Characters From My Book: Harold

With my very first graphic novel coming out in just a month and a half (so exciting!), I thought it would be fun to have a little getting-to-know-you of sorts, right here on the blog. So, without further ado, meet Harold:

Harold is the main character in Upside Down: A Vampire Talemy first graphic novel, coming this October from Top Shelf Productions. Harold loves candy so much, that he ends up losing his teeth and running away. Although he loves most candy, some of his favorites include gum, licorice and chocolate.

The entire book started with a single sketch in my sketchbook a few years ago. I had been drawing cats and fashionistas, and had an inkling to scribble out a vampire, so I did. I thought it would be kind of funny for a vampire to lose his teeth, so I started playing around with the idea, and coming up with other characters and ideas that went along with this toothless vampire.

Harold, his family, and his friends look quite a bit different now and in the book, then they did when I first drew them in my sketchbook. I was exploring clothing and facial expressions and names and characters, and kept drawing and learning more about Harold, until he looked very similar to the way I draw him now.

After filling page after page in my sketchbook with witches, vampires, mad scientists and more, I realized that I had a big story to tell, and it had all started with a sketch. Watch this blog, the Facebook group, and the Top Shelf website for more news and previews from Upside Down: A Vampire Tale.

P.S. Upside Down: A Vampire Tale has been nominated for an Arty award in the ” Graphic Novel/Zine/Multimedia Publication” category! If you’ve liked my comics so far and have enjoyed the free 9-page preview, would you mind taking a minute to vote for my book?

VOTE HERE. Thank you so much!

12 Responses to “Characters From My Book: Harold”
  1. LordByrum says:

    I would buy it. Seems wonderful!

  2. gemmahawkins says:

    It’s very interesting seeing your sketch books! A lot of artists I know (well, people I know that like to draw) don’t like to show their workings, but I think it’s fascinating to see how all these characters were born.

    I feel encouraged that you can start off with something so small and it can become something far bigger. I AM ENCOURAGED.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thank you, Gemma. It is SO GOOD to hear that you find this encouraging. It’s supposed to be encouraging, and I’m also fascinated to know that there were 144 pages of vampire stories tucked into that single sketch! I started this blog as a platform to share what I’m learning and working on, and that includes the processes I use and my explorations in drawing and writing. I’ll be posting more sketches and how-I-made-my-book posts, so let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see. Thanks again!

      • gemmahawkins says:

        Well, I’m very interested to know more about things such as how you decided on the layout of your story, which images to include and which to leave out. My friend and I are thinking of making a few little comic strips but I find that I always want to keep everything in, map every movement, as though I’m directing a film.

        Also I’m interested in how you pitched your idea, kind of how you packaged it before submitting it.

        But basically, I’m interested in everything so you can just ignore these!

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        These are EXCELLENT questions, Gemma! Actually, I was really nervous about the layout and what all to include myself, so I’ll have to put something together on those. Submitting to the publisher was nerve-wracking as well, so I’ll make a separate post for that.

        Congratulations on your comic project! Are you splitting the writing/drawing duties?

      • gemmahawkins says:

        We are, I’m doing the writing and my friend is going to do the art. I was thinking of making a few issues and leaving them about the place at first. Just to give people a bit of a free story with some nice pictures!

        Basically my friend and I are just looking for projects that we can do together because we love to work together. And I decided on comics because I wrote a graphic novel for my MA final project, so I have a bit of experience. But that particular script is a bit of a beast for us to tackle.

        I’m looking forward to your future posts, can’t wait to hear more about your processes.

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        Very cool! (This is fun, getting to know you bit-by-bit through the blog :P) I love that you and your friend are finding ways to create together. I do the same thing with my buddies, and my work improves because of them. I like the idea of leaving your issues around, for people to look at and enjoy. Fun!

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  2. […] Tale. If you haven’t already, take a minute to get to know some of the other characters, like Harold, Professor Adams and […]

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