My Process by Jen Wang


A) I draw with a mechanical pencil, 0.7 lead.

Any pencil will do. I’ve had this one for six years!

B) Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Brush, size 2. This is what I ink with. I went through about two
of these brushes for this book.

C) Winsor & Newton ink. Inked with black india ink.


The first stage of book is the script! I write everything out beforehand so I can read it over and make changes I think will make the story better.

After that I print everything out and do quick thumbnails over it so I can figure out the layout. This part is real fast and messy! I generally average four comic pages per one page of script.


Next is the penciling, which is done on 9” x 12” bristol paper.

Even though I already scripted the story, this is where the comic really starts to feel alive!


Drawing the characters as they go through the events, you can really feel their joys and sorrows, and it’s the process I connect with the most.


Originally when I came up with the story, I imagined Sebastian and Frances as adults.

Here are two versions of an early sample comic I did, one with the characters as adults and the other as teenagers.


I decided on teenagers since very little of the story changed except that everything was heightened; the protagonists were discovering things about themselves for the first time, which made it more innocent and emotional.



I didn’t have a lot of time to do detailed location and costume designs for every scene, so I would do quick sketches in between comic pages.


Here’s a sketch that became the blueprint for Sebastian’s room.



And here’s where I work.



Two photos are of different set ups at my desk while I was doing the penciling.


The last photo is some inking I did outside at a local donut shop. After a while of drawing at home it feels nice to work outside for a bit. 



Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger's Fake Mustache. Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow)were published by First Second.


*This post originally appeared at Diversity in YAand has been 

brought to you thanks to our partner, Cindy Pon!*


Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent novel, Serpentine (Month9Books, 2015), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and VOYA. The sequel, Sacrifice, releases this September. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei, will be published by Simon Pulse in summer 2017. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art http://cindypon.com.