Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Chris A. Bolton


Region: Oregon
Age Levels: 5-10 and 11-13
Will Travel: < 25 miles
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:

I'm the writer of Smash: Trial by Fire (Candlewick Press, 2013), an all-ages graphic novel about a 10-year-old superhero, which is illustrated by my brother, Kyle.

A Junior Library Guild Selection
2014 Children's Choice Book Award winner
2013 Oregon Spirit Book Award winner
2014 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens nominee
2014 Black-Eyed Susan Book Award nominee

Presentation Description:
We open with a 15-20 minute reading from our all-ages graphic novel, SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE. Panels from the book are projected onscreen while my brother (Kyle Bolton) and I perform the voices and sound effects.
Next, Kyle demonstrates how to draw Smash, our 10-year-old superhero character -- effectively showing how simple shapes like circles and rectangles become seemingly complicated illustrations.
Then we have an interactive demonstration on how to make comics. I describe the panel layout to Kyle, who draws it in front of the students. We ask for dialogue suggestions from the students and they vote for the most popular choice. Then we ask the students to choose the ending, which Kyle proceeds to draw based on their votes.
We also have an illustrated handout called "How to Make Comics -- the Smash Way!" that teachers and librarians can share with students.

Click here to see photos from our event at Laurelhurst Elementary School in Seattle, Washington.
For older students in the middle school age range, we have a slightly more involved discussion about the process of making comics, with six easy-to-follow steps, and an illustrated handout to demonstrate our process.