Graphic novelist visits SJC

Recently, famous graphic novelist Gareth Hinds spoke to Mrs. Gelso’s AP Language and Composition class. They recently finished reading his graphic novel adaptation of Beowulf. Mrs. Gelso invited him to speak to her class about himself, his writing process, and tips for aspiring illustrators.

Gareth Hinds grew up loving drawing. At a young age he realized that he didn’t like adding words to his drawings. In middle school he starting making full-on comics and by high school he was getting featured in his school newspaper.

Throughout his life, he made graphic novel adaptations of several classics by famous authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, and Homer. His favorite and most successful one was his adaption of The Odyssey. He self-published Beowulf as a three part series, eventually making it into one book. He would go to teacher conferences to promote his book. English teachers found his Beowulf graphic novel to be very helpful in helping students understand the novel. The sudden spur of English teachers using his book led to publishers becoming more aware of him.

Students in Mrs. Gelso’s AP Language and Composition believed that Hind’s graphic novel adaptation of Beowulf helped them in understanding the complexities of the 3000 word poem. Eva Doomes ’23 said the graphic novel “simplified the text in a way that helped [her] take in [the surplus] of information in the poem”. Another junior, Breana Alcantara, emphasized that Hinds’ work “gave visuals to the poem’s confusing nature.”

Towards the end of Gareth Hinds talk, he gave advice to aspiring illustrators:

  1. Get a Notebook

Notebooks are used to quickly capture ideas and drawings. Having one can encourage people to draw whenever they can.

2.   Practice

Sketch anything you see. If you are just walking in the park and you see a bird or anything interesting, draw it. Constantly drawing is the only way to practice and get better.

3.   Books

Hinds recommended two books to help aspiring illustrators in making comics. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud and Making Comics by Scott McCloud were two books that helped him a lot.

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