How one 22-year-old turned her comic drawing hobby into an awesome job
Artist Kaitlyn Narvaza may only be 22 years old, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a breakout digital comics star. Her debut YA graphic novel romance, Where Tangents Meet, was one of the biggest hits of 2015 on top digital comics platform LINE Webtoon (a global digital free comics service platform). Consisting of 40 chapters, the graphic novel has been read over 9 million times since it debuted last April. Now, Kaitlyn, who’s from San Diego, is blazing new trails in young adult romance with a brand new graphic fiction follow-up: Siren’s Lament.
The graphic novel follows Lyra, a young florist who just had her heart-broken. She meets a siren, a mythical sea creature, who offers to help her by transforming her into a siren as well. Although she accepts, something goes wrong during the transformation, and they’re both transformed into creatures in-between humans and sirens who can live both in the sea and on land. As they fight against the curse, they must work together to adapt to this new way of life.
“Drawing has been my passion for as long as I can remember,” Kaitlyn, who is currently attending at San Diego State University pursuing graphic design, told HelloGiggles in an interview. “. . . I actually started drawing comics around the age of four, and I have always had a love for making stories. I was also constantly inspired by reading and collecting comic books during my childhood.”
Kaitlyn’s uncle, who’s also an artist and a comic fan, introduced her to LINE Webtoon’s Discover and encouraged her to create her own works. “It was the first time I was sharing my stories with a public audience, so I was surprised when I found out that quite a few people actually enjoyed my creations,” she told us.
Enjoy them, they did. Millions of readers devoured her first book, and already, hundreds of thousands have read the first chapter of Siren’s Lament. “I’ve never imagined that my comic drawing hobby would actually become a job; it was like a dream come true,” she told us. “It opened my eyes to the fact that following my passion was possible, as long as I work hard and put my heart into it. . . It was an amazing experience, especially as an amateur comic artist, knowing that I was given the chance to have my works published without having a professional background.”
Kaitlyn concentrates on the young adult genre above all because she believes it’s important for teens who are still trying to find themselves. “Personally, I think [the] genre is a type of theme of stories that have emphasis on personal growth,” she told HG. “I believe such a genre is important in influencing young people who are in search of themselves and going into adulthood.”
In fact, influencing others is what inspires her to create, write, and draw. “I enjoy making graphic fiction mainly to reach out to other people through my creations,” Kaitlyn told us. “The most rewarding part of drawing comics is making people laugh, cry, and interact with my stories in general.”