The Art of Making Art: Lucy Knisley


A book tells a story with words, and a sketch or painting depicts a story with pictures. A comic book tells a story with words and pictures. Lucy Knisley (pronounced “nigh-slee”) of Evanston creates comics for which she writes the story, designs the images, and colors the pages. She creates complete visual narratives ready for publication.

Lucy Knisley in her studio.

His books, or graphic novels, are considered mid-level and young adult fiction by publishers and target readers ages 8 to 18.

His first seven published books were fictionalized memoirs of his own childhood.

To date, Knisley has published over 15 comic books. She also does other professional illustration work, speaks at Comic Con as well as other conventions, and works with young adult school groups.

Most of his work is done in his home studio and on his porch. I know this scenario well because, in full disclosure, I met Knisley when she and her husband bought my house.

The third floor studio is a large west facing room with lots of light and a walk-in closet. Knisley has a workbench used for painting and crafts, shelves full of her books and books authored by colleagues she admires, and a closet full of supplies. She writes and draws in an ergonomic chair, properly adjusted with an attached desk surface.

Lucy Knisley’s studio as described by the artist.

Her art tools include an iPad where she scripts the stories in Microsoft Word. She uses Blackwing pencils and plain paper to sketch scenes and then colors the work digitally or with watercolor ink.

Some of the books by artist Lucy Knisley.

Knisley usually works on many stories at once. She says she keeps “several plates turning” so she can continually move between publisher demands and illustrations. She normally completes one book a year, but she missed daycare during COVID-19 and had to extend her publishing schedule.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.