Tuesday, December 1, 2009

new audience

I've embarked on several new projects, two of which are especially interesting because they're geared towards audiences I haven't previously worked for. I think most of my work is generally consumed by teenagers and young adults, but with these two projects the intended audience is children and parents, the second project specifically being parents of adolescents.

Illustrating a children's book isn't exactly a new idea, but it's a new demographic for me. I think it'll be a challenge, simply because when I remember storybooks I read as a little kid, the story itself takes a back seat to the images, which stick with you much longer. As a kid, pictures are the words, whereas artwork maybe carries less importance when you get older. How many books or films are poorly displayed visually but memorable because of story? Working for children's eyes, I think the formula is reversed. You could tell a ridiculous or horrible story, but good or memorable illustration can make it appealing. (Not saying this story is necessarily horrible or ridiculous, heh)

On the flip side, making an educational or helpful graphic novel for parents of teens is another challenge altogether. With The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, there was a wider potential for readership based on the premise of the book, which was a career guide, and the lessons were rather broad. This new work focuses on parents who are experiencing teenage rebellion for the first time, or for the first time in a dynamic way that demonstrates lack of control and a rift of understanding between parents and children--definitely a largely untapped market as far as graphic novels go. I wonder if such an age group is receptive to this sort of work. The thirtysomethings and fortysomethings of today might go for it; I'm just shy of 30 myself and still love picturebooks.


  1. Cool to hear that you're trying to branch out into new territory. The parents of teens is new on me, though I know there are books for that demographic.

    Really all I can say is good luck. I'm rooting for ya.

  2. Well, all any of us can do is wish you the utmost luck in your aspiration to reach greater diversity in your audience.

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  4. Yes, indeed - I'll vote for parents of teens as receptive to information presented in graphic form. As a parent of 2 tweens, a psychologist, and a lover of graphic novels, I think this is a great idea. "Johnny Bunko" is a superb teaching tool for career development and exploration - I can get people to read it more readily than conventional texts. They understand the themes, remember them and can apply the ideas in our discussions.

    Presenting information in a “mixed media” format just makes sense. As human beings, we have wa-aay more millennia of learning through stories with words, music, and images, than with the abstract presentation of concepts through text-only formats. Writing's been around, for what - about 7,000 years, while us "modern version" homo sapiens have had language for over 50,000 years? While graphic formats take more energy to produce, they can also be hugely effective at communicating the message, which is, after all, the point of the whole endeavor.

    Anyway, I wish you well and all success!