I do have to say that since I’ve been using Twitter (@BlazingMinds) and writing my movie reviews I have been meeting some rather interesting people in cyberspace and in the physical sense and one such person that I have recently discovered on Twitter is @MrJimer aka Jim Wilkins, after checking out his Twitter bio I was intrigued to learn more and so I asked him if he would like to do a Blazing Minds Interview and he kindly said “Yes”
Jim Wilkins is a 38 year old artist who resides just outside London in the Essex town, Harlow. He fed his youth on a staple diet of comic books, films and TV. Brought up and heavily influenced by classic 2000AD, Doctor Who weekly, Scream and the 1980’s re-vamped Eagle.
Other British titles collected during the 80’s were Marvel Uk’s run of Spiderman, Hulk, Transformers and Action Force. Not to mention the huge amount of American Marvel and DC imports that were absorbed during the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s. After self publishing his own comic Neutron Boy with writer Ben Cook in May 2010, Jim is currently drawing a regular Doctor Who webcomic - In Print.
Interview With Jim Wilkins Artist for Doctor Who Web Strip ‘In Print’
Karen: Hi Jim, before we start, thank you for taking the time and agreeing to do an interview with me for the Blazing Minds readers.
I was looking through your Gallery on your website, what do you use to produce your work?
Jim: Hiya Karen thanks for inviting me to be interviewed.
The tools I use for creating my artwork is usually 3B/4B’s for my penciling. I always draw my line-work myself rather than programmes like Manga Studio to create the lines for me. Inks consist of lot’s of UniPin or Rotring pens of various sizes. I use A3 bristol board for full comic book pages or very thick A4 cartridge paper for smaller work. Then I scan everything in and colour using Photoshop, sometimes adding textures and filters to enhance.
Karen: When did you first start drawing etc?
Jim: I first started drawing as long back as I can remember. I was about 5 or 6 when I created my first themed comic pages starring Laurel and Hardy. I drew my own brand of comic strip stories for the next ten years of my life called C.I.W. These stories involved my friends and me as the stars of the comic strip super-heroes. Friends were always coming round to catch up on the latest installment. I still have these comics to this very day.
Karen: How long does it take you to produce a finished piece of work?
Jim: The length of time it takes me to complete a piece varies. If I’m drawing & putting together an episode of ‘In Print’ it can take me about 4 to 5 hours. With the characters of ‘In Print’, I already have templates of their bodies, arms, legs and different heads already made up so lot of Photoshop work is required to position them about. If I’m drawing a whole page of comic strip like what you see in 2000AD or any Marvel/DC comics on the shelf it will take the best part of eight hours to pencil and ink. It can take that time again after to colour and add effects on Photoshop.
Karen: How did you get involved with “In Print”?
Jim: It all started a couple of years back in 2010 when I drew & self published my own comic – Neutron Boy with my writer friend Ben Cook. We showcased the launch of the comic at an event run by our local comic book store- The Three Darths. The sixth Doctor Colin Baker was there signing along with many other faces from the worlds of Film and Television. Being the life-long fan of Doctor Who that I am, I asked Colin to strike a pose with my comic which bore a resemblance to a old photo of Tom Baker holding a copy of the then Doctor Who Weekly. I couldn’t help but to circulate the pictures round the internet to various Dr Who news websites. Six months later one of those websites was interested in developing a Doctor Who based webcomic at which I jumped at the chance at getting involved. And therefore history was made when I started bringing to life the scripts of Alasdair Shaw for The Doctor Who Reprint Society.
Karen: Do you use social media to spread the word about your work?
Jim: Yes! Social media’s been great for getting my work out there. I constantly upload pictures to Twitter and Facebook and when I update my blog, @WHO_News promotes it via Twitter. It nicely spreads my stuff across the globe without me leaving the house. In the twelve months I’ve built up a good network of friends and fans on twitter, It’s been a great year.
Karen: Is there another artist, perhaps in your genre that you aspire to?
Jim: Now that’s a good one! I absolutely adore the classic artists that were around in my Youth like Dave Gibbons who drew the Tom Baker era of Dr Who back in 1979/80 as well as the Watchmen graphic novel. Bryan Talbot and Kevin O’Neill’s work on Nemesis the Warlock. is one of my fav’s. Another 2000AD legend I admire- Carlos Esquire, who drew the early Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog stories. I always look forward to seeing the latest artwork from Adrian Salmon in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine. But seriously, I haven’t got a spare year to mention all the artists I love, old and new.
Karen: I see from your tweets that you have been to the SFX Weekender, how did you find it and did you exhibit your work there and if so how did it go?
Jim: Yes, I went to my first SFX weekender at the beginning of February this year. In a nutshell- Brilliant! I wasn’t expo’ing any of my own work this time, just enjoyed the ride. The first person I bumped into I’ve I arrived was Big Spencer Wilding- the Minotaur from The God Complex as well as many other film roles such as The Wolfman and Green lantern. I also met another lovely fellow, David J. Howe from Telos Publishing. Although it was a fantastic experience, I did find the signing areas a bit of a money making farm… You can spend an absolute fortune and wait hours to see your favorite actors/authors for just a minute or two. I find smaller conventions a lot better to meet the stars.
Karen: What are your future plans? Any special work in the pipeline?
Jim: I’ve a couple of things in the pipeline. I’m a keen writer as well and there are a couple of pitches out there, some I can’t even talk about! I’ve wrote a story that would make a nice graphic novel about a robot detective and a female vampire that fall in love and solve strange crimes in the 23rd century and one day I’d like that to see the light of day .I’ve just had a bunch of new ‘In Print’ script delivered to me to take us to summer and beyond. I’m also just putting the finishing touches to a strip going in an ezine for Alwyn Ash, the editor of the Regent Times and Nebula One News websites. The last one I did for Alwyn was a Charles Dickens Christmas strip but the next one may be a little Hollywood flavored. Look out on my Void Noir blog for celebrations of ‘In Print’s first anniversary plus a few other things I’ve planned to upload over the course of the coming weeks.
Karen: How would you advise budding young artists to get their work published or seen more?
Jim: Keep at it. Talk to everyone to network yourself. Go to conventions, do as much art, and art of differently styles as possible. Don’t get disheartened if at first you don’t succeed straight away because a comic artist is quite a hard field and career to get into. You may get a few rejections at first and may take months to get an answer or any feedback back. But keep persisting… until your stuff is well established the work won’t fall into your lap.
Big thank to Jim for doing this interview with me, if you would like to see more of his artwork then check out his website called The Void Noir and follow him on twitter, @mrjimer for even more
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