Behind The Scenes With Gale Galligan, Bestselling Artist of The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novels

Guest Blogger  //  Sep 3, 2020

Behind The Scenes With Gale Galligan, Bestselling Artist of The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novels

The Baby-sitters Club is back! We are so excited about the release of the newest book in the graphic novel series this week, LOGAN LIKES MARY ANNE! We had the pleasure of sitting down with the bestselling artist of the book, Gale Galligan. 

How did you first discover The Baby-sitters Club books and what has the journey in the BSC world looked like for you? 

When I was younger, I absolutely loved to read. I’d go to the library before school, after school, even during lunch sometimes, and pick up all sorts of books. Fantasy and adventure, stories where kids turn into animals and have to fight aliens, you know, the good stuff. I loved to read so much that there was one week where my mom grounded me from reading at home, because I kept trying to read when I was supposed to be doing other things!

So when I walked into the school library one morning and the librarian stopped me, I thought, Oh no, this is it. I’ve finally read too much. There’s nothing left. I will be banished from this place.

But what they said was: “Congratulations!” As it turned out, the library was doing a special giveaway, and since I was the fifth person in that morning, they handed me a package wrapped in brown paper. A surprise book.

Can you guess what that book was?

An installment of The Baby-sitters Club! My very first: Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic. I went home and devoured it all, and then had to go right back and check out all of the other volumes I could find. I was hooked from then on.

What were some of your most memorable or favorite moments about working on Logan Likes Mary Anne in particular?

Oh my gosh, I have so many favorite moments—I really got to go all-out for this book!

Aside from being able to introduce Jessi and Logan to readers of the graphic novel series, one of the things I most enjoyed working on for this book was drawing the scenes where Mary Anne has to confront her own fears. Those were really fun to visualize, especially as someone who grew up shy (and still is, just a little, although I’ve now had a lot more practice talking to groups!). There’s one double-page spread later in the book where I got to use lots and lots of dry, inky brush rendering to amp up the drama… it took a while, but I think it was worth the time. Since this was my last book in the series, I really wanted to give each page 200% and go out with a bang. 

You started the graphic novels with Dawn and the Impossible Three. Four books later, with Logan Likes Mary Anne, what are some things that have grown or evolved for you as you’ve worked on each book of the series? 

On the most visible level: my drawings have gotten better! Graphic novels involve a lot of drawing, and when you draw a lot, you start to see improvement. If you’d asked Gale from Dawn and the Impossible Three to draw a big dance scene in a gym, it would have taken much, much longer. I’ve been figuring out what tools work best to streamline my process and having a ton of fun as I go, and I hope that continues as I keep making books! Comics are great!

Less visible, but just as important (if not more so): I’ve gained confidence in my choices. When I first came on to the BSC, I was understandably intimidated—I was stepping into some big, talented shoes, and didn’t want to let anybody down! But as I started to suggest changes and assert my own voice more, I realized that the BSC team was excited to listen to me and have conversations about how we could make these adaptations the best versions of themselves. Knowing that you have the trust of your collaborators is a great way to help you build your own trust in your creative vision, and I’m really grateful for the relationship we’ve built over the years. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this behind the scene look at Logan Likes Mary Anne. Check back next week for more from Gale!