Rob Harrell- From Cartoonist to Novelist

Rob Harrell began as a cartoonist (Big Top) and he continues as one (Adam @ Home).
Rob’s a graphic novelist (Monster on the Hill) and creator of illustrated young adult books (Life of Zarf).
Now, with Wink, Rob is going full on novelist, though he couldn’t resist throwing in a couple illustrations.

Wink is released today, and Publishers Weekly interviews Rob on the occasion.

Rob Harrell has turned to writing prose with Wink, the story of Ross Maloy, a boy navigating middle school and a rare form of eye cancer. Harrell spoke with PW about the personal nature of his new book, his appreciation for editorial collaboration, and the cartoonists that inspire him.

When we ended my comic strip, Big Top, I scrambled for what to do next. I’d had five years of creating stories and punch lines and the art that goes with them, and I had been reading a lot of graphic novels. I thought, I want to try this. So, that’s why I did Monster on the Hill. I loved it. It was so hard, and it took so long, but I realized that the part I enjoyed most was the writing. I had always thought of myself as an artist who could write, but I started realizing that I liked the writing as much as the illustrating. I had friends like Stephan Pastis doing Timmy Failure and Michael Fry doing the Odd Squad books and it looked like so much fun. I felt like I had all the tools I needed, so I just jumped in with both feet. The Zarf books were so much fun. In my wildest dreams, someday I’ll get to write some more.

With a comic strip, you write it and it’s in the paper two weeks later. I feel like Wink has been done for so long, but, in publishing, it’s an interminable wait to get the story in people’s hands.