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Graphic Novelist Nate Powell on Taking Comics from Pencils to Finished Page

January 31, 2020

If you grab a new comic book off the rack on any given Wednesday, it’s not hard to see the effort that goes into it. An average issue is born out of the work of a writer, a penciller, an inker, a colorist, a letterer and a team of editors. Comics go through any number of iterations and revisions and group meetings before they hit the shelves.

That’s a necessity to keep on track with monthly releases. But for a graphic novelist, whose books are pitched and released as longer, singular stories, those many duties often fall in the lap of one person.

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Nate Powell is a Bloomington-based graphic novelist, whose work on books like “March,” “Swallow Me Whole,” “Any Empire” and “Come Again” has garnered critical praise as well as a handful of Eisner Awards. And for his solo projects, Powell takes on the scripting, penciling, inking and lettering by himself.

We visited Nate in his studio to see how he approaches those different tasks to bring a page of a comic to life. 

For more of Nate’s work, you can visit his website; or, listen to our 2018 conversation from WFIU’s Profiles.