Bill Nichols’ Prescription:
10ccs of the Process with
Ty Templeton


What inspires you to create and keeps you going?

The simple answer is inspiration isn’t particularly essential to the creative process. Like talent, inspiration is something of a myth.


Do you have a set routine?

Yes and no.  When I’m writing a script or laying out a story, I have a step by step process in how I break down a five act structure, create a story map, etc…..and for layouts, I start with mini-teeny thumbnails, blow them up and add details, blow them up again and ink ’em.  So there’s a process…..but I’m a writer on some days, an illustrator on others, and an inker on some days, so there’s no particular daily routine.


What kind of output do you try to achieve?

I want to finish a schedule that keeps me on deadline.  That means I have to pencil/ink a page in roughly a day in total, but I do all the thumbs first, then the penciling, so it’s usually three to four days of each discipline before I switch over.


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

Again, no inspiration needed.  I tend to play TV or podcasts in the background that doesn’t require my attention.  I hate to admit to it, but I love old game shows from the 50s like TO TELL THE TRUTH (with Bud Colyer, original voice of Superman) or ancient sitcoms like Get Smart or Green Acres.  I wait until down time to watch actual films.


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

I’m not sure.  Probably Curt Swan was the first I “noticed” as the “good” Superman artist (whom I got to work with for a few years!).  Maybe Steranko?  Maybe Wally Wood?  Maybe Walt Kelly and Al Capp?  I was aware of comics since before I could read, so there’s no single influence or moment.  Herge and Uderzo?  Yup.  Kirby and Kurtzman and Eisner came later, but that meant when I was a teenager.  And Neal Adams, of course, but he was so beyond what I could do, he wasn’t inspiring, but humbling.


When did you realize you could follow this path yourself?


It kind of snuck up on me.  I was on a path to be a full time musician, and comics were a fun side hustle.  It surprised me when I started making more money with a brush than a piano.


What do you find to be a challenge in creating?

Letting it go.  There’s always one more re-write or one more tweak, and at some point, you owe the editor a deadline, and your own brain a release.  But  I fiddle with fixing and editing until it’s out of my hands.


What else do you have to learn?

So so much.  More than I know, really.  I just started fiddling with painting, and I just got an ipad, so both of those skill sets are starting to build.  I’m not great with anatomy really, and still work on that almost every week.  I’m still at the start of the full journey.  


What keeps you motivated to get better?

I’m not excellent yet.  Why stop before you get really good?  I’ll be improving until my 80s with any luck.


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

Ah, that.  No I can’t.  It’s a burden when trying to sleep actually, and that’s where old radio shows and audiobooks come in….they distract the constantly roiling brain and trick it into sleep.


Booster Shots


What advice do you have for aspiring creators?

Build skillsets, don’t guess at things you should KNOW how to do.  A story has structure, a layout has a purpose….if you’re working from instinct you’ll get into trouble, but if you know what you’re doing, you’re never facing writer’s block or things you can’t draw.


Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

God no.  The problem is choosing which ones to work on.  I’ve got a folder of ideas for novels, film scripts, comic plots, mini-series, etc…..that folder is too large to ever get through, and I can come up with another dozen by tomorrow if you need ’em.  Ideas are plentiful things.


How do you handle the slow times?


At the moment, I’m fighting stage three cancer, so I’m on hiatus from work, and though I could do without the unpleasant parts, the down time is pleasant.  I’m catching up with movies I’ve missed and novels I never have time for.  My down times are less frequent than I’d like them, mostly. so I cherish ’em when I get em.


DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by the above creator are theirs. This interview may not 

be reprinted or reposted without permission.

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.