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people talking illustration
Leela Corman's photo

Leela Corman


About Leela

Leela Corman is an illustrator, cartoonist, painter, and educator. She studied painting, printmaking, and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art. She began her career in comics as an undergraduate, and then won a Xeric Grant in Fall 1999 to publish her first graphic novel, Queen’s Day. She has also published numerous shorter pieces in anthologies in the US, France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. Her most recent graphic novel, Unterzakhn(Schocken/Pantheon, 2012), set in the tenements and vaudeville houses of the Lower East Side at the turn of the last century, was nominated for the L.A. Times Book Award, the Eisner Award and was featured in Best American Comics 2013 (Houghton Mifflin). The French translation, Dessous, was nominated for Le Prix Artemisia and awarded the Prix Millepages in 2013. The Italian translation, Sotto, was awarded the ROMICS prize for best Anglo-American comic. She is an upcoming Yaddo fellow, in their Fall 2019 residency. She is also an illustrator, and has illustrated books on topics that range from urban gardening to sex for the very busy to the history of the skirt, and has worked for a diverse array of editorial clients including the band The Mountain Goats, songwriter Neko Case, PBS, the New York Times, BUST Magazine, UF/Shands Arts In Medicine, and more. Her short comics have run in The Believer, Nautilus Magazine, Re:Form, The Nib, Tablet Magazine, Symbolia, and The OC Weekly, and were collected into the book We All Wish For Deadly Force (Retrofit/Big Planet, 2016). Her short story, “Yahrzeit”, won a Silver Medal from the Society Of Illustrators in 2013. She has created nonfiction comics on subjects as diverse as the neurobiology of PTSD, the life of an expatriate bellydancer in Cairo during the recent political upheavals in Egypt, and the heroic work of Raoul Wallenberg during the Second World War. Her graphic novel Victory Parade will be published in 2021 by Schocken/Pantheon. In the fall of 2018, she co-curated an exhibition of American comics by women from the 1960's through today at Central Connecticut State University with Layet Johnson, which has since traveled to Good Weather Gallery in New Orleans. Leela is the co-founder, along with her husband Tom Hart, of Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, Florida, a school for illustration and graphic storytelling, where she teaches figure drawing and illustration. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Florida's College of Fine Arts, where she teaches illustration. She also travels the world teaching graphic storytelling, most recently in Denmark, Australia, and Hawai'i. In fall of 2018, she was awarded a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant for artists with young children.