Publishing my first graphic novel

Feb 27 2018

Hello! My name is David Jesus Vignolli. I’m a writer and illustrator who will publish his first graphic novel, “A Girl in the Himalayas,” in April this year.

I want to share some of my creative process with you together with my experience with storytelling.

Life as a storyteller

I work as a Creative Director of a company which tells stories in images. So, you could say that telling my client´s stories is my daily bread, but publishing a graphic novel is the opportunity to tell my own stories.

I started the project, ‘A Girl in the Himalayas,’ two years ago, not knowing whether or not it would ever attract a publisher. I looked into options for self-publishing, but nothing seemed to be the ideal solution. In fact, the idea of ​​having boxes scattered around the room sounded quite terrifying.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in writing a graphic novel is finding the time, as one needs lots and lots of it! Having my own business in London gave me some space to manoeuvre and I dedicated three full months of my life to drawing and colouring the first 84 pages.

I remember reading ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King, where he suggests completing the first version of the book as soon as possible, before we, as authors, become changed by our every flowing lives which transforms us into different people from we were when we started to write.


Finding my publisher

I took this advice to heart and after three intense months the first version was ready. I sent the project to an American publisher, Archaia, whose website accepts submissions. After six months of waiting I finally received an answer, and to my delight it was a very positive one.

Archaia evaluated the material and I started working with two amazing editors: Sierra Hahn and Cameron Chittock. It’s important to choose a publisher whose works you admire. The publishing process is a partnership with editors and in my case, I could not have found better ones. Their vision for the book exactly matched mine.

The editors asked questions about the story and proposed ideas to maximise the potential of the graphic novel. As a result, their comments improved the story and I ended up adding 90 more pages.

You will have the opportunity to see the result of all this effort in April. 😉

Drawing in the Himalayas

Oct 17 2017
The Himalayas fascinated me since my childhood. When I turned sixteen I started to practice meditation. I got to know many folklore stories of sages and different beings living in those mountains and those stories fuelled my imagination. A few years ago I finally got the chance to visit the Himalayas. I was simply overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and serenity expressed by the nature there.
One day me and my wife wanted to visit a temple half a day climb from the place where we were staying. We started our journey a bit late and the climb took us longer than expected. While we were climbing what was at times dangerously steep terrain, I realised how insignificant one human life is in the face of those majestic mountains. The nature is a tough and merciless teacher, she teaches us how to be alert and focused for example. A moment of distraction and we could fall off the cliff. But at the same time she is caring and comforting.
I imagined how a small girl who got lost in the mountains would feel and what kind of adventures she could have. This journey was the beginning of “A girl in the Himalayas”, my first graphic novel.
“A girl in the Himalayas” for me is a story of empowerment about a girl who wants to find her place in a world full of challenges and danger.

Scribing made me a better illustrator

Oct 16 2017

I found school a bit boring as a child. We sat locked in a classroom listening to our teachers explaining us the world for hours. That was the perfect definition of prison to me. To entertain myself I used to doodle all the knowledge those brave people tried to impart into us, onto the table or into my notebook. My teacher ignored it for a long time but eventually he run out of patience and exclaimed: “Stop drawing and listen, David! No one will pay you for drawing”.

Little we both suspected that this joyous activity would become a serious profession called: Graphic Facilitation. Very in demand by big companies and financial services. Today much of my work as an illustrator is dedicated to graphic facilitation. I run a London based company called Visual Scribing. We basically visualise content.

Standing in front of gigantic white piece of paper fixed to the wall for the first time was daunting. I had to visualise in real time a speech on a topic I was not familiar with, and all this in front of an audience and in a language that was not my mother tongue. But luckily it went really well. In fact it was the first time in my life I got standing ovations.

Scribing changed me profoundly as an illustrator. It removed any fear of an empty piece paper, any need of using a pencil before applying the ink. The process of scribing is so fast, so immediate that there is no time for much thinking or procrastination. I draw directly on paper and there is no way to erase or improve the drawings. Once drawn, that’s it. But after some time any anxiety of committing a mistake completely disappears.

Scribing increased the speed with which I draw significantly and it forced me to simplify my style so that the images can be easily understood. Probably what I like the most about scribing is that it forces the artist to be in the present and in the flow. You can’t think about last night soccer game or the next episode of “Stranger Things” otherwise your scribing session will turn into a disaster.

Graphic facilitation has become a very popular tool in lectures and workshops here in London. I get to know many people and companies from different backgrounds. From financial market to veterinary medicine, I have already illustrated everything. And the diversity of themes has been instrumental in the development of my career as a visual communicator.

If you want to know more about graphic facilitation, check out the Visual Scribing website:

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