What drives a person to create? Is it success? Money? Fame? While I think all of these things contribute to the overall forward motion of any creator, it is not ultimately what drives a creator. I am a creator. I have experienced a little success, almost no money and nothing close to fame from my endeavors. On the contrary, I have started and failed with many different projects. In the grand scheme of things, I feel blessed to be able to provide for my family with my artistic talents, but I am by no means rich. I am not a well-known person that gets special invites to big conventions or to give lectures on my methods. I am not sought after in the professional arena. I am just your average creator working each day to bring home a little bacon.
So what drives a person like me to create? It is this: the urge to tell a story. Isn’t that something we can all relate to? How satisfying is it to be able to captivate an audience of one or even hundreds with the telling of a really good story? Don’t we all enjoy, at one point in our lives, a great novel, a gripping podcast, an adventurous movie or a well-crafted comic book? To be able to hold a person spell-bound in a world created by the gifted imagination of a talented creator is magical. I am one who loves a good story. Relics is that type of a story. It all started with my love for comic books.
This was my first attempt at a real comic book while I was deployed to Afghanistan with the US Army Reserves. Using the pens and paper I had at hand, I started creating a story based in a world of Fantasy. I actually got quite a ways into this one and even shaded half of it, but I didn’t have the story all worked out. This is one of those unfinished projects that taught me a lot of what I have used in Relics. I developed my own ‘jump-out-of-the-panel’ style and learned about pacing, layout, dialogue and storytelling. When I returned home, I still had the itch to create a comic book.
There are two things that lit a fire under my butt and got me going. The first was a friend at work who handed me a comic book he had done on Kickstarter. He showed me it was possible and inspired me to do so myself. The second was that a story had begun to form in my mind. Starting in June 2015, I began work on Relics with 24 inked pages. I was spurred on in my efforts when my Dad was diagnosed with Leukemia in September of that year and then work slowed in December with my own diagnosis of Testicular Cancer. I rolled out the Kickstarter for Relics in April, 2016. It failed. However, I now had a story to tell and I was not going to be deterred. The amount of support I had from this one Kickstarter encouraged me to try again.
Just after the failure of my Kickstarter, and not being entirely satisfied with the artwork I had come up with, I went back to the drawing board. I re-read some of my favorites: Battlechasers by Joe Maduera and Dangergirl by Scott Campbell and gained some inspiration. I realized I wanted to create beautiful art on every page and contain my story to a mini-series run that was attainable instead of a series that goes on forever without end. So in the span of three months, I pushed out 16 new pages and returned to my ‘pop-out-of-the-frame’ style along with better line work. I decided to do a preview comic book that would introduce our heroes and their mission leading up to Issue #1. It was a great success and the comic book debuted at the 2016 Salt Lake Comic Con! It was this success and the praise of Relics Fans that encouraged me to continue with the story.
My intent was to create the next issue before the end of 2016, but life has a way of altering your plans. I pushed forward though and came up with 24 all-new pages for the next chapter of Relics that is going to captivate its fans. And so the story continues. Failure did not halt my advance. Lack of notoriety did not impede my progress. The fact that I didn’t come out ahead financially did not stop me. The story has begun and the story will have an end.