Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
Comics 10ccs of Brian Brinlee
What inspires you to create and keeps you going?
Probably to take my art and storytelling to the next level. To improve is a constant drive. As is the need to share my visual stories with people. I want others to enjoy what I do and be entertained.
Do you have a set routine?
I TRY to have a routine but I have kids so that doesn’t always hold together. LOL! My wife works so I take the kids to school in the morning. When I get back home, grab a quick breakfast, check my email and browse a little social media. Then get in the studio and get to work. I’ll often work through lunch and then grab something to eat when I pick up the kids from school. I may get in another hour of work after that but then its family time. After everyone goes to bed, I’ll usually stay up and work until around midnight.
What kind of output do you try to achieve?
As much as possible! LOL! Time is money, they say, so the more you get done, the more money you make. In theory. But realistically, I try to get around 5 pages a week penciled (or around 3pages if I am doing pencils with inks).
What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence?
Silence puts me to sleep so I have to have something to listen to. I will put on some music (I like everything from rock to movie scores), listen to an audio book, or find a podcast. I can play a movie and listen to it but it has to be something I’ve seen before, otherwise, I end up watching it. Sometimes when drawing a scene, I have to find the right mood music that represents it. So I might listen to some epic musical score for a battle scene or something that fits the story.
Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this?
There really isn’t just one. My main influences were Neal Adams (the best Batman artist), Jon Byrne, George Perez, and then later, Jim Lee. Jim Lee was the final push to get me to pursue comics as a career.
When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?
When I realized that I no longer wanted to work some deadend 8 to 5 job. I felt hollow like I was living up to my artistic potential. And I NEEDED to be creative. I felt my art was at a level that I could start actively pursuing comic work so I took the leap.
What do you find to be a challenge in creating?
Art-wise, modern buildings and cars are still a challenge. The perspective, the lines, the proportions, they all have to be correct in order to look right. After so many years of practice, I still struggle sometimes with that.
What else do you have to learn?
Well, everything. You never stop learning. Anatomy, perspective, page layouts, storytelling. There is always something new to learn. The artist who thinks that they are good enough that they have nothing else to learn is delusional (and more than a little egotistical). You should always push yourself to learn something new.
What keeps you motivated to get better?
Looking at the work of other artists that I admire and seeing what they are doing. There are so many really talented artists in the comics industry, both mainstream and indie. I’ll see some of their work and just go “wow, I wish I could do that” and that inspires me to push it to do better on my next piece of art.
Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)?
LOL! No, sadly, it never stops. Even when I am in the car driving, I’m thinking of new stories or ways to draw something. Even when I sleep, I sometimes have a dream that solves a problem and I’ll wake up saying “That’s it!”.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Keep practising. If you are a writer, keep churning out story after story, even if they don’t get published. If you are an artist, try to draw from real life. Use other artists as a guide for how to draw comic style art but try to develop your own style. Don’t wait years and years like I did. If you have an idea, do it!
Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?
I have a list of story ideas already written down that I will never have enough time to do. And I am constantly coming up with more. Some are good ones. Some, not so good. And that’s okay if not every story idea that you have is a winner.
How do you handle the slow times?
I curl up in a fetal position and cry quietly. LOL! No, seriously, the goal is to not have slow times. But the reality is that most artists experience it at some point. My slow time is always around the holidays. When that happens, I try to have personal projects to work on or use that time to catch up on any commissions that may have been sitting in the wings. If there is absolutely nothing, I will start a new project. If anything, its good practice. Financially, you need to be prepared for those slow times. Maybe have a savings or a side job that you do.
How do you feel about the industry?
That’s a bit of a tough one. Depending on who you talk to, the comic book industry is either doing just fine or mere months from collapse. The big publishers want the readers to think everything is doing okay. No problems. But shop retailers will tell you a different story. The comics industry is hurting. Sales are down. Personally, it may be that readers are tired of corporations dictating what happens to their favorite characters just to drive sales. The big publishers are hurting their own market. They treat their books like a product, not a story that can grow and develop. I feel that some of the best books are independents because the creators have full control and they care about what happens with their story and their characters. You are also going to find more original content in independent books. This is just my opinion.
I think what the industry needs is books from new creators. Maybe readers are tired of what the big publishers are doing to their characters. Maybe readers need something fresh. It just might give the industry the boost it needs.
Website you would like to promote?
You can find me on Instagram: brian.brinlee
I am also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/brianbrinleeart
And I am on Deviant Art: www.deviantart.com/taman88
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