay on Display

San José Public Library presents Cosplay On Display to celebrate the creative ingenuity that is costume play, or cosplay, in our community!

Sponsors and Partners

Thanks to these wonderful organizations. They have partnered with the Graphic Novel Making Contest to provide prizes and gifts for our participants.

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