Laura Lee Gulledge

Laura Lee Gulledge | Graphic Novels & Comics

Educational Background/Training

MA in Art Education from James Madison University. (2002) GPA: 4.0.
BA in Studio Art/ Art Education from James Madison University. (2001) GPA: 3.6.
Recipient of Crystal Theodore Service with Scholarship Award.

About the Artist/Ensemble

LAURA LEE GULLEDGE (she/ her/ we) is an artist, author, and teaching artist based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She explores visual storytelling at the intersection of words, pictures, movement, co-creation, wellness, and citizen artistry.

She has created three YA graphic novels with Abrams Books in the graphic medicine & magical realism genres. Her most recent work The Dark Matter of Mona Starr explores dealing with depression which she personifies as “The Matter.” She has also created an interactive book of Sketchbook Dares and a newly virtual adaptation of her Will & Whit graphic novel musical. Fun Fact: Laura Lee was the first woman ever nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award for Best Lettering for her debut Page by Paige.

Laura Lee has an MA in Art Ed from James Madison University and is currently a freelance teaching artist, designing both customized virtual and in-person Artner Rest*idencies for schools during the Covid era. She is a teaching artist through the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Virginia Commission of the Arts. #artnerlove

Educational Program Description


Making Comics + Zines

Students learn about Laura Lee’s process for making graphic novels that’s rooted in her use of art for personal healing. In 60 minutes she can collaboratively develop an original character with students drawing it out LIVE! In 90 minutes we can concrete a finished six panel comic. With more time students can start drawing their own characters, learn how to fold an 8 page zine, and create their own mini comic. Available as a whole day workshop. (Free handouts + artistic licenses)

Self/ Community Care Plan

Students learn about Laura Lee’s self/ community care practices featured in The Dark Matter of Mona Starr which touches on creative expression, embodied wellness practices, and shared care utilizing support system. In a 60 minute workshop she’ll walk thru students making their own self care plan giving practical examples for how to manage their mood & mind. (Many adaptions inspired by Neurodivergent needs.) With more time students can also explore a Mona-inspired drawing prompt.

Sketchbook Dares

Students learn about how Laura Lee’s origin story working in sketchbooks gave her confidence and healing…plus ultimately set her up for success in her graphic novels. (Especially Page by Paige who works in a sketchbook!)  Laura Lee will lead students in a couple favorite drawing prompts from her interactive book Sketchbook Dares: 24 Ways to Draw Out Your Inner Artist. Plus she shares inspiration + tips for their ongoing sketchbook practice.

Graphic Novel Adaptation

Interested in adapting scenes from a classic book into graphic novel format with your students? Laura Lee can give an introduction to this process to set your unit up for success! She breaks down the graphic novel creation process so students can apply it to their chosen scene, covering basic visual storytelling mechanics such as pacing + camera angles….plus tips for clear communication and catering to their strengths.

Mindfulness of Art

Students learn about how contemplative practices (aka mindful compassion) have helped Laura Lee cultivate self-awareness, calm the mind, and heal from stress. She then walks students thru some of her favorite methods, which can be catered to the specific needs of the students participating and length of the workshop. For example these practices might include expressive self portraits, silent partner drawing, eye yoga, mind jar embodiment with balloons, and drawing with breath.

Comic Mural Residency

In this special week long residency, Laura Lee can work with an entire school grade on making comics which results in a paper mural installed in the school! On Monday-Tuesday she first makes collaborative comics with each class. Then on Wednesday the whole grade meets in an assembly to vote on which class comic to turn into the mural, which Laura Lee draws out on large paper panels. Then on Thursday-Friday students color in the comic mural with patterns using paint pens. Plus they also can work on their mini comic by themself or with an Artner. (Handouts provided) Laura Lee then installs the mural on Saturday using acrylic gel medium.


  • Secondary (Middle/High School) Students
  • College/University Students
  • Adults
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