Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
10ccs of Cary Kelley


What inspires you to create and keeps you going?

 Inspiration is a crazy whimsical animal. I will hear something on the radio, or in the background on the TV and think…”cool concept, but would it be fun to explore that?”. If I think yes, then I start looking at how to turn it around, make it fresh, original, or take it to places that interest me personally. Telling stories in general fuels my fire. I love it, and always have, so it’s not hard to get motivated in that direction.


Do you have a set routine?

Not really, at least in terms of a daily grind. When I sit down I always like to have several hours open so I can just bang keys like crazy, go where my head takes me. Most of my time is spent in the editing process, to be honest. I do a lot of cutting.


What kind of output do you try to achieve?

I like to have a couple thousand words at a sitting, several days a week if that’s possible. Some weeks are better than others. Since I have little kids around the house, they tend to sponge up my free time. I write a lot late at night when little heads are on their pillows.


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

 I really can’t write without a soundtrack, and I generally tailor the music to the story more often than not. Dynagirl gets written to a lot of hard rock 80s music, 48 was written to electronica and punk, and Dead Reckoning is almost always bagpipes and drums. Oddly enough, my pirate novels are being written to Maroon 5. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.


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

Mike Grell, Matt Wagner, and Terry Moore are the three guys I first saw digging it out in the trenches, going their own way. I mean sure, the Image guys were awesome, but they always had such huge money behind them I really didn’t see them as a personal inspiration as much as the others. Of course it didn’t hurt that I loved their books and was in Seattle at the time so I got a lot of face time with Mike Grell and Matt Wagner. When I left the Navy and came home to Texas I spent a good bit of time picking Terry Moore’s brain as well, and from there…it just seemed like a natural progression for me.


When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?

The minute I found the Digital Webbing website. I honestly thought I was on an island until I discovered that site. Once I did, I spent about a week just stunned at what I had found there, and then…it kicked into high gear.


What do you find to be a challenge in creating?

I love so much about creating, it’s hard to find things that feel difficult. If I had to single out one thing that challenges me the most it’s probably the marketing aspect, because there’s less creative fire burning during those times. It’s something I’ve learned to do over time, because I had to, but it’s definitely the least fun part of being a creator!


What else do you have to learn?

Oh wow, we don’t have enough room for that list! I’m always learning. I have, over time, developed a certain method to my madness, a work progression so to speak, that seems to work really well for me, but I constantly keep my eyes and ears open for new methods and approaches because the game is constantly changing. We have to, as creatives, adapt to the constantly changing world in which we live, otherwise things will simply pass us by. It’s funny, when the internet was young, if you had a website, you were light years ahead of the field. Now, you have to be tied into numerous social media sites to the point where the boring old website is almost a dinosaur.  I will always believe that the day we stop learning is the day we die.


What keeps you motivated to get better?

The fun, hands down. Writing, making comics, lettering, it’s all fun for me. I enjoy the challenges that come with every creative thing I do, and there’s nothing quite so much fun as finding that speed bump that seems completely insurmountable, and then getting over it. Those things drive me to push forward, get better, and enjoy every single second of what I do.


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

Never. And that sucks, because I kinda like sleep! I can’t tell you how many nights I lay awake writing the next chapter in my head, or grabbing for that next plot detail, the next big villain, or finally latching on to that perfect ending. I’m always writing, no matter what I’m doing.


Booster Shots

What advice do you have for aspiring creators?

Read, watch, film, write, draw, paint, sculpt, scream, cry, dance, rinse, repeat. Just do what you enjoy doing, and don’t let anyone tell you your stuff isn’t good enough. No one was ever “good enough” at some point.


Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

I’ve never thought about it. I’ve had that voice in my head since I was a little kid running AD&D games, writing and drawing goofy cartoons on my book covers, and reading every comic I could get my hands on. I really don’t know what I’d do if those voices stopped all of a sudden. Scary thought!


How do you handle the slow times?

I do a lot of reading, but then I do that in the busy times too. I always have a book to read in my free time. I find it’s a lot more stimulating than reading Facebook all the time, and I get more out of it.


How do you feel about the industry?

I think it’s awesome actually. And it’s funny, I know a lot of people who would disagree with me, but I really do. Today, I think being an independent creator is the best possible scenario. The larger companies are becoming corporate story mills for other media, and their comics have become a secondary enterprise. What this means is they’re very limited in what they can do with their intellectual properties, because those changes could affect the more lucrative ancillary media. With all that being said, you take an independent creator with a cool comic, he or she can do whatever they want. They can take risks, try new things, play around with impunity and never have a second thought about a bunch of shareholders and what they think. There’s a great deal of freedom in that.


Website you would like to promote?

Well, right now is down for retooling, but it’ll be back up soon! We’re also in the middle of rebuilding the Rising Sun website, so keep an eye out for that!

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Bill Nichols

Author, Artist, Editor for
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.