First Second Books is one of the most exciting comics publishers around. With eclectic creators and beautifully produced books, their releases are constantly a source of excitement. So it’s with great pleasure that today we announce Naima, an original graphic novel from the incredible K. L. Ricks, a magical fantasy book that looks absolutely gorgeous. To celebrate the announcement we chatted with Ricks and got a sneak peek at some art from her brand new book!
Ricks is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist whose work you might know from her editorial illustrations for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and BuzzFeed. She’s also created original comics for Hazlitt and Adventure Time. The cartoonist’s new project with First Second is an intimate magical fantasy comic “about a young magical woman, Naima, returning to her hometown in the tropics to become a midwife. When she arrives, she finds out that the small daughter of a family friend has suddenly developed magical powers, and Naima is asked to help guide the girl through this unexpected period in her life,” Ricks explained.
For Ricks, Naima is a chance to weave a beautiful fantasy tale that represents her and the things that she loves. “I wanted to create a story that not only reflected my interests but reflected back to me, in that it presented characters that look like me, literally and figuratively. I hope other people like me can see themselves in this book as well,” shared the author.
Ricks is most well known for her short comics and editorial cartooning, so Naima is definitely change of pace and process. “For this comic, I switched from traditional penciling to drawing the pencils in Photoshop with a Cintiq. That way, I can print the pencils directly onto bristol board and ink them with a brush. It helps streamline the process immensely,” Ricks told me.
We can’t wait to get our hands on Naima! For the book’s creator, she’s hoping that readers will discover something special in Naima. “My goal is to create a satisfying and engaging story, that’s what I want readers to find,” she revealed.
And if Ricks had to sum up her new book in one line? She’s got an inspiring and enticing answer: “It’s natural to be scared of change but that shouldn’t stop you from moving forward.”
Do you like the look of this exciting new release from the home of Spinning, Brazen, and The Prince and the Dressmaker? Ready to fall in love with Ricks’ gorgeous new fantasy world? Let us know below!
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Images: First Second Books