Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
10ccs of Steven Doty


What inspires you to create and keeps you going?

In the beginning or my foray into comic book art? The thing that got me first doing art, was Famous Monsters mag.I loved monster movies as a kid, and would try to draw the monsters in the mag, crude, childish things, but it got me started. Now comics? well I have loved the artform since the 60s, read my first at around 6-7 yrs old. An old Metal Men, and a Dial H for Hero. Yet it never occurred to me to try and create them. It was many years down the road that a coworker told me of a person, a local creator, who was doing a personal appearance at a comic shop, and that I should take my art and show it.This was around 2000. so I mocked up a quick 5-pager, took it there, showed it to them and heard the words that forever changed my life! ” Where the hell you been?”

Thanks to Samal McNealy I am here and here to stay! Whew! got a bit long winded there.

Now, what keeps me going? Well, I love the artform! I have never had anything challenge my art, as doing comics. Then of course there are the peopleI have met, yourself included. I have never forgotten your answer to my letter to Sketch, NO! I am not too old to start!


Do you have a set routine?

Well, I have a very long and stressful day job. It hurts me finding time to do things. That and home life added in makes it time-poor, yet I somehow manage. I try to do something every day, does not happen, but I do try. My only real free time is the weekends. Then I will spend hours, sometimes to 2-3 in the am, to work on things. My routine? Well, first I read the script, 4,5-6 times or more, then I rest and let it gel for a day or two.all the while playing it as a movie in my head, stopping here and there in a “freeze frame” panning the “camera” to get the right angle, and look, plus mood. after a few notes, I start putting down to paper. I rarely do thumbs, just go ahead and draw it, and make changes as I ink, until I am satisfied.


What kind of output do you try to achieve?

Output? I try to do a page a day, rarely happens with the work and home schedule, but I do try to get something done everyday.


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

Anything and everything inspires me! some of the time it can be the smallest of things. I do like to have the T.V. on, the noise is in the background and I sorta, kinda, pay attention, if it’s something that grabs me. but it’s mostly just background noise. What’s funny is, subconscious or not, my wife tends to put on shows she knows I like, even though she does not like the shows I do. Read into that what you will.


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

The first? Samal Mc Nealy, hands down! Without his words, I never would have given it a thought!


When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?

Well after meeting Samal still had my doubts. Then after subscribing to Sketch, to learn about the biz, Then sending in that letter, well… took off by itself and never stopped! though at times I still have my doubts.


What do you find to be a challenge in creating?

Time !!! its my biggest hurdle!Another would be my lack of computer skills, and tech knowledge. Then there is, and I hate to say it, my wife. She hates comics. Thinks them childish and ridicules me for being 60 and still in love with them.


What else do you have to learn?

There is so much I need to learn. computer stuff, self promotion, at which I really suck at. coloring skills, improving my art, especially inking, etc, etc. You never stop trying to improve and learn!


What keeps you motivated to get better?

My motivation comes from seeing others work, plus my own sense of inadequacy


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

NO!NO!NO!. Sometimes I wish it would as ideas get blurred together, and I forget or lose the idea or thought.


Booster Shots

What advice do you have for aspiring creators?

advice? Do it for the love of the artform above all other considerations. If you think you want to do this for money, fame or being the “next big thing”,you are setting yourself up for a let down!Just create!, keep at it!, who knows? Keep TMNT in mind of what could be, but remember the odds are long. So do it for the love of the form, you will be happier.


Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

Never!! I can get an idea from a gum wrapper!


How do you handle the slow times?

For slow times, I draw fantasy, my first love artwise,  I do stand-alone illos to keep the juices flowing, oh and read. study, and learn.


How do you feel about the industry?

Mainstream? Too costly for one!,although the stories and art have grown, it’s just become too expensive to keep following, plus I do not like them changing our long-established characters we have grown to love. Make a new one!! simple! But with T.V. and movies it is bringing in new fans. Indies? You guys rock!!love them! support them! To me they are the unsung heroes, creators of new worlds to explore. They are the ones keeping this alive! Great stuff out there!


And do you have a website you would want to direct folks to?

Website? No! I don’t have one, need one but… don’t know how!

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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.