In this installment of the Illustrated PEN, series guest editor Robert Kirby brings us a graphic narrative by author Summer Pierre.

Robert Kirby writes: “In ‘Dear Friend,’ Summer Pierre writes movingly about the meditative pleasures of a solo, mostly silent road trip. It’s a thoughtful piece, full of the appreciation for the little things in life—the little things that add up to something larger.”


Summer Pierre is a cartoonist, illustrator, writer, and teacher living in the Hudson Valley, New York. She is the author of the autobiographical comic series Paper Pencil Life, as well as the books The Artist in the Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week (Perigee/Penguin) and Great Gals: Inspired Ideas for Living a Kick-Ass Life (Perigee/Penguin). Her writing and art have appeared in The Rumpus, Hobart, The Nashville Review and the Booth Literary Journal. Visit her at

The Illustrated PEN is an online series that aspires to be at the intersection of literature, journalism, and visual storytelling, where images and words come together in an ever-emerging and essential creative form. We’ll feature fiction and nonfiction graphic narratives, comics journalism and illustrated reportage, stories of social justice and personal stories that can’t be told through words alone.