Sunday, 20 November 2011

VOA: My Own Illustrated Novel S.S

I tried for a while to avoid writing this post, as I don't want it to seem too boastful or at all on he wings of Alison's work, but I thought it might interest some people, and heck, I'm putting a lot of work into it!

What I'm rambling about and hesitating about is my Thesis project. I'm graduating from Sheridan's BAA Illustration program this year and for my Thesis, I wrote a novel, titled VOA, and am illustrating spreads, branding it, and designing the entire concept; from book to posters to perhaps an animated short "trailer" on it etc etc.

Below is a piece I've made for a potential poster. More work can be seen here, but for the reminder of the post, I'm going to focus more on how this class, as well as reading Alison's work has helped me write the novel.

The process of writing differed greatly from how Alison's process went, which I explored in this post.

As with many writers or novelists, my idea came to me very slowly and began with a completely unrelated plot. I started the novel technically when I was fifteen but didn't touch it for a few years and then slowly, on and off since I was nineteen, I began to re-work it a bit.
At this stage, I'm finished writing the entirety of the novel, and am going through the editing stage, which is long and laborious.

From this class, I've learnt new techniques to help legitimize my writing, such as using analogies, the concept of "showing not telling", and the importance of transitions, in terms of breaking up writing with different points of view, related but seemingly unrelated bits of significant information etc. This was then further pushed after reading Alison's work, as I believe she's very successful at getting across a main point, a theme and/or her feelings without being overbearing- I mean, come on! The girl has one or two lines per significant point, and manages to express herself perhaps better than if she went into long, drawn-out explanations.

Below is an example of the interior of my novel, and I have to admit, it's so time consuming laying out the "panels" of writing to achieve a good flow, which I talked about in my previous post about Alison's panel consideration.

If anyone's interested in the novel, please don't hesitate to contact me or come to the Grad Show in April to pick up a copy! Please also feel free to comment on if you'd like to hear more about my process, how what I've learnt here helps me thesis etc, because I have one post left and I can make it about such things if you please!

Side note; although I didn't START the novel in November, I still support those who have an plan to FINISH it in November as a part of NaNoWriMo. Check it out! There's great resources to start and get your butt in gear to write a novel.

- Sabrina

National Novel Writing Month. Mon. 23 Nov. 2011. <> 
Sabrina Smelko Illustration - HOME OFFICIAL. Mon. 23 Nov. 2011. <>. 


  1. It's true, Alison very successfully gets the point across with very little text. I appreciate this in her writing, as I am a ridiculously slow reader. While we're on the topic of personal things, I sometimes wonder whether my grapheme->colour synesthesia has anything to do with me being a slow reader or not. Though probably I just need to read more, really.

    Sometimes I find with Alison's broad vocabulary that it'd be handy to have her book in one hand and a dictionary in the other.

    I'm curious, does your book relate in anyway to subject matter or characters in Fun Home? For example family troubles, sexuality issues.. etc.

  2. Hey Twigg man,

    My novel doesn have SOME similarities, from a family dynamic/estranged relationships kind of way. I am NOT a lesbian nor does it deal with sexuality, but the protagonist is a strong female character, confused about her entire life, hahaha, so I guess you can draw similarities!

    I'm inspired most by Douglas Coupland and, the obvious, Chuck Palahnuik as well as the late Michael Crichton.

    - Sabrina