updated 04/19/2012 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/20/2012 AT 2:15 PM ET
He may not be saving the world like his character in the Transformers franchise, but Shia LaBeouf is making his own mark as a comic book cartoonist.
LaBeouf, 25, has drawn and written his own graphic novels, Stale N Mate, Cyclical and Let’s Party, and the webcomics series Cheek Up’s, all sold through his self-publishing website.
The actor even surprised attendees at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo last weekend by purchasing a table to sell his books and sign copies for fans. LaBeouf, who went largely unrecognized, says the best part about the impromptu trip was just “having an opportunity to blend in with 5,000 fans all enjoying the same thing.”
The actor got his start in the comic world in between filming for his upcoming movies, The Company You Keep and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.
“I just did it for fun,” he tells PEOPLE. “I had some downtime and I’ve always been a big fan of comic books.”
And while LaBeouf has found a comfort zone on-camera, when it comes to on the page, “I’ve said it’s like singing in the shower,” he says. “It’s very free and without edit.”
“I do love acting,” says the comic-book artist. “But this is a fun escape once in a while.”