I met Jess Smart Smiley almost 4 years ago at LTUE, a sci-fi/fantasy writing conference. I was perusing the different author/illustrator tables when I came across Jess’s booth. We chatted for a few minutes–he had recently published Upside Down: A Vampire Tale and he asked me if I was a writer.
I told him I had an idea for a book and he actually seemed interested, so I elaborated. He told me how awesome it sounded, which was pretty neat. Honestly, it was the first time someone, other than a family member, showed genuine interest in and excitement for something I wanted to write. Looking back, it was pretty pivotal in keeping alive my hope/dream of one day publishing a book.
Since then, Jess and I have stayed in touch and he has become one of my favorite illustrators. He has done some awesome work in picture books, graphic novels, comic books and even a huge mural along a local river trail.
It’s always great seeing what Jess is up to next. His most recent project is a look and find coloring book. My daughter loves to color and loves look and find books, so we can’t wait for it to come out. Jess currently has a kickstarter set up for the project, which you can check out here. Seriously, take a gander and support the project.
He is a pretty busy guy–between this month and next, he will have 4 new, published books: 3 picture books and a sequel to his graphic novel for kids, Upside Down.