The People’s Choice Award: Erin Bundock
15: Erin Bundock
Create the first draft of a fantasy graphic novel
Erin Bundock is a mixed media artist exploring themes of family, reproductive liberty, and love. Her narrative images are often moments of reflection, and her mixed media approach mirrors the complexity of interpersonal relationships at the heart of her work. She is influenced by her familial ties to scenic design and biological studies, integrating bold colors and scientific imagery.
Bundock has been an artist-in-residence at The Vaults in Burlington, Vermont. She held her first solo show, “A Stitch Between” in September of 2021. She has shown work in Burlington, New York City, and Prague. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art. Bundock currently works and lives in Burlington, Vermont.
I’m applying to create the first draft of a fantasy graphic novel that follows the coming of age of a girl named Fiadh. Set in a fictional world similar to Earth, Fiadh lives in a rural community lush with rolling fields, towering ocean-side bluffs, and thick forest. She grows up with stories of old magic that lives in everything around her, but her and her community’s deep belief in these stories fades as she gets older.
When Fiadh’s grandfather dies she begins to be plagued by Scáil, an overbearing mythic force she learned about as a child. It roots itself in her chest, sometimes heavy, sometimes sharp and flighty. As the Scáil grows within her and her interactions with other creatures she once believed to be myth increase, she seeks the help of her grandmother, Elatha, who lives deep in the forest. Her grandmother tells Fiadh she is a Fiannaí, a storyteller with a spiritual connection to the forces and beings from the stories Fiadh grew up with. Fiannaí also have the power to see and interact with these forces. Elatha, who is also a Fiannaí, explains that Scáil is drawn to and controlled by stories, both fictional and true. In order to control it within her, Fiadh must learn to unlock and hone her storytelling powers by delving into studies of mythology and folklore.
With her new skills and growing control over forces within and around her, Fiadh begins to move through her grief and the new world that is unfolding around her. She grapples with what it means to carry the responsibility of a story, to birth something new, and to engage in a practice that is a fundamental part of being human.
The graphic novel, in its final form, will be a mix of traditional and digital media. I envision it as having many different mediums, such as graphite, ink washes, and marker which will be tied together in a digital collage format.
Lay. “This is an example of a page sketch next to how I envision the final novel looking as a combination of media, e.g. ink wash and digital illustration.”
Magic Kitchen. “This is an example of a detailed illustration in the style I would draw the novel in. These are characters and a setting for the novel.”
French Toast. “This is a comic page I wrote at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s an example of combining visuals and written elements.”