Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
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What inspires you to create and keeps you going?

Mostly habit at this point. I’ve been at it so long that cartooning is what I’m best at. It’s fulfilling to do something you’re good at.

 

Do you have a set routine?

On a good day I get up about 8. Coffee. Pop tart. Lounge chair. Crank out a completed comic in about three hours from start to finish. On a bad day I get up about noon and chip away at a comic until bed (Also coffee and pop tart).

 

What kind of output do you try to achieve?

Right now I’m just doing three comics a week. Very manageable. I try to complete 14 comics in 20 days then take 10 to just write. I’ll have to tweak that if I ever do more than 3 a week though.

 

What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence?

I really WANT to be someone who puts something on in the background. In fact, I usually throw on The Office or a podcast, but I keep pausing or turning it down so I can get something done.

 

Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this?

Watterson inspired my love of the medium, but it was webcomic creators that influenced me to try it myself. High on that list are Scott Kurtz of PvP and Mike and Jerry (Mike & Jerry?) of Penny Arcade. Guys like them made it seem attainable.

 

When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?

Probably after my first attempt: a comic called Spells & Whistles. It was as bad as it sounds but I made a lot of them. I started to think I could actually pull it off.

 

What do you find to be a challenge in creating?

Choosing colors. I’ve never really had an eye for it and there’s no real trick to it. You can either do it or you can’t. I have to try and ape my way through but I’m rarely happy with my choices.

 

What else do you have to learn?

I could probably get a lot better at writing succinctly. Editing my dialogue down has always been a challenge. I’m getting better but cutting those precious  words is still like opening my veins to me.

 

What keeps you motivated to get better?

Looking at anything I’ve done that’s more than a couple of months old. I’m one of those artists that hates all his old work.

 

Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)?

Yup. Well sort of. I can dial it way down when I need to. On is the default position. I think a part of me is always running comic scripts in the background.

 

Booster Shots

What advice do you have for aspiring creators?

Keep drawing. Any advice that any cartoonist gives you will only ever be what worked for them and everyone’s story is different. The only thing we all have in common is we never stopped drawing comics. Never stop. You’ll be glad you didn’t when your story begins. 

 

Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

Used to. But then I did comics for 15 years and never had to go back to the same well twice. So I stopped worrying. I think worrying about something like that is probably the best way to make it happen.

 

How do you handle the slow times?

I use them as a cue to relax and occupy my mind else-wise. You’ve gotta trust that while inspiration may not always come when you call, it WILL be on time.

 

How do you feel about the industry?

I think it’s as solid as ever. Comics are agile and will always find a way to remain relevant. Not all creators, companies or institutions will though. But that’s always been true.

 

Do you have a website you would like to promote?

A lot of people read my comic on Instagram @crabgrasscomic. But I’d like people to know that they can read the entire archive at www.gocomics.com/Crabgrass. Subscribing there actually helps generate me a little income

Bill Nichols

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.