Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
Comics 10ccs Clint Hollingsworth
What inspires you to create and keeps you going?
For many years, it was the dream of being a well-known comic artist, paid a good page rate and making my living sitting at home, drawing. Eventually, after years of trying to get into corporate comics and only having some low-selling jobs with indies, I began working solely on my own works. Things that I have control and copyright over.
I find I enjoy working on my own stuff a lot more that I would the 700th iteration of Spiderman. I like making comic art that I find cool, and writing stories that interest me.
Do you have a set routine?
Comics used to be a side thing, done in the evenings after my advertising work. Full disclosure nowadays I just create comics when I feel like it, and my regular routine in now about the novels I’m writing, which have proven to be much more lucrative.
What kind of output do you try to achieve?
In comics, I have been doing the same web comic since April 2000, The Wandering Ones. When I started, I was doing the equivalent of 5 pages a week. Now, it’s dropped down to one a week, sometimes less. Though I have fans, I’m mostly doing this thing for me now.
What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence?
I listen to meditation music when I write. When I’m drawing, I have an ITunes playlist or two that I listen to, or sometime I have the TV on in the background.
Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this?
I think it was Russ Heath. My dad read me Haunted Tank comics when I was little, and I imprinted on Heath’s incredible drawing skills. Also influenced by Neal Adams, John Byrne, Gene Colan, and John Buscema.
When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?
When I was about 19, I just started drawing comics on an 18×24 pad and loved that fact that I was producing static movies so much, I couldn’t stop. Each one got better and I studied how my heroes solved problems and tried to follow in their footsteps.
What do you find to be a challenge in creating?
Time management and focus. After all these years, I should be better at both, but I’m not. So I just keep nibbling away at it and eventually I get publishable works.
What else do you have to learn?
I can always improve in both art and writing, but I don’t burn with the same passion I did at a younger age. Most of my searching is inner searching these days, even in my art and writing. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
What keeps you motivated to get better?
Seeing these younger artists who are SO incredible. Not just the corporate stuff, but the newer crops of artists who are just turning out such interesting stories without having to over render everything like many artists of my generation. There is so much talent in the webcomic world, I could sit and read for days, if I had the time.
Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)?
Since I am trying to get a writing career going I need to be able to at least get something done everyday. Unlike some, I am a very slow writer (glacial) so I have to keep pecking at it everyday. When the words won’t come, I switch to drawing my webcomic, or coloring some of my older stories for publication through my Amazon.com imprint.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
It’s perfectly Okay if you just want to draw, but it is so much more satisfying to create your own universes. While you’re trying to get that big break with one of the big companies, work on your own creator-owned work too. Outline stories, brainstorm stories with friends. Find other creators to hang with.
I publish my comics through CreateSpace.com. The print versions are not big sellers in comparison with my novels, but when I want to exhibit at a convention, the cost to ME for copies is pretty reasonable and at a good convention you can def make a profit.
Ebook versions of your comics will outsell print versions if you put them on Comixology and Amazon.
Learn to format your own stuff.
Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?
Ha! No. I worry I won’t have enough good years left to get them all out there.
How do you handle the slow times?
Slow times give you plenty of time to generate content. I almost look forward to the slow times, because I can get old work ready for publication, finish stories that I started before the webcomic and of course write new novels.
How do you feel about the industry?
I have never really been a part of the Industry, and 8 out of 10 professionals have no idea who I am. And I’m good with that. I think when people talk about the industry they’re asking about books in comic shops which usually means Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, IDW and a few smaller publishers. But mostly Marvel and DC which do a terrible job of coming up with new ideas.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see comics go 90% digital and mail order in the next ten to twenty years and then, there won’t be much for comic shops to do. In that case, the main hurdle won’t be getting in a brick and mortar outlet, but simply getting the buzz out there to interested readers. Then, who needs a publisher?
And do you have a website you would want to direct folks to?
The Wandering Ones Webcomic starts here (Pack a lunch. If you like it, you’ll be reading a good long while)
My novels and graphic novels can be found on my Amazon page (most of the print versions can also be ordered through B&N)
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Author, Artist, Editor for ShoutFyre.com
Bill is the creator of Arteest & Ursula comics, writer for Ringtail Cafe, co-creator of Savage Family, writer and inker of HellGirl: Demonseed. Editor for ShoutFyre and Sketch Magazine. Co-author of Camelot Forever novel series.