Dream, Write, Draw: Connecting Children with Graphic Novels
Friday, March 5 • 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Join us for a celebration of comic creators whose innovative ideas might just inspire you to develop your own creative project. Enjoy a fun afternoon of live draw demonstrations, studio tours, and much more, and have an opportunity to win a free book by one of our presenters. This program is intended for all children in grades 3-6, their educators, and their families.
Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright
Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which was named a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book among other accolades. His middle grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist, has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. His most recent book is the graphic novel Twins, which has been on numerous best book of 2020 lists and has been a recipient of five starred reviews.
Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist based out of Richmond, Virginia. Some of her clients include The Guardian, TIME Magazine, NY Times, Mother Jones, NPR, Google and Scholastic. Her debut graphic novel, Twins, is out on shelves now. Shannon makes personal and original stories invoking nostalgia rooted from her own childhood and life around her, but ultimately, she likes capturing joyous moments.
Michael Yates and Paul Downs
Michael Yates is a story artist and director living in Northern California. He currently works as a story artist at PIXAR Animation Studios where his credits include Soul, Toy Story 4, and Cars 3.
Before that, Michael worked on Guillermo Del Toro's Trollhunters at DreamWorks Animation Studios. His previous clients include Walt Disney Animation studios and the Cartoon Network series "Craig of the Creek".
Paul Downs is a screenwriter, animator and educator with seventeen years of experience spanning film, commercial and video game production.
Paul has written and developed projects for Cartoon Network, 20th Century Fox, and his animation credits include Robots, the Ice Age franchise, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, Rio, Spies in Disguise, the 2017 Oscar® nominated film Ferdinand as well as the two short films: Surviving Sid and the Oscar® nominated, No Time for Nuts. Paul and Michael both worked on Urban Legendz Vol. 1.
Chris Grine is a graduate of Ringling School of Art & Design and once upon a time greeting card artist. He is the creator of the Eisner-nominated series Chickenhare, as well as Time Shifters, and Secrets of Camp Whatever. Chris spends most of his time these days writing and illustrating graphic novels while being tired and drinking coffee in an attempt to not be so tired.
Darnell Johnson is a Miami native who discovered his passion for art while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a kid and now resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. Darnell pulled inspiration from his childhood, family, and friends to draw life into the characters for his picture book The Electric Slide and Kai with author Kelly Baptist. The art in his debut graphic novel, Power Up with author Sam Nisson has already received plenty of praise from reviewers. He hopes the lines, colors, and shapes he makes sparks the imagination of young readers.
Natalie Riess is an Austin TX - based cartoonist, colorist and illustrator. Natalie loves to draw food, nature, and horrible plant monsters. Her graphic novel series Space Battle Lunchtime about Earth baker Peony who becomes a contestant on the Universe's hottest reality TV show, Space Battle Lunchtime, has garnered much love from children and tweens. Her latest books include Snarlbear, and Dungeon Critters.