“Hill’s black and white illustrations, full of clean, bold lines, fill the tale with a sense of drama and action, even when the characters are reading silently…” – Publishers Weekly

Jonathan Hill is an award-winning cartoonist, illustrator, and educator living in Portland, OR. He graduated in 2003 as valedictorian of the Savannah College of Art & Design with a degree in Sequential Art. Some of his clients include Microsoft, the Portland Trailblazers, the Viet Nam Literature Project, the Inlander, Fantagraphics Books, Dark Horse Comics, Tor.com, The Believer Magazine, Literary Arts, and Powell’s City of Books. He’s been the staff illustrator to The Asian Reporter since 2007.

His books have been published by First Second, Oni Press, and is currently working on books for Walker Books US. His books have been featured at ABC New Voices, YALSA and JLG selections, and won awards – Americus won the 2012 Carla Cohen Free Speech Award and Odessa won the 2021 Believer Book Award for Graphic Literature.

He was an associate professor in the Illustration Department at the Pacific Northwest College of Art from 2014-2021, building the comics curriculum from the ground up, taught comics and illustration classes for youth programs at the Oregon College of Art and Craft from 2010-2018, and was Writer in Residence through Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program from 2012-2016. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Literary Arts and chairs the Youth Programs Advisory Council.

Jonathan has also presented and taught workshops for the Washington School for the Deaf, the Oregon Association of School Librarians, The Portland Art Museum, Portland Public Schools, the Los Angeles Public Library, and was guest faculty at Tin House’s 2020 Summer Workshop, and The Believer’s Comics Workshops.

Tales Of A Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy

Walker Books |
Graphic Novel

Drawing on the experiences of his Vietnamese American family and his love of ’80s sci-fi shows, Jonathan Hill crafts a funny, insightful graphic novel about the immigrant experience and the perils of middle school.

Threatened with diminishing resources, Booger Lizk’t and his family flee their lizard community deep below Earth’s crust to survive above among humans. The Lizk’t family of Elberon now passes as the Tomkins family of Eagle Valley. “Tommy Tomkins” wears a human face to school but can’t seem to fit in no matter how he looks. The basketball team becomes a pipe dream when bullies label him a bug eater, and only Dung Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam and fellow outsider, sees Tommy for who he is inside, which is nothing like the outer-space lizard invaders on TV’s hottest series. Can their friendship survive the truth? In his first solo middle-grade book, award-winning creator Jonathan Hill perfectly captures the sometimes dystopian drama of middle school while reminding readers of the universal need for belonging.

Odessa

Oni Press |
Graphic Novel

2020 Believer Book Award for Graphic Narrative

“It’s dark and gritty, yet there are moments of kindness and strength that will keep you thinking about these characters long after you’ve finished the book.” — Dav Pilkey, author of the Dog Man series

Three siblings search for their missing mother across a ruined America in this original graphic novel debut from author & artist, Jonathan Hill.

Eight years ago an earthquake—the Big One—hit along the Cascadia fault line, toppling cities and changing landscapes all up and down the west coast of the United States. Life as we know it changed forever. But for Vietnamese-American Virginia Crane, life changed shortly after the earthquake, when her mother left and never came back.

Ginny has gotten used to a life without her mother, helping her father take care of her two younger brothers, Wes and Harry. But when a mysterious package arrives for her eighteenth birthday, her life is shaken up yet again. For the first time, Ginny wants something more than to survive. And it might be a selfish desire, but she’s determined to find out what happened to her mother—even if it means leaving her family behind.

Science Comics Wild Weather: Storms, Meteorology, and Climate

First Second |
Graphic Novel

Furious floods, looming landslides, terrifying tornadoes, ferocious forest fires! Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?

As “snowpocalypse” descends once again, one temperamental weatherman is determined to set the record straight on the myths and misconceptions surrounding the elements. What is the difference between weather and climate? How do weather satellites predict the future? Can someone outrun a tornado? Does the rotation of the Earth affect wind currents? And does meteorology have anything to do with meteors? Stormin’ Norman Weatherby is gearing up to answer all your wildest questions!

