The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Conner Herbison: Conner Herbison, Age 23, Freelance Illustrator/Comic Book Artist, Self Employed I guess, depends on the project
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
CH: Generally I'm drawn to anything that tells a story, usually weird, over the top ridiculousness that can be found in comics, video games, and movies. I've developed into a bit of an art book collector, given most are comics or the work of comic artists. I read an absurd amount of them. Just looking at work I admire helps me out tremendously. Not only is it inspiring on its own, but seeing artists do things I may never have considered or things they just do well progresses my own work when I attempt to apply those things to my work.
I find the most inspiration from being sucked into these other worlds. Inhabiting these crazy places spawned from someone's mind and getting into the absurdity of it inspires me to create my own, not only because I might see something that gives me an ides, but it provides a reassurance that my own brand of bizarre might be enjoyed as well.
Music is another huge inspiration. I'm not musical myself, but the emotional response to music I enjoy takes me to places where I can really get into what I'm doing. It helps to occupy the world I'm working in, it's like the soundtrack.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
CH: I don't currently work for a studio or other creative agency which provides me a certain degree of freedom to pursue work I'm personally drawn to. The majority of my work tends to be personal, and I guard that a bit too much. What I struggle with is professional/client work that may not fall into what, or where, I think I should be heading with my work to achieve my goals. Making money with my work, while important and necessary to sustain a career in it, is not as important to me as making the work I strive to make and the journey to get there. Another aspect of this struggle is my personal criticism. Personally, I'm not satisfied with the quality of my work yet, which makes promoting myself professionally slightly uncomfortable. I have clear goals in mind and am on the door step of opportunities, but I want a bit more confidence in my abilities before I make my entrance. Bit of a tangent.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
CH: For productivity I tend to settle into the zone at night, usually after 8. Less happens at night, things are closed, it's less likely anyone is going to need me for something, I don't have to wear pants... all good things. As far as feeling the most creative, its not so much time of day, but rather the context. I tend to get a lot of ideas while in the bathroom, mostly while brushing my teeth or in the shower.
I also get super inspired and exited to work in situations where I know I can't. I don't know if it's a form of torturing myself, or just telling myself I'm going to be productive, but it'll happen while I'm at a place like the grocery store. It's obnoxious.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
CH: The occupational goals include comic books, then potentially animation and games. Initially working in comics will be working for a publisher, however the long term goal is original content. Producing stories and characters that I create. Then beyond career goals, there are aspirations for your work that everyone has. I don't know if I'll ever be satisfied with my work, but I intend to keep on pushing it as far as I can.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
CH: I'm currently in the early stages of developing a sequel/follow up to a comic I made called Rajik's Demons. My inspirations for this thing are all over the place, the larger ones include: French comics, most notably the work of Moebius, fantasy/sword and sorcery stuff, there's a good deal of mythology and folklore stuff thrown in, a healthy helping of The Twilight Zone, and of course my love for horror and B action movies.
The first comic came about through me attempting to tell a more personal narrative with my comics. They say you're in everything you make, but who knows... I struggle talking about myself with any kind of authenticity or seriousness, which makes telling personal narratives somewhat difficult. So I disguised the narrative a bit behind epic fantasy nonsense, action movie cliches, and loads of gratuitous violence... all fun stuff. However, the first book was a bit shallow as far as the world they lived in was concerned. My aim with the follow-up is to open up the world and breathe some life into it, allowing for entertaining stories to exist within.
My process for creating stories is similar to most, I'm sure. Usually I have core thematics or certain moments I like, but sometimes they don't want to come together. It's only after laying on the floor and staring at the ceiling, and/or excessive amounts of talking to myself do pieces begin to fall into place. There are always aspects taken from my life, even if I don't intend to, metaphors on top of metaphors, my nonsense references and such, and then just stuff that's entertaining... like flips. I'm a huge fan of genre as well as embracing and playing with cliches. Also my stuff usually leans towards the macabre.
The process for art is pretty straight forward. I struggle writing proper scripts so a lot of my script is done while I'm thumb nailing out pages. I tend to get way too involved in my preliminary thumbnails. Once I think those are ready, I draw larger, making any necessary changes. Then it gets inked and so on and so forth. There's some stuff I'm skipping but I've already written an essay so...
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
CH: Art is pretty cool, I guess.
If you want to want to learn more about Conner or see more of his work, you can do so at www.connerherbison.com