Let’s Make Comics – book review

Let’s Make comics by Jess Smart Smiley

Paperback: 96 pages
Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications; Act edition (7 Aug. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399580727
ISBN-13: 978-0399580727
Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.8 x 27.9 cm

The Blurb

Create your very own Comics. 

Call them comics, comic books, cartoons, or even sequential art. No matter the name, comics are everywhere – from the books you read to the hilarious TV shows and action-packed movies you watch.

Cartoonist and comics-making instructor Jess Smart Smiley presents sixty-five hands-on activities, hosted by best friends Peanut (the turtle) and Bramble (the bear).

With each activity, you can complete a new comic, using a variety of key skills, such as writing, drawing, character design , and story telling. 

Jess Smart Smiley makes rad pictures with his bare hands and loves to crate stories for all ages, He lives in Utah, where he can be found drawing in his sketchbook, hosting a comic jam, or enjoying time with his family. Visit his website at www.jess-smiley.com

What’s the Book About?

This book claims to be aimed at 7-10 year olds but I think it would be fun for kids of all ages. There is so much to learn and do on every page. Forget loads of boring text, your lessons on how to make your own comic are mostly presented in comic format. There are other lessons which involve puzzles and learning to draw, but each is simple and fun. But just because you are having fun doesn’t mean that you are not learning skills and this book has a ton of them to learn. For example:

  • character design; facial expressions, body language, actions
  • drawing skills
  • formatting; the size and shape of your comic and how it impacts on your story
  • Idea-generating; come up with, build and follow through on your ideas
  • Inking; learning how to create easy-to-understand illustrations
  • Lettering; using style, placement and design to create visual word
  • Pacing; knowing when to ‘speed up’ or ‘slow down’ to help readers focus on the important aspects of your story
  • Storytelling; words, pictures, characters, tone and action work together to tell your story
  • Tone-Setting; Mood and environment creation
  • Visual Literacy; Good illustrations tell parts of the story that aren’t clear in the text.
  • Writing; how to create a good manuscript and dialogue.

Our Verdict

All three of my kids have found this book fun and useful. They are aged, 8, 11 and 13 years and all love drawing. The two eldest love making comics and already have many creations. This book has helped them to tone up on their skills, both in writing and drawing. The Little Man found the activities fun and hopefully will be writing his own comics soon. Now that he is home educated I may even have a ‘lesson’ based on comic making.

The lessons are well presented and funny and each page has something interactive so the learning never stops. Neither does the fun. 

Here is the introduction page, as you can see, it’s simple but instructive and you turn the page and get going straight away.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains an affiliate link. 


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  1. October 16, 2018 / 4:15 pm

    Ooh this looks great! My six year old is maybe a little young for it but she loves to draw so definitely one to bear in mind for when she’s a bit older. #KLTR

  2. Angela Milnes
    November 5, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    I like that the instructions are in comic format! It keeps things consistent and easy! Love it!

  3. November 17, 2018 / 9:30 am

    This is a really cool idea for a book – really imaginative and a great way to engage with children who love comics #KLTR

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A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

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