Words of Wisdom
What inspired you to create your comic?
While studying up on the Tulsa Oklahoma, Black Wall Street Massacre, I stumbled upon a documentary called “The Tulsa Lynching of 1921–A Hidden Story”. The documentary opened my eyes to more of the intricate details around this horrible event. I was so moved by the doc, that I dreamt about it that night. When I woke up, I knew I wanted to create The Search For Sadiqah. A historic-action-adventure about a little girl who escaped the rubble of Tulsa and went on to become a hero.
What is your writing process like?
I basically do an outline of the story. This way I know how the book ends before I start writing. I then create a rough script for myself, and a detailed script for the artist. The artist script helps the artist to see what I am looking for on each page/panel. Once the pages start coming in, I begin fine tuning my script. Waiting for pages, helps to make sure the words actually match the art. After I am done, I do several read-overs to tighten up the final script.
How many hours a day do you write/draw?
I try to get at least a couple hours a day in.
What does success look like to you?
I’m still trying to figure that out. LOL. But seriously, if I could get these stories in the hands of my people, I think that would be success. Whether comics, movies, animation, and series, I would be fine with that!!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
As a self-publisher, I have to write, edit, manage projects, handle marketing, manage websites, fulfill online orders, plan travel and...wow that’s a lot!! No one thing is too difficult. But put them all together, and here we are. I will tell you, I wouldn’t change any of it. Controlling your own properties, helps you to control your destiny.
Does writing/drawing energize or exhaust you?
Both. It’s exhausting, but I’m doing what I love...that is energizing in itself.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
I’d tell younger me to start earlier, and never give up. A lot of hurdles will be removed by the internet. With things like crowdfunding, and social media, I don’t have to depend on big time publishers at all. Mostly I’d tell myself that my ideas are valuable, and if I share them, there are people who will relate to them.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a comic/graphic novel?
I read books, watch documentaries, rely on what I learned as a history major, and even try to talk to people who may have been around or experienced something similar. I visited a black single room school-house museum in Virginia, just because I wanted to experience it. Sadiqah attends a similar school in Issue 0. For Tuskegee Heirs, we actually drove down to Motown Field in Tuskegee Alabama, walked thru the museum and toured the facilities before we started actually writing the book. We also made friends with a notable Tuskegee Airmen historian, who offers us all kinds of behind the scene info. We actually named a character after her in issue 4.
What advice do you have for other Black comic creators?
First thing...Learn as much about the business side of things as you can. It doesn’t matter how cool your project is, if you don’t have an understanding of how to execute efficiently in this space.
Two...Get away from the “If I build it they will come” mind state. Once you’ve created your amazing product, you have to network. Promote your project online. Vend at shows. Travel if you can. Get out there and sell yourself and your book!!!
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