Get ready to explore the depths of the ocean, the farthest reaches of space, and everything in between! These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you’re a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, Science Comics is for you!

Jonathan Hill — Speaking and Visits

Jonathan is an experienced educator with over a decade of experience as a teacher, instructor, and professor. His education work has included organizations like Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program and OK You’s Create More, Fear Less and at Portland Public Schools, the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and The Pacific Northwest College of Art. He’s also done lectures and workshops for clients like The Believer Magazine, Tin House, and the Oregon Association of School Librarians.

School & Library Visits

Jonathan loves to do school visits! He can talk about a particular book of his or cater his visit to fit your particular needs. Below are a selection of some topics he has prepared:

What Goes Into Making Comics? Learn the process of how Jonathan makes his comics from coming up with ideas to drawing the pages to how he likes to have his hands in the final design of what the book looks like.

The Power of Failure – Sometimes people see authors and their books and only see success, but realistically there’s a lot of failure that goes into being a creative professional. But that’s not a bad thing! Jonathan talks about how failure has played such a huge part of where he is and how we can reframe how we think about failures and use them as an opportunity to grow.

Where Comics Has Taken Me – How do you even end up making comics as a career? Follow Jonathan through the twists and turns of how he ended up falling in love with comics and how it’s taken him to where he is now.

Keynote Speeches

Similar to school visits, Jonathan would love to give a keynote speech at your event! In addition to the topics listed above, below are some select topics that Jonathan has given keynotes or presentations at previous events or have been taken from essays he has written for various websites.

Why Diversity in Media Matters – There has been a huge push in diversity in media, particularly publishing, the last handful of years. Jonathan shares his first-hand experience as a Vietnamese American growing up in the 80s and how representation (or the lack of representation) impacted his life and how he’s spent his adult life untangling his identity.

Art Can Save Us – The world seems darker now than it has in recent memory and many of us are struggling. There is so much to process and many people lack the tools to process it. Drawing from his experience working with youth through Literary Arts and OK You, Jonathan talks about the importance of art and the creative process and how everyone can benefit from a creative outlet.

The Power of Encouragement – Some folks think that there’s maybe one moment or decision that an author makes to choose this career path. But in looking back, it’s hundreds and thousands of little nudges and encouragement that steers someone in that direction, many of which come from teachers in big and small ways. Jonathan talks about the impact of teachers in his life and how they made him what he is.

Teaching Comics

Are you looking to dive deeper into a particular aspect of comics? Or maybe you’d like to host a comprehensive, multi-workshop course in comics? Many of these lessons are modularly designed and can be taught individually or grouped together. They are also designed accordion-style and can fit into a one hour session or one that takes up an afternoon and can be adapted to different age groups.

Below are a selection of some examples of lessons Jonathan has prepared:

Basics of Comics & Visual Storytelling – Learn the very basics of what makes comics tick, how to identify and discuss different parts of the comics and how to make your own!

Words & Pictures – What is the relationship between words and pictures in comics? How do they work with or against one another? How can words totally change the context of images? Learn answers to these questions and more in this workshop that explores how words & pictures work in comics.

Pacing & Rhythm (Or: How Time Works) in Comics – When people think of comics, they often think about the writing or the drawing, but did you know HOW you tell your story can be just as impactful and unique. Learn how pacing and rhythm can be powerful storytelling tools.

Journal Comics – Learn how to take the everyday events in your life and turn them into comics and how those stories and experiences can also inform other projects down the road.

Professional Development

Are you an educator or librarian (or anyone else!) that would like to learn more about comics and how they can fit into your lesson plans and curriculum? Jonathan is happy to work with you on how you can fit comics into any subject or topic! He also has experience adapting his workshops to work with the Core Curriculum and current Social and Emotional Learning guidelines.

Jonathan Hill presents Odessa in conversation with Lisa Ko

Jonathan Hill’s Illustrations

Jonathan Hill’s Comics

Jonathan Hill’s Original Art

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Winner, 2012 Carla Cohen Free Speech Award
Winner, 2021 Believer Book Award for Graphic Literature
Shortlisted, 2022 PNBA Book Awards

Media clips

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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