Student Profile: Frances V. Reilly

About Frances V. Reilly

Frances V. Reilly is a comics artist/illustrator and historian based in Toronto. She works in watercolours, gouache, and pen and ink. The Harrowing Tales of La Corriveau is her debut graphic novel. Frances took the course Comics And Graphic Novels Studio. Her book is a retelling of the legend and history of Marie-Josephte Corriveau, it is set for release this spring during the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.


Pursuing Continuing Studies at OCAD U

After completing a PhD in History I wasn’t interested in pursuing another university degree but I did want to develop my skills as an artist and to learn more about illustration. And so — I was introduced to OCAD U’s School of Continuing Studies through the Children’s Book Illustration Studio taught by Willow Dawson. This course provided a fantastic overview of classic and new children’s books and it helped me develop illustration techniques while providing valuable direction in the world of book publishing.

Comics and Graphic Novels Studio

During the pandemic lockdown, I continued taking OCAD U courses online. One of my favourites was Comics And Graphic Novels Studio taught by Jennifer Lum. This course taught me about the art of storytelling, importance of formatting, and comics publishing. It also gave me an opportunity to develop a graphic novel that I had been drawing. After the course ended I continued working on the book and created a submission package to send to publishers.

Graphic novel: The Harrowing Tales of La Corriveau

My graphic novel is a collection of four stories about the 1763 execution of Marie-Josephte Corriveau and the Quebec folktale that grew from this historical event. The book is an examination of how stories are told, how legends develop, and how history becomes distorted over time. To accentuate the separate retellings, I used different drawing and narration styles for each chapter.

Current Projects and Future Plans

I am currently working on two projects. One is at the research stage and the other (a graphic novel exploring themes of isolation) is in the drawing stage. I am also planning to combine my historical research and artwork to create a graphic novel about Canada during the Cold War.