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Meet Your Instructor: Astound Senior Agent Aurora Barlam

Published on 05/02/2024

Meet one of our Graphic Novel Bootcamp instructors, Aurora Barlam. Aurora has been with Astound US Inc. for over seven years working in a range of industries. As an Astound senior agent, Aurora has specialized in graphic novel projects, helping many illustrators improve their portfolios and land new graphic novel jobs.

Q- What is your #1 tip for those interested in working in graphic novels?
A- Master the basics of sequential art and paneling. Once you master the basics, there are lots of fun ways to bend the rules, like showing characters fall out of panels or getting rid of the panel borders altogether.

Q- What are some graphic novels you enjoyed agenting?
A- I have worked on many graphic novel projects with Astound illustrators. Some that I’ve really enjoyed include, the “Adventure Kingdom” series illustrated by Pedro Rodriguez, five of the “Far Out Fairy Tales” series illustrated by Alex Lopez, and “The Haunted High-Tops” illustrated by Fran Bueno.

Q- What is your illustration/art background?
A- I graduated from RISD with a degree in illustration, then before joining Astound, I worked as a painting and drawing instructor. I have been with Astound now for over 5 years working closely with artists in the children’s publishing and graphic novel industries.

Q- What are some memorable projects you have agented?
A- I’ve had the opportunity to agent many wonderful projects, including Major Makes History, about President Biden’s dog – written by Emmy award winner Jill Twiss, and illustrated by Astound’s Maribel Lechuga for HarperCollins, and The Seed of Compassion, written by his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and illustrated by Astound’s Bao Luu for Penguin Random House.

Q- How do you make sure you stay up to date with the industry?
A- I make sure to keep learning. I have recently completed the Comics Experience Course Comic Editing and Project Management. This course has been very helpful in managing graphic novel projects for our artists.


Learn more about our Graphic Novel Bootcamp and other course offerings here.

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