Author-illustrator Tillie Walden has produced some stunning (and critically acclaimed) graphic novels since her debut just a few short years ago. From the enchanting The End of Summer, which tells the story of a young boy named Lars, his giant cat Nemo, and the many familial issues they face together, to the more contemporary and grounded (but no less lush) I Love This Part, which revolves around two young girls who spend time together and slowly fall for one another, Walden is able to just as easily spin an enchanting web of stories as she is to evoke a range of emotions from just a few sparsely illustrated panels. It’s no surprise her webcomic On a Sunbeam has been nominated for an Eisner for Best Digital Comic.
With Spinning, her latest graphic novel and first graphic memoir, the 21-year-old’s latest subject is none other than herself as she turns her focus inward and shares memories and feelings from the 10 years of her life she spent practicing figure skating and synchronized skating.
Ahead of San Diego Comic-Con (where the Eisner Awards will be announced), EW caught up with Walden to discuss the upcoming Spinning (one of EW’s Pride-themed reading recommendations, available later this year in September), what it was like to work on a graphic memoir based on her life, and just how she manages to capture so much emotion in her work.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your work has always been quite personal, but this is the first time where you’ve really tackled stories from your own life. How did that impact your approach?
TILLIE WALDEN: It meant my approach had to be almost entirely different from how I would normally make a comic. I generally just tackle stories by jumping right into the thick of it and letting myself work it out as I draw. But for Spinning, I really had to put the brakes on. I had to slow down, I had to get a lot of help from a lot of different people, and I had to do a lot of editing. The book went through many stages before it…