“Making Comics: My Graphic Novel Process,” a craft essay by Jess Smart Smiley

Heavy Feather Review

New Comic
My name is Jess Smart Smiley and I make comics. My newest project is a square, interactive comic called
Fantasy Quest, and it’s live on Kickstarter right now. (Oh, don’t worry—there are more plugs for Fantasy Quest to come—but let’s talk process first.)

Hamburger Style
The earliest comics I remember making were created by folding a blank sheet of 8.5 x 11” printing paper in half (“Hamburger Style”), and then adding words and drawings as I thought of them. (I’m sure there’s a stack of folded paper somewhere with half-finished “cover” drawings and blank interiors.)

Dad offered to make copies of some of my comics and drawings using a photocopier and my eyes were opened to the world of publishing.

Most of my early attempts at comics were lame parodies of the action comics I was reading at the time: X-Men became “X-Kids”, Batman became “Bratman”, and…

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