Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
Comics 10ccs Marlin Shoop
What inspires you to create and keeps you going?
Movies and animation. I’m a cinephile. I love everything movies, good, bad, doesn’t matter. But it gets my creative juices flowing, cause every movie starts with a storyboard, and that’s comics.
Do you have a set routine?
I work at night, right after dinner, I work from 6:30pm until 2:30-3am. Get up at 6:45am to start the day for my daughter to get ready for school. Then I will take a nap with my 2 year old son.
What kind of output do you try to achieve?
I try to pencil and ink a page a day. If I get one done, I move on to the next, until it’s time for sleep. I can’t pull all nighters anymore, I’m getting old.. HA!
What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence?
Film scores are what I listen to. Music with no words, keeps me focused and on task.
Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this?
John Buscema, after getting a copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.
When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?
I was 12 years old. My dad loved getting me books on what I was passionate about, and he gave me a book called How to Draw Art for Comic Books. It had a bunch of interviews with different artists, and one of them was Joe Kubert. I then found out in the back of the book after reading his interview, that he had a school to help artists pursue this career path.
What do you find to be a challenge in creating?
Staring at the blank page. I make myself mark the page to have something down, then I fix it later. I love everything about creating and visual storytelling, but if I’m not feeling the urge, I end up staring… If it’s marked, I have no choice, but to continue.
What else do you have to learn?
I’m constantly experimenting, right now I’m painting landscapes in the style of Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. I love the richness of the backgrounds. So I am challenging myself into making the background a character in itself. But they are not just backgrounds, but iconic landmarks from comics and movies. But all this I am doing digitally, just to hone my skills on the tablet. I try to work on what I think is my weakness in drawing.
What keeps you motivated to get better?
My peers. Having friends and mentors in this industry is my greatest resource of getting better. If I’m staring at a page too long, I will ask to see what I am missing. Or what can I do to make this stronger in storytelling. But they make me want to keep up with them, so I strive to be great as my peers.
Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)?
Weirdly, I can. I think it helps that I have small children, cause all I do is think about if they will survive the day! Then when my wife gets home, I warm up a bit, and the creative juices start flowing.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Practice, practice, practice. There is no easy way to become what you need to become in order to make it in this business, except practice. Be diversive. In comics, it is feast or famine. If you need work, and there isn’t anything coming in, look into other avenues of the art world. Whether it is a logo design, educational images for Elementary school books, storyboarding for an insurance commercial, or a balloon show in Dubai. It pays the bills, until a script is ready for you to draw. If this is what you truly want to do, do it with all your heart. Persistence and tenacity, a motto my dad told me, and I have used it ever since. Keep knocking doors until somebody answers but make sure you can put food on your table to continue.
Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?
I never really thought about it enough to worry. Should I worry that I am not worrying? Lol
How do you handle the slow times?
Commissions, and as I said in the advice question, there are other things you can do with your skills. It may be something you are not interested in, but it will pay the bills until something comes. I was lucky enough that I got to do storyboards for the upcoming Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island. The director is a longtime friend, and he needed a storyboard artist.
How do you feel about the industry?
It’s a different time since when I was trying to break in. It is way easier now in the digital era, that someone can self publish themselves, promote on social media, etc. I think we are in a great time right now.
Website you would like to promote?
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.