Tillie Walden

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Tillie Walden
Tillie Walden. Saló del Còmic de Barcelona 2018.jpg
Born1996 (age 22–23)
OccupationCartoonist, author
ResidenceAustin, Texas
EducationCenter for Cartoon Studies
GenreGraphic novel
Notable worksSpinning
Notable awards

Tillie Walden (born 1996)[1] is an American cartoonist who has published five graphic novels and a webcomic.[2] Walden won the 2018 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work for her graphic novel Spinning, making her one of the youngest Eisner Award winners ever.

Early life[edit]

Tillie Walden grew up in New Jersey and Austin, Texas. Walden was shaped by her childhood move from New Jersey to Texas. She was a competitive ice skater.[3]

Walden is named after her paternal grandmother, an artist who died before Walden was born. Walden's first comic was a black-and-white comic "about never knowing her [grandmother] but following in her footsteps." A workshop led by Scott McCloud had been a major turning point in her career, given it "really inspired [her] to draw some comics, and around this time [she] was also becoming increasingly bored with fine art". [4]

While growing up, Walden read a lot of manga. From this, she gained a lot of major influence in her work, mainly on her artistic focus on line, more so than shape or color. The biggest manga artist that had an impact on her was Yoshihiro Togashi, creator of the manga Hunter x Hunter. [5] Additionally, in an interview, Walden has even said "Studio Ghibli has completely shaped my visual vocabulary and how I think about stories." [6] Walden is said to have also been influenced by graphic memoirs, such as Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Blankets by Craig Thompson and Stitches by David Small.[5]

Walden began putting her comics and drawings on her website, and was discovered while still in high school by British publisher Avery Hill Publishing, who worked with Walden to publish her first graphic novel, The End of Summer.[7]


Walden's debut graphic novel, The End of Summer, was published by Avery Hill in June 2015. It is told from the viewpoint of Lars, a feeble boy who lives in a fantastical palace and has a giant cat named Nemo.[7] In an interview with Paul Gravett, she dedicates the book to her twin brother, John. She describes the main characters as being a mishmash of her and John.[8] Walden won the 2016 Ignatz Award for outstanding artist for The End of Summer.[9]

Her second graphic novel, I Love This Part, was published by Avery Hill in November 2015 and tells the story of two teenage girls who fall in love.[7] Walden won the 2016 Ignatz Award for promising new talent for I Love This Part.[9] The novel was also nominated for the 2016 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue/One-Shot.[10]

Walden's third graphic novel, A City Inside, was published by Avery Hill in 2016.[11] It won the 2016 Broken Frontier Award for Best One-Shot.[12]

Spinning, Walden's first graphic novel memoir about her years coming-of-age as a competitive ice skater, was published by First Second Books in September 2017.[13] Originally, Spinning was Walden's thesis work for the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) during her second year of schooling there. [14] It won the 2018 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, making Walden one of the youngest Eisner Award winners ever at 22.[15]

Walden's On a Sunbeam, a science fiction webcomic,[1] was nominated for the 2017 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic.[16] The webcomic was adapted into a graphic novel[1] that was released in October 2018 by First Second Books.[17] Set in space, the story revolves around a crew in charge of rebuilding structures, which allows them to acknowledge the past. As Mia, the newest member, gets to know her team, a flashback occurs where she fell in love with another student named Grace. As time progresses and bonds are formed, Mia inevitably opens up about her reasoning for joining their ship - to find the love she lost. [18] This piece is Walden's first take on science fiction. The graphic novel won the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.[19]

To commemorate International Women's Day, Walden's piece "Minutes" was featured as a Google Doodle on March 8, 2018.[20]

In 2019, Walden published Are You Listening? from First Second Books.

Personal life[edit]

Walden has known she was a lesbian since she was 5.[13][21] Before she came out, Walden avoided including queer characters in her stories, feeling that she "couldn't draw openly gay characters if [she] was still scared to be openly gay".[7]

Walden spoke of her father's influence on her entrance into the comics industry. As said in an interview, "My dad has been the behind-the-scenes guy for my entire comics career. I realized that when I start looking, he’s been everywhere."

Walden is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "The Next Frontier: Tillie Walden's Webcomic On a Sunbeam Will Be Adapted to a Graphic Novel". Bookish. October 2, 2017.
  2. ^ Micheline, JA (September 19, 2017). "Tillie Walden: young graphic novelist breaks the ice with memoir Spinning". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Wong, Alex (October 4, 2017). ""Everything I Had to Say about My Life Is in That Book": An Interview with Tillie Walden". The Comics Journal.
  4. ^ "Tillie Walden | PAUL GRAVETT". www.paulgravett.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  5. ^ a b Sahn, Sarah (2017). "Spinning by Tillie Walden". Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. 71 (2): 96. doi:10.1353/bcc.2017.0747. ISSN 1558-6766.
  6. ^ ""Everything I Had to Say about My Life Is in That Book": An Interview with Tillie Walden | The Comics Journal". www.tcj.com. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  7. ^ a b c d Landsbaum, Claire (November 16, 2015). "Tillie Walden on the Queer Characters and Emotional Turmoil of Her New Comic, I Love This Part". Vulture.com.
  8. ^ "Tillie Walden | PAUL GRAVETT". www.paulgravett.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  9. ^ a b Cavna, Michael (September 18, 2016). "Small Press Expo: Here are your 2016 Ignatz Award winners, including new talent Tillie Walden". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Cavna, Michael (April 19, 2016). "2016 Eisner Awards: 'The Oscars of comics' announces record number of nominations for women". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Comics Book Review: A City Inside by Tillie Walden". Publishers Weekly. July 25, 2016.
  12. ^ Russell, Ally (June 12, 2017). "A City Inside – Tillie Walden Secures Her Place as One of the Leading Voices in Comics Today". Broken Frontier.
  13. ^ a b "Spinning - Kirkus Review". Kirkus Reviews. July 17, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Sahn, Sarah (2017). "Spinning by Tillie Walden". Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. 71 (2): 96. doi:10.1353/bcc.2017.0747. ISSN 1558-6766.
  15. ^ Cavna, Michael (July 23, 2018). "Women make history, and receive overdue recognition, at 2018 Eisner Awards". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  16. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (May 2, 2017). "THE 2017 EISNER AWARD NOMINEES REVEALED". IGN.
  17. ^ "Kirkus Review: On a Sunbeam". Kirkus Reviews. August 20, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  18. ^ Walden, Tillie (2018-10-04). On A Sunbeam. Avery Hill Publishing Limited. ISBN 9781910395370.
  19. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2019-04-17). "Awards Watch: Pulitzers, Doug Wright Awards, Studio Prize winners, The Reuben, LA Times Book Prize". ComicsBeat.
  20. ^ Mejia, Zameena (March 7, 2018). "Here's how Google is celebrating International Women's Day this year". CNBC. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Carr, Jan. "Spinning - Book review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved February 21, 2018.

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