[Re]Start: It’s Never Too Late – James Pattinson leverages the graphic novel to encourage young adults to pursue their career dreams

By   Hannah Bickerton 3 min read

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The graphic novel is a format that continues to increase in popularity, with more publishers and writers pushing the boundaries of the medium forward. This is the case of James Pattinson’s genre-bending graphic novel, [Re]Start: It’s Never Too Late, which seeks to educate and support young people to make decisions about their future. With the help of whitefox, James and his creative team were able to collaborate with and receive feedback from expert editors and designers, who worked towards realising the project’s vision.

[Re]Start is a hybrid publication, merging the graphic novel medium with a wellbeing and development handbook. It follows seven young people as they embark on a quest to open themselves to life’s possibilities, all whilst navigating unique challenges. As a creative and collaborative initiative, [Re]Start was published in response to a gap in the developmental book market – one that addresses young adults as they kick-start their career.  

The founder of the project, James Pattinson, is an award-winning Oxbridge-educated entrepreneur, who conceptualised [Re]Start as an extension of his professional development training. In fact, James’ work has long been founded on principles of access and inclusion, from mentoring young people as Global Brand Manager at P&G to co-founding creative consultancy Reluctantly Brave. To provide authentic insights and storytelling, James assembled a diverse team of creatives: UAL graduate Latreya Nelson, Cornish illustrator and Falmouth graduate Julia Cockerham, Bristolian comic artist and illustrator Eddy Nicholls  and young creatives and illustrators Alex Copeman and Yabaewah Scott.

With access to whitefox’s experts, James and his team were able to ensure their satisfaction with the publishing process while having final say on important decisions along the way. Together, they mapped out the overall story arc and agreed on major plot points. Then, to hash out the details of the story, they collectively began thumbnailing scenes, continuously editing and refining their vision.

During the storyboarding process, the team collectively reviewed the layout, ensuring illustrations and words always kept the same pace, one alongside the other, one enhancing the other. Using Miro as an interactive and collaborative board, they were able to create and organise the visual representation of the book, keeping a record of each development along the way. The book is the result of on-site research, with the creative team getting accounts from young people themselves and visiting the places seen in the graphic novel to capture authenticity.

Producing a graphic novel can be a frantic process, with each of the collaborators assigned pages to edit, working swiftly to finish them on time, and then checking in as a group to see how the story hangs with each set of changes. However, this complex and laborious process could not have been successful without input from the experienced specialist publishing team behind it. The creation of a quality book is not a solitary act – you want to be getting the most out of every pair of hands that a manuscript passes through.

This collaborative spirit was also the driving force behind [Re]Start’s successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which offered the team benefits that superseded the need to fund the project. Beyond reaching 35 per cent of the funding goal in its first week, the campaign was effective in connecting with readers and influencing the formation of a loyal community of readers and supporters. Crowdfunding was also in line with the project’s mission to make the reader an active participant in the creative process, allowing them to share their opinions on the idea, the design and art. Persistence and transparency are essential when crowdfunding a project, making it the perfect platform to facilitate the project.

[Re]Start: It’s Never Too Late will be published in February 2023. Since its crowdfunding campaign, the project has prompted a strong and growing digital engagement, piquing the interest of many TikTokers and hailed by The Bookseller as ‘innovative’ and ‘accessible’ – all of this part of a robust marketing campaign that is set to spotlight the relevance, authenticity and impact the book delivers on. 

Graphic novels such as [Re]Start make rich artistic experiences possible through their emphasis on communication and collaboration. James Pattinson’s collaboration with whitefox aims to promote diversity and inclusion both in the final product and in the creative process, and it supports the author’s ambitions to build a platform that grows beyond the book itself and into other future ventures.

Buy your copy of [Re]Start: It’s Never Too Late here.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.