Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interview with the Bully's Bully creator, James Taylor

James Taylor self portrait
I am super excited about the Comic Book Swap Meet this weekend! Even more excited to share this Q&A with one of our special guests for the show, creator of the Bully's Bully, James Taylor! For more info on the Comic Book Swap Meet, follow this link! Enjoy my chat with James.

The Steve Strout: Let's jump right in and talk about yourself. Tell us a little bit about your artistic background? Self taught? Art School?

James Taylor: I bounced around colleges following different professors (for different disciplines of art). Though I ended with a degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design and minored in business.

I went the four college route, wanting a border education than what an art school could offer.

TSS: You mention an emphasis on graphic design. How much of that ability goes into your "comic" art, and can you briefly break down the steps you take from start to finish on a comic page or panel (pencil, ink, scan, color,etc??
JT: Graphic design definitely helps in laying out a page and adding a design/graphic element to the panels/page. Visualizing the page as a whole and not just panel by panel and more than just the flow of the panels.

I think training in any of the art disciplines helps make you a better artist - such as a better understanding of shape and form from ceramics / sculpting that can translate to paper/canvas.
Also understanding print design helps in setting up the files for the publisher so that my end of the project looks good when printed.
Most of my career in comics, I worked as an inker. With that I study the penciller and figure out what I want to do with their style and find a common ground between their style, my artistic style and the mood of the story

When penciling I basically break down the story by page and get a flow going. Then break down each page into thumbnails and then move on to the finished pencils and inks.

I rarely color except my own work, I know too many great colorists that I’d just rather them work over the page. So I scan in the page and email it off to a colorist.

TSS: What other mediums do you work in?
JT: I do paintings, mostly with ink wash. I love black-n-white art and playing with the medium of ink and trying to do different things. That's more of my gallery type work. I also paint with watercolor and oil but need to do more.

Of course I work in comics.

I haven’t done pottery in some years, that’s something I’d like to get back to. I moved into a smaller house and just don’t have the room for the equipment.

TSS: Tell us about some of the projects your working on now, such as the Bully's Bully.
JT: A few years ago, along with my co-creator Courtney Huddleston, I embarked on my first creator owned comic in The Bully’s Bully ( Courtney approached me about doing a comic about bullying as his daughter has some issues with bully’s at school. Originally we were going to make it very violent, in the vein of Kick-Ass, but wisely decided to tone it down as we felt we could send a better message about bullying.

The Bully’s Bully is a silent comic, no words, as we wanted to push ourselves artistically and tell the story without dialogue. Which we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on from teachers as kids can develop the dialogue and hear many stories from those that were bullied in school

We did a kickstart campaign a little over a year ago and published the first volume and are currently working on the 2nd and possibly 3rd book.

I’m also currently working on the web comic Decoy ( as an inker for Penny Farthing Productions. It’s a title I used to work on back when they were doing printed books at PFP, which I had a lot of fun on and a pleasure working on again with a great creative team.

Then I just have my day job of Marketing Manager in the fishing rod industry and running Jet City Comic Show.
 TSS: You mention running the Jet City Comic Show, which is a great comic convention here in the Northwest that still sticks to the comic book theme. Thanks for that. I'd also like to thank you here for your advice on the upcoming Comic Book Swap Meet, which is the mini con that I present. So, thanks a million James.

Since I'm on the topic of the Comic Book Swap Meet, as a guest, what will you be offering at your table?
JT: Anytime, I enjoy the industry and love helping out other conventions as I’ve been in the industry for a long time. If I can help save someone some trouble on their convention, comic or something else I gladly give advice just as other did for me.

I will have some books I worked on, mainly The Bully’s Bully and a few Decoy graphic novels as well. I’ll have prints of some of my artwork as well as some original art and comic pages for sale.

TSS: What are you hoping to get out of the Comic Book Swap Meet, and what other upcoming conventions are you appearing at?

JT: Honestly I just want to help spread the “love” of comics out here on the peninsula - I’m all about the growth of the industry and exposing comics and comic art to a new audience. There’s not many stores nearby (I miss that single moving out here), most are hour or more away so hopefully I get to meet some new people and creators while having some fun.

I’ll be at Amazing Arizona Comic Con February 13-15 and most likely Bellingham ComiCon in October. Probably will be working a few other conventions and art festivals, depending on my schedule.

TSS: I always like to ask comic creators, if they could choose, what comic or character would they like to work on?

JT: I never really got to work on horror comics, a little bit but not the type I’d preferred. I think working on an old EC style horror comic would be a lot of fun.

But for a specific character I think either Swamp Thing or Doctor Strange, I never read either of them too much but you could do a variety of stories with them from dark to light themes.

TSS: Before we wrap up, I want to give you the chance to share anything, give advice, plug something, or anything you'd like. The floor is yours, Sir.

JT: Obviously stop by the Comic Book Swap Meet and say hi and checkout everyone’s artwork and the vendor tables.

Check out the current chapter of The Bully’s Bully, it’s probably our most talked about story arc. You can check out the beginning of it at:

Also keep your eyes peeled for updates on Jet City Comic Show in a few months. Will be launching a new website and making announcements.

TSS: Thanks for the time and we will see you this weekend!!

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout