Larson is of German and Swedish descent. She grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and attended Carolina Day School. Upon graduation from high school, she matriculated at Rochester Institute of Technology and then transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she graduated with a BFA in 2004. She then moved to Toronto with her husband, Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley. In 2005, they moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
While Larson was still in college, Scott McCloud took an interest in her illustrations, encouraging her to create comics. Soon after, she was invited to the webcomics anthology site Girlamatic and produced her first professional comic, a web serial entitled I Was There & Just Returned. Afterwards, Larson concentrated on a number of small, hand-made minicomics, combining her interests in comics, screenprinting, and bookmaking.
She contributed to comics anthologies Flight, True Porn 2, and You Ain't No Dancer, while working on a web-serialized graphic novel, Salamander Dream. This eventually became her first full-length book, published by AdHouse Books in September 2005; she moved to Oni Press for her second graphic novel, Gray Horses (released March 2006).
In 2006, Larson signed a two-book contract with New York publishing house Simon & Schuster. The first book under this deal, Chiggers (released June 18, 2008, under the Atheneum Books Ginee Seo imprint), is a graphic novel about "nerdy teenaged girls" who meet at summer camp. Chiggers is intended for a 9-12 year-old audience.
In addition to comics, Larson has worked as a freelance illustrator for various clients, including the New York Times.
In 2006, Larson launched her own publishing imprint, Tulip Tree Press. She has released several minicomics and prints through the Tulip Tree website ; the only book released under the Tulip Tree name was House of Sugar, an award-winning collection of Rebecca Kraatz's comic strip, released 15 November 2006.
Larson was nominated for the 2006 Kim Yale Award for Best New Female Talent, and won the 2006 Ignatz Award in the category Promising New Talent. In 2007, Larson won the Eisner Award for Special Recognition (formerly known as "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition").
- Salamander Dream. AdHouse Books, 2005
- Gray Horses. Oni Press, 2006
- Chiggers. Atheneum Books, 2008
- Mercury. Atheneum Books, 2010
- "A Wrinkle in Time". Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
- "Who is AC" with Tintin Pantoja. [Athenum Books], 2013
Selected short stories and minicomics
- "Sex Rainbow,"[dead link] March 2004 (originally printed as a deck of cards)
- "Compound Eye,"[dead link] April 2004
- "Weather Vain," August 2004 (originally printed in Flight Vol. 2)
- "Mud,"[dead link] February 2005 (originally printed in You Ain't No Dancer #1)
- "Little House in the Big Woods,"[dead link] August 2006 (originally printed in the New York Times)
- "When I Was A Slut," March 2006 (published in Project: Romantic)
- "Henry and Elizabeth," July 2007 (printed in the New York Times, and later expanded to a minicomic)
- Anne Fitten Glenn. "Graphic Insight". Mountain Xpress. Retrieved on December 24, 2008.
- Zack Smith. "Hope Larson on Chiggers and More". Newsarama. Retrieved April 18, 2008.
- Gordon McAlpin. "The Hope Larson Interview". Comic Book Galaxy. Retrieved September 20, 2006.
- Heidi MacDonald. "Hope Larson Signs Two-book Deal with S&S". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 20, 2006.[dead link]
- Douglas Wolk. "Fans Look for Books at MoCCA 2006". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 21, 2006.[dead link]
- Heidi MacDonald. "2006 Ignatz Award Winners". The Beat. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
- Heidi MacDonald. "2007 Eisner Award Winners". The Beat. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
- "Artists honoured for comics hailing nostalgia, everyday life". CBC.ca. August 18, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
- Hope Larson's website
- Tulip Tree Press, Larson's publishing imprint
- Hope Larson on hinah exhibitions
- "Thinking in Comics: A Roundtable on the Present and Future of the Graphic Novel featuring Matt Kindt, Hope Larson, Nate Powell, Dash Shaw, James Sturm, Jillian Tamaki, and Will Wilkinson" in Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts (26.1)