10 Questions for Travis Williamson
Travis Williamson is a writer, illustrator and art director. Here he answers 10 questions about his work, future goals, and creative process.
1. How long have you been working as an illustrator?
I’ve been working for about four years but have only been open for full-time work since I graduated from The Joe Kubert School in May 2018.
2. You work in comics and graphic novels. Can you tell me more about how they come together for you? Do you produce Nun Assassin from concept to writing, to thumbnails, to render, color and finish, or do others pick up pieces of this process?
With every book or project, I start by laying out a big piece of white paper and just doodling until I get something I like. This can take up to a week sometimes.
With Nun Assassin, the original idea was to get myself and a bunch of my artists friends to work on our own stories based around the simple idea of a convent of nuns assassinating demons and whatnot throughout time.
Now, because I felt bad not being able to supply page rates to my friends, I’m going to Kickstart the first issue, which is around 35 pages of my own art, with the idea of having extra stories created by my mates as stretch goals.
3. Where do you come up with your ideas? Are there places that you frequently discover inspiration, even when following art direction from others (if you do)?
Some of my favorite ideas have come from me just getting fed up and doing whatever comes to my head. That's how Nun Assassin came about. It’s like they say, if you’re overthinking it you’re not thinking about it enough.
Sometimes though, my ideas come from more particular places.
A few years ago I wrote a short story called Ocean Man based on growing up in Birmingham England and mental illness. Another short story I wrote was inspired by The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
4. What are your favorite projects to work on, and why? Is it writing, drawing, or another aspect?
Drawing, hands down. Out of everything, it’s what I can do best.
I like writing and I love painting, but I’ve dedicated so much of my life to drawing it can be hard to focus on the rest. Plus, it’s just such a good feeling to pull off a good drawing.
Like most, my favorite projects are ones where I can do whatever I want.
5. What do you find to be the most difficult challenge in illustrating?
Probably, like most things, just maintaining the confidence to know I can do it.
I, like many, can go weeks just kicking myself and getting all down thinking I can’t do it – but you always end up coming out of those times better than when you went in.
6. How have you overcome these kinds of roadblocks or situations?
Doing something completely different from creating.
Right now I’m putting together a dog walking company which helps my mind switch gears and not get bogged down.
7. Are there any art programs or workshops that you have found to be particularly helpful in up-leveling your work or meeting helpful people?
The Joe Kubert school was good. I did a correspondence course with them before I committed fully which was great to get me going. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I wanted to leave, but you get what you put in in the end.
The best people I've met in that regard are people who have something to say. They might not necessarily be artists, but aren't the non-artists the ones we work for, aye?
8. I really enjoy the high contrast and bold lines in your art. I have seen more of your black and white frames on LinkedIn, and am curious, what medium are you using to create your storyboards and finals?
Thank you! Traditional nib and brush, I just love how it comes out and how it feels on the paper.
I color digitally just because when I ink it gets messy – too messy to color straight onto the paper.
I’ve been nagged at a few times to switch to digital inking, and I’ve got nothing against digital work, if it looks good it looks good! But I prefer the feeling of traditional.
9. How could you be more supported in your personal art and career?
With less support in some ways. I find I work well when I really have no other choice and have no safety net.
Heightening my internet presence would definitely be beneficial as well, but you just need that one job or book to slingshot you forward.
10. What mindset do you think people need to make it as a creative today? Does this apply to writing as much as art?
Honestly, the best thing to say is “F%&! it, just get on with it, not everything you do is gonna be great and that's alright, someone will wanna buy it.”
I think that applies to most things and now’s a good time to do it, people love unique stuff.
11. What is a dream project you would love to work on, and why?
I want to start my own publishing house, have complete control.
In my opinion there's not enough metal comics out there and there's definitely a market for it.
You can find more of Travis Williamson's narrative work here.
And you can check Travis out on Instagram here.
His Kickstarter program for Nun Assasin is here - let's make it a great success!