A nonbinary Chinese-American in their twenties, with dark purple hair and wearing a purple jumpsuit.




Laura Gao is the comic artist and writer of Messy Roots, a debut graphic memoir about growing up as a queer Asian immigrant in small-town Texas. Laura’s art career began by doodling on Pokemon cards and has since blossomed to be featured on NPR, HuffPost, and most notably, her parents’ fridge.

SESSION: Identity, Folklore, and Magic: Showing (Not Telling) Identity Conflicts in Graphic Novels

The format of the graphic novel is prime for showing flashy action and conflict. However, how does one successfully illustrate the quieter, internal moments, such as battles with identity and sexuality in the context of their culture? This workshop will look at examples from Eastern and Western comics that interweave magical elements and folklore to propel the main character's identity journey. Participants will also get the chance to apply this to their own writing and share with the group.