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Starts here… a blog detailing the efforts and skills in creating a graphic novel, all told in the words of Andrew King, our team illustrator and story distiller.

Andrew did more than just illustrate. He was the architect making this concise study work in storyboard form, planning the panels for each spread, keeping them dynamic and refreshingly different for each page. A tricky job, full of  possibilities and limitation. Like building a new house, planning is key.

Every panel is a snapshot in time, more than just a photo. One developed skill is to show the same information in one panel, something that a photographer may have needed three. Viewers are clever enough to not require every action. They can assume what happens in between, and here the narrative can help fill the gaps. Our book is historical fact afterall.

Yuri Gagarin, the boy, saw actual wartime action of a dogfight overhead and his comrade’s Mig being shot down. Blending this action with moments of thought is easy to see how the young Yuri was inspired to fly for his country. Few words were needed as the illustrations say so much.

Andrew has been a perfectionist in the detail used and has made every effort to create drawings of authenticity, whether from the types of cow herded on the collective farm he lived on to the slippers on his mother’s feet!