Born and raised in the American mid-west, Jeff Smith learned about cartooning from comic strips, comic books, and watching animation on TV. After four years of drawing comic strips for Ohio State's student newspaper, Smith co-founded the Character Builders animation studio in 1986. In 1991, he launched a company called Cartoon Books to publish his comic book BONE, a comedy/adventure about three lost cousins from Boneville. Against all odds, the small company flourished, building a reputation for quality stories and artwork. Word of mouth, critical acclaim, and a string of major awards, which continues to this day, helped propel Cartoon Books and BONE to the forefront of the comic book industry - an industry not known for its openness to non-action heroes. In the American comic book direct market (the largest system of comic book retail stores) BONE has risen to the #1 spot for humor. In 2005, the Scholastic Graphix imprint will publish Bone #1: Out of Boneville as a full-color graphic novel. Jeff Smith's work is published in thirteen languages and has won the highest awards in Germany, France, Italy, and at home. Between BONE and other comics projects, Smith spends much of his time on the international guest circuit promoting comics and the art of graphic novels.