Interview and Preview: ‘Enola Holmes’ Graphic Novel
Later this month, IDW Publishing will release The Case of the Missing Marquess, the first graphic novel based on Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes YA novels. Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes—she’s just 14 years old—and in this first story, she dodges their attempts to send her to boarding school and gets caught up in a mystery that Sherlock is supposed to be solving.
IDW will publish a series of Enola Holmes graphic novels under their EuroComics imprint, and to kick off this series, they provided us with an interview with writer and artist Serena Blasco, who is adapting the series, as well as a preview of the first volume.
How did you come to adapt the Enola Holmes novels? Had you read them in French translation?
I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes and have read all of the Conan Doyle stories. I worked in a bookstore when I saw Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes novels, and my first reaction was, “Oh, no—another version of Sherlock Holmes? And with a sister, no less?!”
But I was intrigued, so I read them and really liked them. I think Enola’s a very interesting character and was ideal for a graphic interpretation.
Did you always want to draw comics?
I was born—almost—with a pencil in my hands, and scribbled, colored, and drew in a lot of notebooks and in paintings during my childhood. All of my family draws too. It just seemed natural for me to create comics.
You have a beautiful and distinctive watercolor style. At a time when many artists are drawing digitally, you continue to draw by hand on paper. Are you more comfortable working on paper?
Thanks! My first comic was drawn digitally, but I hated working on the monitor. So, when the book was finished, I sold my big computer for a little one and a pad of paper. I’m very comfortable with ink and paper. It’s more free. I can draw wherever I want, and it’s better for my eyes!
You incorporate floral elements into the page design—is that specific to the Enola Holmes stories? Or do you just enjoy drawing botanical subjects?
Floral elements are very specific to Enola Holmes, but I like drawing them too. I grew up in middle of nature, in Provence, so butterflies and flowers are a natural path for me to pursue.
Is there an artist who has inspired your style?
Not one in particular, and many at the same time. I draw my inspiration from painters—Monet’s colors, the expressive and soft characters of Renoir, the strength and curiosity of Van Gogh…Sisley, Turner, Lautrec, Verdier. I also look at a lot of French comics in many different styles. It’s a sort of mix of a lot of little details.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on the sixth and last book of Enola Holmes comics. And after that, I’ll see. I always have a lot of projects in my mind.
What advice can you give to today’s young female art students who want to draw comics?
An artist’s life is hard. It’s difficult to find one’s place. I worked on comics projects for seven years before one was accepted by a publisher. Fight for a good publishing agreement and for your work to be respected. If you really want to do this job, look at a lot of comics, paintings, and illustrations. Draw everything you see, go to comics conventions, and learn what you can from teachers and other professionals. Then find your own personality and style, and never give up!
Is there anything else you would like to tell your readers?
Yes, thank you for reading this book! There are books because there are readers. And after reading, go outside, watch a bird, and smell a flower! That’s life!
About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor, a newspaper reporter, and assistant to the mayor of a small city. In addition to editing GC4K, she is a regular columnist for SLJ, a contributing editor at ICv2, an editor at Smash Pages, and a writer for Publishers Weekly. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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