Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
Comics 10ccs of Mike W. Belcher
What inspires you to create and keeps you going?
I love the act of creation. Have since my teens. It keeps me going. Taking something from a plan to an actual finished product is great. After a bunch of years of not being active in creating my comics, I have a new appreciation for it and that’s what keeps me in it now.
Do you have a set routine?
Not really. If I did comics full time I would definitely make a schedule. But where I squeeze them into the openings of my design business, I just try to get something accomplished a day. An idea. A page. Lettering if I have something to that stage.
What kind of output do you try to achieve?
If I’m in book mode. A page a day. Now that can be one pencilled or inked. Or on a good day, both. I wish I could say I had more of those.
What inspires you WHEN you create? Music? Noise? Silence?
When I draw or ink, have to have my playlist going. From Johnny Cash to Metallica, it’s a nice soundtrack to my drawing process. When writing/lettering, all silence.
Who was the first comic book creator that influenced you to pursue this?
John Byrne. He had me at Fantastic Four, then made me a Superman fan.
When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?
When I got into comics as a serious hobby, reading them just wasn’t enough. I started taking sheets of paper, folding them and making my own comics. All my teens I wanted to write/draw Superman or Batman. Then in my 20s, I wanted to create something that was mine and never looked back. Comics are very low need in terms of creation. All you need, whether you’re a writer or an artist is pencil and paper. And with the print on demand service out there, anyone can make their own comics.
What do you find to be a challenge in creating?
Time. I find that it’s my biggest enemy. Not enough of it. I struggle with it every day.
What else do you have to learn?
Always something. Once I learned the biggest lesson, which was to believe in myself, it opened everything up.
What keeps you motivated to get better?
A better book for myself. If I can make it better for myself, it will make it better for a reader. So we all win.
Can you turn your brain (creativity) off (and on)?
I wish I could turn it off at 2 in the morning. And turn it on when I need it. But sometimes it’s contrary and hits when it wants.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Just do it. For so long I listened to that small voice in the back of my head that I was no good. That my stuff didn’t look professional or like so and so’s. It hampered me. It wasn’t until I just went for it and did it purely for fun, not taking it so seriously, did I actually start to grow as a creator.
Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?
Oh yeah. I was a lone wolf for so long keeping my stuff to myself. You tend to choke in the vacuum. I’ve recently started collaborating on other’s stories and it’s opening me up me by way of seeing things from another perspective.
How do you handle the slow times?
I handle most of the chores on my books. If I’m not feeling it one way, I’ll do something else. Or I read.
How do you feel about the industry?
I love comics. I think we are at a creative high point of variety within the indies and small press. I wish the big two would respect their readers and characters a bit more instead of the constant regurgitation of ideas. Where they go, the industry goes. However, The biggest thing I think that holds comics back is the current distribution model out there the industry has been saddled with for the last 20-some years. I know crowdfunding sites have opened some things up. But I just think there needs to be a better way established. One that’s open and fair, as well as, easy for the content providers to get traction as they grow. I know it’s not an easy answer though.
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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.