MIP Profiles are here to highlight talented individuals and business owners doing great work in their specific field and their community . Our first MIP Profile is my boy and SCAD Alum Willie Smith (WS) of BOSC Comic. Check out his interview below.
1.What’s your background?
WS • Born in Beaufort, South Carolina. Graduated from both North Myrtle Beach High School, as well as The Academy For Arts, Sciences and Technologies. Studied Sequential art at SCAD for two years. Served in the Army Reserves for six years. Did some rapping, worked on a web comic with my brother called “BlackGuard”.....I think that’s about all the “cool”’ stuff lol.
2. What does your work aim to say?
WS • I’m a sequential artist by default, so, more than anything, I hope every drawing that isn’t from a comic, still tells a story. Or, at least sets a mood for the viewer, and piques their interest as to what the story COULD be.
3. How do you work or what is your process for a design project ?
WS • I always prefer to start with what animators and sequential/comic artist call “thumbnails”, which are, at the most, two-three inch scale rough sketches. Starting the idea at a smaller scale allows me to see it from all angles. From there, while most artist print a larger version of the thumbnail and draw over it, I actually just redraw it on bigger paper. I hate drawing over my old work, even if it’s from thirty minutes ago lol. From there, I ink the pencils, erase the unnecessary leftover pencil lines, and finally color it.
4. Who are your biggest influences?
WS • I could list artists all day, but to keep it short, I’m always trying to recapture that look and style from Video game company, Capcom. Specifically the work of Bengus and Akiman, the guys who did a lot of art work for the 90s Street Fighter and Capcom games.
5. How have you developed your career?
WS • Honestly, by trusting and listening to God and my gut. I’m not a five year plan kinda guy. I just know that the best things in my life have come from trusting God and my gut. When I DIDN’T listen to my gut, I ended up in the Army Reserves for six years lol. However, for those who want a less “preachy” answer, I disciplined myself to try and draw every day.
6. How do you seek out opportunities?
WS • I’m blessed to be in a situation where my opportunities came from people sharing my work, and then people reaching out to me. However, I will say that knowing how to use proper hashtags on social media can definitely help. I can’t tell you how many artists I’ve discovered due to me following the hashtag of a franchise I’m a fan of. Whenever there’s #StreetFighter art being posted, I see it. And then I’m like “man, who drew this?” I click their page and end up following them. I use that same strategy when I post up my art on social media.
7. What role does the artist have in society today ?
WS •With the year we’ve had in 2020, I feel artists are either here to document current events, or provide a sense of escape from the world’s burdens for a bit. I did two commissions this week in contrast of each other. One was a gift to celebrate a high school senior who didn’t get to have a graduation ceremony due to the current pandemic. The other commission was a gift to remember a family member the client had lost to Covid-19. To be of service to both clients during this weird time was an honor, for me.
8. How do you navigate the art world?
WS • As slow as possible. I say that as a joke, but there’s some truth to it. I’ve always preferred a slow pace in life. So, it makes sense that in a world of tablets and digital work, I’m STILL using paper, pencil and ink. However, I believe it’s helped my work to stand out because people are always amazed at the colors I can capture with markers.
9. How do you price your work?
WS • I’d like to think that I’m pretty modest with my pricing. By no means am I asking for the price of an accomplished artist in the industry, like a Jim Lee. Or even an artist starting out at Marvel. I base my price range off of the average 9-5 worker. Cause truth is, that’s who’s contacting me for commission work the most. So, I figure they’d probably have about $50 to spare. So I start around there. With that being said, I make sure I’m producing $50 worth of art ONLY. I’m not spending days on a $50 commission. I normally knock that out in an evening, if possible. It’s pretty much the same strategy I learned from being a waiter. I won’t waste time trying to sale you a bigger meal. I’ll ask what you’re in the mood for, serve you with excellent service, and get you out as quickly as possible, so I can get the next payment. By no means am I suggesting this is for everyone, but, it’s worked for me.
10. What are your favorite Kicks ?
WS • High top Converse/Chucks. Preferably all black.