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Dark Ages Comic book – 15th Anniversary | The Art of Will Terrell


Dark Ages Comic book – 15th Anniversary

Comments (18) comics, dark ages

San Diego Comic Con is coming up this weekend. While I won’t be attending this year it is a very big anniversary for me. I drew my first comic book exactly 15 years ago this month. It was for San Diego comic con in 1997. I often talk to people at conventions about where I started as an artist. But they don’t usually believe me when I say I wasn’t all that great when I began. I thought for this auspicious anniversary, it might be nice to post those first pages for you all to see. My embarrassing first attempt. Worts and all!

I drew these pages in a little over a week. It was a bit of an epic adventure to tell the truth. I’d never drawn more than a page of comics before, and Barely had any experience with adding text, or printing or anything of that like. And the week I spent creating this comic was one of the best I’d ever had. I thought it was going to be an amazing book. I thought people would love it! And I would make back the $1000 or so I spent on this print run in no time. But I couldn’t have been farther from reality on all points. I showed it to dozens and dozens of artists, and publishers at San Diego. It was brutal. Most of whom told me I should not be an artist. And warned me to do anything but comics. I left that show feeling insecure and disheartened. And couldn’t draw for months after.

What followed was a long journey of more than 7 years, of me learning to draw from anyone I could meet. I’d travel to conventions to meet creators just to get them to get a few minutes of instruction. I’d sit in on every “how to draw comics” panel I could . And bought every book I could find on anatomy, perspective, inking, and making comics. Until eventually I learned how to draw well enough that I didn’t get people telling me I should quit any longer.



Recently I did some sketches of my main character Anna from this comic, just to see if I could. It was considerably faster, easier, and with much better results. Its satisfying to know I’ve come such a long way. Even more satisfying to be able to draw something so easily that once was such a struggle. I enjoy sketching as much now as I did back before I became insecure about what I thought I could do. I feel as confident now as I did then, only now I actually have the skills to back it up. And I challenge myself each day to get better and better. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another 15 years.

What about you? Do you struggle with where you’re at artistically? Leave me a comment about it!


18 Responses to Dark Ages Comic book – 15th Anniversary

  1. Brian says:

    It’s always awesome to see how far you’ve come Will. I’m excited to see where the next 15 years take you.

  2. Oh man! That story about them telling you quit is just so brutal, lol. Josh and I were talking about that the other night. It is always interesting to look at the roads we travel. Love seeing these early pages from you.

  3. admin says:

    Thanks Brian!

    Yeah Michael it was pretty brutal. I’ve told the story too many times, but it was not a fun show. I did learn a ton though! I put it under the Fail big category!

  4. L.C. says:

    Takes me back to J&B Coffee Co. That was the first time I saw your work.

  5. Eddie Uresti says:

    Will you are such a down to earth guy and inspiring to many of us that are working at getting better at their craft whether its comics or other art fields… Thanks for sharing

  6. admin says:

    Thanks Eddie! 😀

  7. I still have a copy of this somewhere, as well as a bunch of old Lucid Comics stuff. 😀

    It was a pleasure working with you guys, and your continued career in the field and passion for the craft has always filled me with warm feelings.

    I dunno, this post just made me happy and nostalgic. Hope things are well for ya, mister.

  8. admin says:

    You too, friend! 🙂

  9. Ben Kreis says:

    I wish more artists would show off their old stuff. It is immensely encouraging. Thanks for being willing to do it.

  10. Mary Somerville says:

    I am so excited to have stumbled onto your website. Your illustrations are incredible! You give me hope. I am a 62 yr old woman who has had a total life changing event that led me to enroll in college to earn a degree in Graphic Design. It has been a challenging 4 yrs. but I see an end in sight. I discovered I did not like Graphic Design so continued in Illustration, which I love. I feel overwhelmed when I see other artists work and don’t know if I have enough time in this life to develop into that level of artist.

  11. admin says:

    Mary! This is awesome! I hope that you do well with following your passions! In this digital age, artists can do lots of amazing things. You should look into doing childrens’ book for apps, or Amazon marketplace. Just make great stories and art, and put them out there for an audience. Build a brand around your passion, and little by little build a community that will support you. So much potential right now!

  12. Thomas Holmes says:

    I don’t usually ever comment on stuff, but I’ve been watching a lot of your videos recently and came across one where Sycra was interviewing you, which lead me here. You’re work really is amazing, but more so is the help you give while you do so. I know this isn’t your Youtube channel, so I shouldn’t be talking about it and I apologize. Thing is there’s been a few videos you’ve done that have helped ease some long standing anxieties I have about drawing. And what you said at the end of this article, asking about struggling with where you’re at artistically, well… I really am.

    I’m turning 28 soon and I thought after drawing basically my whole life that I would be better than I am currently. Being an artist and creating stories is the only thing I have any real drive for, and from your videos I gather you know that feeling. I’ve been making stories since high school, I have one that’s a standout from the others and I just don’t feel my art is good enough for it. More than anything I want to be the one that draws it, so handing the reigns to someone else to do so just isn’t an option. I’d say I have a decently amateur level of understanding when it comes to drawing, but I just feel like I’m at my wits end with getting myself on track to becoming the artist I want, and need, to be. I’ve never been formally taught anything other than what little I learned from grade school, otherwise I’m all self-taught. Which is probably one of my problems, but school is way too expensive for me. I really don’t know what to do, and I can’t give this up.

    I’m sorry if this was too serious. I hope I didn’t abuse the chance to take you up on leaving a comment about it since I didn’t see anyone else leave anything like this. I’m not sure exactly if I’m venting, or asking for help… but thank you for taking the time to read this if you did.

  13. harry says:

    I struggle every day. I feel like I have degraded. I’m stiff, repedative and lifeless. I’m not sure how to break out of it.

  14. admin says:

    Hang in there friend. We all go through it. You might also check out my video on getting inspired… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOkN35betBo

  15. Sabbir says:

    YOU are a True Artist Will, Generous and willing to share your knowledge is the best of all. Love your work and your tutorial videos.

  16. Susan Tuma says:

    Thank you for posting this. It’s so, so encouraging to see that everyone starts having no idea what they’re doing. Seriously, this was so encouraging!

  17. Hamada says:

    Your story looks like Avatar, you drew not well enough but you told a good story. Your words can help many people who want to be like this, after storm there usually will be rainbow. You are a kind man, thanks.

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