Characters From My Book: Professor Adams

Yesterday I approved the proof of Upside Down: A Vampire Tale with Top Shelf and the printer, and the book has been sent to press! Exciting! With just 39 days until October arrives, I’m finding that there is still a lot of work to be done. While we wait, I thought I’d share some more about the book. Meet Professor Adams:


Professor Adams is arguably the world’s most brilliant scientist (even if he is a little absent-minded), and he has come up with a very special potion that he’s been working on for months. He loves wearing sweater-vests and a suit coat, and enjoys cooking for others, when the occasion presents itself.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the entire book is colored with just three colors: black, white and halloween green. Every panel on every page is made up of only these colors. It’s a palette that came to me in a dream a few years ago, before I had even started sketching for the book. When I started drawing Harold and Professor Adams, I knew right away that my black, white and green color scheme was meant for Upside Down. Kind of fitting for a book about witches and vampires, don’t you think?

I’m excited to share some more behind-the-scenes looks at the book while we wait for its October release! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to know about the making of the book, or about what goes into developing a story or characters. Our fellow follower, Gemma, asked about the layout, pitching to a publisher, and deciding on what to show and what to leave out in my comic – I’ll definitely be posting on those topics soon.

Keep watching this blog, the Top Shelf website, and the Upside Down facebook group for more news and goodies!

7 Responses to “Characters From My Book: Professor Adams”
  1. LordByrum says:

    Seems like a lot of fun!

  2. gemmahawkins says:

    I love simple colour scemes, I think it can often be far more powerful than having a full palette to work with. It shows that the artist has had to be creative with the way they distribute and use colour. I think it’s perfect for a kids books too!

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks, Gemma! It really was a blast working with just the three colors. Every panel on every page was like a puzzle, where I could use color to describe an object, or a mood, or even a time of day. I’ve been exploring more two- and three-color images and am really loving it.

  3. gemmahawkins says:

    I just went to preorder Upside Down and realised that the international shipping is $34! Noooo.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      What the? For reals? If it’s really that much, then get in touch again when the book comes out. I might be able to ship it to you myself. Yeesh!

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