Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Kyle Bolton


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

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

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 (Chris A. Bolton) and I perform the voices and sound effects.
Next, I demonstrate how to draw Smash, our 10-year-old superhero character -- showing how simple shapes like circles and rectangles become seemingly complicated illustrations.
Then we have an interactive demonstration on how to make comics. Chris describes the panel layout and I draw it in front of the students. We ask for dialogue suggestions from the students, who then vote for the most popular choice. Finally we ask the students to choose the ending, which I proceed 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.

You can see photos from our event at Laurelhurst Elementary School in Seattle here.
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.